What you must know about self-service

Blog
November 23 2016

Self-service is a practice that’s becoming more and more prominent in today’s businesses, improving client satisfaction among many other advantages. One can wonder why would a client want to be part of the workflow and process behind his service delivery. The advantages that provides can be hard to see at first glance. That’s where we come in, to give you the essential facts about what makes self-service a great tool.  

The client wants to help himself

The modern-day client expects a quick response and to be able to help himself via self-service. In fact, 70% of people surveyed in a worldwide study on the future of customer service said that they expected a company website to have a self-service portal or application.

Self–service has also demonstrated its efficiency in many areas. That’s why many industries use self-service today and experiment a faster time per transaction, as well as a higher satisfaction level from both the clients and employees.

Clients can resolve their issues themselves using a self-service portal, without having to contact a support team or customer service. This makes the resolution process generally more enjoyable, as the client wasn’t a spectator in this process, but in fact an actor, with a real power to help him or herself.

Self-Service doesn’t have to be complicated

Really, implementing self-service doesn’t have to be complicated. Think about a demand to reinitialize a forgotten password. This is a great example of a simple self-service process. As a user, it is much easier and much faster to reinitialize the password yourself, having a link sent to your email, than having to call your support team to reinitialize it. That’s why this type of demand for passwords is a standard for many online services.

It is a simple demand, where the client has the possibility to manage his request himself, being guided through every step of the resolution process.

Helping each other is encouraged

You may wonder how a client is able to solve his problem by himself.  Well, often with self-service, there’s also a concept of knowledge base (and of knowledge base management), where resolutions of previous incidents are available. For example, if our clients’ incident is a problem with his or her email system, all the client needs to do is search through the knowledge base and find the solution. He can also enter new solutions and remove redundant or obsolete solutions, in order to update and continuously improve the knowledge base.

Create communities

The integration of a knowledge base also brings in an increased involvement of the users in the system (Remember that the users are now actors and not spectators.). Communities and groups can be created, where they can help each other. This user engagement makes them more autonomous, resourceful and most of all, able to solve their issues without contacting support as often.

Careful, this engagement has to be maintained and encouraged! Giving the example and participating in these communities is a good way to start to do so.

Reduce the workload of your employees

Users solving their own problems and managing their own requests also has the additional benefit of reducing the workload of your support team or resources, who would normally be assigned to these requests.

The results of self-service are clear: a resource that without self-service would usually be drowning in a sea of repetitive demands from the clients, such as our password re-initialization example from above, are now dealing with a much more reasonable workload. With the client taking care of those demands that usually slow down everything else, the workflow of your resources is freed and they can now be more efficient.

More affordable than traditional support

Another advantage of self-service is the savings you’ll be able to make from your support cost. With the client or user helping him or herself, the need for a big support team is reduced. Self-service therefore allows you to save on support costs, while improving the satisfaction of your clients. To put those costs in perspective; in 2013, the cost per client contact to a call centre or tech support was approximately 12$. The cost of self-service via a web portal? A mere 0.10$ !

Self-service requires the involvement of its users

Self-service can be an immensely useful tool in your business’s kit, but it’s not magic. For self-service to be useful, it takes the users participation and their motivation to help themselves. They’ll be the ones creating communities in your self-service portal and the ones interacting in them. If that motivation isn’t there, then implementing self-service won’t do you much good.

If that motivation is there, however, then trying out self-service just might be for you!

And if you’re not sure, my advice would be to start small, discuss with your team and implement self-service for small and easy processes like a password reset.