Skip to main content

The vast majority of companies and e-shops create tabs that allow the customer to independently find answers to the issues that bother them (such as delivery methods, payments or returns policy). They often take the simplest form, FAQ. While in basic situations this action may be sufficient, in many cases it does not satisfy the needs of the customer who has to contact the Service Centre. Meanwhile, there are many solutions available that will enable customers to solve many issues on their own. People responsible for customer support will primarily deal with more complex cases.

I will present the idea of ​​building solutions supporting self-service, the goals of building a knowledge center and the business benefits resulting from the implementation of the above solutions. I will also answer the following questions:

What tools can support customer self-service?

How can you anticipate customer needs and provide them with the right information?
What does Salesforce have to offer in terms of omnichannel self-service?
Why self-service for customers?
Let’s imagine such a story – a customer bought a product of our company. Let’s assume for the sake of the narrative that it was a coffee maker. He unpacked, launched, and even (which is not obvious at all) read the manual. After some time of trouble-free use, the machine began to display a message about the need for service. The customer looks at the display a little crookedly, and at the same time begins to wonder what he did with the instruction. Eventually, she comes to the conclusion that she went to the waste paper. And what now?
We all probably know the rest of this story – the phone or computer and the search engine available on them are in motion. At this point, it turns out that the resources provided by the company may be either a “solution at your fingertips” or a cause for irritation due to the need to conduct further research.

Information made available to customers can take many forms – from the aforementioned FAQs, through articles and blogs, to instructional materials (including graphics and videos). They can be accessed through a wide range of tools, such as a full knowledge base platform, a community forum, or even within the scope of chatbot response.

The idea of ​​omnichannel assumes interacting with customers in such a way as to provide them with a sense of continuation of the previously established contact. For this purpose, it is necessary for the company / e-shop to have consistent, up-to-date knowledge about previous transactions and inquiries. This is especially important if the consumer is looking for answers to further doubts or when he returns with a continuation of a previously reported problem. For this reason, Customer Service tools, including those allowing for Self-Service, should be integrated with the CRM system used by the company. In this way, the client can feel “taken care of” and listened to, even if he largely (or even completely) solves the problem himself.

Why should companies invest in Self-Service mechanisms?

Let me omit the most obvious reason, which is to meet the expectations of customers. Extensive, substantive and useful content supports building the quality of company or e-shop websites and generating traffic in own media. At the same time, it is worth being aware that the best results can be achieved by combining knowledge bases with the CRM system. If some of the content would be available after logging in to the portal, it becomes part of the consumer knowledge management ecosystem. Thanks to this, we get to know his steps, search styles, problems related to the use of the offer or product, the level of consumer or industry awareness. By obtaining a 360-degree view, you can identify people who are more active in the community and establish closer cooperation with them. Many studies indicate that customers are interested in increasing the level of involvement in communities created by brands or e-shops, as long as they can obtain additional benefits (e.g. discounts, special offers, gifts). Building an engaged community is often one of the priorities for companies. Its members authenticate communication and support establishing relationships with the brand by other people.

An important function of self-service portals is to supplement the role of the hotline and to support the implementation of tasks by its staff. The benefits are noticeable especially when implementing integrated communication channels, taking into account various forms of contact (e.g. by phone, LiveChat, bots). The creation of functional and constantly developed (also thanks to cooperation with the Client Service department) portals that give the opportunity to independently find information, provide support to another person or exchange experiences of users of a given group of products translates into relieving the Client Service staff. This, in turn, improves the quality of customer experience.

Report “What (u)is eating e-commerce 2021?” indicates, among others issues that annoy customers of online stores to the greatest extent. One of them is the need to repeatedly describe the problem a given person is facing – both during one and several contacts with the Service Centre. This problem can be solved by effective customer identification and a visible history of his purchases and previous requests.

Consumers are increasingly aware that companies can collect the history of their activities and expect the data to be used for their benefit. In other words – so that the company knows who is calling them, what products, offers and tools it has used in the past. Having such knowledge is also a value for the company: it shortens the time of handling the notification, allows you to analyze the situation and draw better conclusions.

Win-win?

As you can see, the benefits of implementing a self-service portal can be mutual. They accelerate finding a solution both from the point of view of customers and the company. From the technical point of view – they allow for the involvement and integration of more diverse communication channels and their mutual penetration. The creation of an information infrastructure in which individual elements will supply the others will, in turn, allow for a natural, almost organic expansion of the knowledge base and basing customer service processes on it.

The above conclusions apply primarily to B2C relationships, however, self-service portals are used in B2B and internal company tools.

Case Study

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Marketing automation
at the University

Read the case study

Leave a Reply