Self-service portals have long been known as one of the key technologies for stellar customer support, beneficial to both users and organizations. They can reduce customer effort, ease workloads for contact center agents, and boost overall engagement, making customers more likely to purchase or subscribe to additional services.
Defining a Self-Service Portal
A customer self-service portal is a platform that enables organizations to provide customer care at scale by allowing them to self-discover solutions to issues rather than depend on engagement with agents. The portal may also incorporate non-self-service elements such as live chat or email integrations.
Today, practically every business offers self-service alternatives, encouraging customers to play an active role in their purchasing journey. A self-service portal has the following components, among others:
- A full history of payment transactions
- AI-powered recommendations for a user’s next steps and quick help via a chatbot
- A knowledge base giving answers to standard and repeat questions
A knowledge base should include all pertinent information regarding the product or service, such as a getting started guide, frequently asked questions, step-by-step and how-to tutorials, and even troubleshooting advice if something goes wrong.
Community forums are another effective technique for customers to assist themselves. They are critical to any self-service portal because they enable customers to discuss best practices, feature requests, and frequently asked questions.
As a last resort, self-service portals should also facilitate a seamless transfer to a live chat with an agent.
Key Benefits of a Self-Service Portal
A self-service portal gives the customer freedom to take action while providing the convenience of help when needed. It is also a suitable fit for certain personality types and may be helpful when a person does not feel like talking to someone – e.g., after a long day of work.
The technology is also helpful for organizations, as they can:
Free Up Contact Center Agents
Self-service customer portals address frequent and recurring inquiries and issues. The more often consumers use the self-service portals, the better they will become at resolving similar or even more difficult challenges in the future. This frees up agents to deal with more complex queries.
Incorporate Multimedia Content
Unique to customer self-service portals is the ability to deliver video or visual walkthroughs as answers and guides to customers’ most often-asked questions. A collection of screenshots or a two-minute video may provide a solution to a user in a fraction of the time otherwise spent over phone conversations or emails.
Provide Hyper-Personalized CX
A self-service portal enables seamless customization of the user experience. A site could maintain a record of a customer’s purchases or services requested, for example, using information from past interactions to assist customers in finding what they need.
Improve Contact Center Performance
By offering a self-service portal that enables customers to identify and address their problems, agents won’t have to bear the responsibility of logging, routing, solving, and following up on tickets. This saves time for the team and accelerates incident response times for customers by reducing backlogs and queues.
Build a Community
Customers can use a self-service site to discuss products and functionalities, answer queries, and resolve issues. Additionally, external customer support specialists can publish blog entries or join forums. Many customer self-service portals also offer a specialized social media feed for inquiries, allowing agents to participate as necessary.
Getting Started with Self-Service Portals in 2022
When establishing a self-service portal, companies must first assess and understand the customers to be assisted. Ultimately, the portal serves as a comprehensive repository for them. Collecting all these data points and insights beforehand will help develop an engaging, well-designed self-service site.
Once the self-service portal has been created, it is important to ensure it is easily accessible. In addition to SEO optimization, companies should include a link to it in every customer interaction, ticket autoresponders on the company site, and all in-product literature.
Do check out the hottest self-service trends of 2022 before getting started!