This is the third post in our series of Seven Customer Service Insights for 2020 and Beyond.
Over the past decade, all sorts of tasks have been automated across all sorts of industries. It’s now commonplace for people to be able to help themselves quickly and easily. In fact, they really don’t want to contact a company at all, if they can possibly help it.
Two years ago, the stats indicated 81% of all customers would rather take care of things themselves than reaching out to a live representative [Harvard Business review].
Today, those stats go as high as 91%, which is the percentage of customers Zendesk found would use a knowledge base if it were available, worked properly and was tailored to their needs — all of which are important qualifications.
“…91% would use a knowledge base… if it worked properly and was tailored to their needs — these are important qualifications!”
The risk of self-service
While self-service has been the mantra in online businesses for over a decade, it’s most often not been in a good way. Mostly ‘self-service’ has been used as an excuse to avoid a customer’s questions and send them away to rummage through poorly-organised and outdated FAQ sections. That just won’t cut it anymore.
Increasing the amount of effort it takes for a customer to get things done will kill the customer experience stone dead. And with more than 50% of customers leaving a brand that they love after just one bad experience and 92% after two or three [PwC], you really don’t want to go there.
When we factor in that 70% of online self-help service experiences start with a Google search [says Google], there really is no excuse not to create quality customer service content — in SEO-optimised, searchable, downloadable PDFs or videos that really do help customers help themselves.
The business benefits of self-service
Well, with so many customers preferring self-service over speaking to a rep, fixing self-service will help you meet customer expectations, reduce churn, and make gains in loyalty.
Plus, once they are happy helping themselves, you’ll reduce the workload on your team. This opens up new possibilities to re-focus them on stepping up pre-sales skills, improving conversion and making bigger financial contributions.
A final word of caution
Did we mention the risks of self-service? When you are moving ahead with developing your self-service offering, write “I’m not shifting effort over to my customer!” on a yellow sticky. Put it on top of your computer screen. After all, you don’t want to kill loyalty and make customers leave.
A great best practice is the Netflix help center. Their well-designed knowledge base always has contact options (phone & live chat) prominently on the page. Our advice: when it takes too long for a customer to help themselves: proactively reach out!
The takeaway Fix self-service now. Make it super-quick and easy for your customers to help themselves. Anything less is killing CX and losing you revenue and loyalty. It will also free up your reps to focus on more value-adding tasks as well. It’s a win-win-win.