Letting Customers Serve Themselves


Share on LinkedIn

How do you help your customers when they have questions about your brand or offering? What about when they have issues or problems?

Traditionally, the way customers have reached companies when things pop up is by phone or email ticket. Let me be clear, this article is NOT advocating getting rid of these channels. Some customers will still reach out these ways no matter what. However, these channels are quickly becoming seen as lengthy ways to deal with issues.

You’ve probably heard people say that humans have attention spans less than that of a goldfish. Do you really think a goldfish would wait more than 30 seconds on hold, plus the length of the call to get their resolution?

Neither do I.

Goldfish can’t hold phones for one, but more seriously, no one wants to wait longer than necessary for an issue that can be solved in a few short sentences.

Enter the way of the future; Self-Service!

That may be a bold statement, but let me share some facts with you:

Gartner predicts that by 2020 a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. (Gartner)

A chat with a live agent can cost $6-12 per interaction, while an automated interaction on the IVR (or ITR) can cost as little as 25 cents. (Forrester)

So we now know that people generally prefer to help themselves, and it costs you less when they do.

Win-win scenario,…right?

Here’s where the issue pops up for customer service departments in organizations; you know what customers want, but how do you get it to them? How do you provide customers with the information they need, and let them access it quickly, where they expect it?

Some self-service options that are popular now are extensive FAQ pages, knowledge base articles, and chat-bots. These are all great in theory, yes, and satisfy the needs I just laid out.

Or do they? While the channels are solid, it’s the underlying infrastructure of the knowledge embedded within that will make or break your self-service endeavors. Chat-bots are only as good as the answers they can provide to given queries. FAQs are only as good as the questions they can answer, and knowledge base articles without knowledge are just filler on your site.

Bottom-line: You need to have self-service options, but more importantly, make sure they’re useful to the customer. If you wouldn’t use it yourself and be thrilled, it isn’t good enough to be facing customers.


Build them with the same underlying knowledge you use in contact with customers via phone and email, and you’ll start to see satisfied customers, serving themselves.

Benjamin Payne
I help companies realize the full potential of their knowledge, in efforts to improve CX. From internal corporate use to customer self-service, I help companies to deliver consistent and accurate information to the people who need it, when they need it.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here