The Benefits and Pitfalls of Self-Service Customer Support

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Have you considered offering self-service customer support?

It’s a useful and increasingly popular option for businesses to support and educate their audiences.

However, if you’re not sure about whether it’s the right decision for your business, then this post will help you.

We’ll look at what self-service customer support is and how it works. And we’ll also explore whether it’s a good option for your business.

Let’s dive in.

What is self-service customer support

Self-service customer support, while sounding complex, is a simple approach to aiding customers meet their needs.

It’s about enabling customers to find resources, answers, and also empowering them to ask questions and even provide answers to each other easily.

Some ways to create self-service support is as follows:

  • Build an expansive knowledge resource base: This can take the form of documentation for your products, informative blog posts, videos, and so on.
  • Creating an FAQ page (Frequently Asked Questions) that addresses common queries that your audience makes.
  • Making videos, tutorials, and more and posting them to different platforms.
  • Creating groups on social media like Facebook where people can post their questions, problems, and achievements. Other members (also customers) can chime in and give answers and ideas.

There are other approaches and ways to make self-service customer support happen. But the general idea is that your audience should be able to find answers and solutions themselves. Whether its on your website or through interactions where the customers are enabled to seek content.

This concept offers many benefits. And we’ll explore them in the following section along with critical pitfalls that every business owner or support leader should know about.

The benefits of self-service customer support

If you want your support team to be effective and focus on critical issues, self-service support becomes very important.

Here are some benefits of this approach that will convince you to take it seriously:

  • Self-service support saves time and money as it allows people to find information themselves
  • Your customer service reps and sales teams will increase customer satisfaction by diving in when really needed
  • You’re compelled to create extensive online information like blog posts which can drive traffic to your site, boost your brand authority, and drive sales too
  • You’ll build a community if you opt to create social media groups
  • Self-service customer support can be available to customers around the clock. This makes it convenient for them and helps you focus on better services
  • And you’ll get ideas and feedback which will help you focus on product improvements

These benefits show that a self-service model is beneficial in the long run. And it has advantages that aren’t directly related to customer support too, like increasing traffic and your brand image. Done correctly, it can be transformational. But it’s not easy to create either and has pitfalls.

The pitfalls of self-service support

While the concept of customers helping themselves sounds good. It isn’t always practical. And it’s challenging to implement too.

Here are the major disadvantages of leveraging self-support:

  • There’s a lack of personalization. Customers who look up blog posts and videos don’t get tailored experiences which can improve their outcomes
  • They don’t handle all issues and can be frustrating for customers who seek out resources but then have to ask for personal support. Since this uses up more of their time. And it can prolong the issues they face
  • Setting it up takes a long time as it requires creating documentation, videos, and more
  • Self-support in the case of social media groups, forums, or membership site communities can require more resources in the form of moderation and investing in a membership portal
  • And customers will likely go through a learning curve to know how to serve themselves. You have to expect a degree of technical skills and literacy to make self-support customer service a meaningful option

The drawbacks involved can form obstacles to creating self-supporting customer service. However, it’s worth noting that overcoming them takes some time and effort and can be worthwhile over time.

Best practices for implementing self-service customer support

What it comes down to is that benefits of this approach outweigh the challenges posed by it.

You’d be wasting your resources and time if you didn’t build your self-service resources at least slowly over time.

Let’s look at some key practices you should follow to make self-service customer support a reality.

  • Build your knowledge resource base using a robust content strategy. By planning your knowledge base ahead of time with a content strategy approach, you’ll identify critical issues and address them in a cohesive way.
  • Focus on making your self-service support easy to navigate and intuitive. Customers should be able to figure out where to go and find out information easily.
  • Be proactive and build useful information before being asked by customers
  • Give your audience the means to contact you directly when they don’t find the information they need
  • Ask for feedback frequently to understand if your blog posts and other sources are helping people out
  • Make updates and changes wherever necessary
  • Add a live chat option for customers to get information from real people right away
  • Use AI-based chatbots to automatically serve audiences relevant sources like links, database extracts, and so on

With these best practices in place, you’ll find that both you and your customers will benefit greatly and along many angles from self-service customer support.

So, be sure to make it a key part of your marketing and product service to keep people happy while growing your brand.

Conclusion

Implementing a self-service customer support system can be a great way to provide better service and save money.

Though there are potential drawbacks to consider, you’ll ultimately well-served by enabling your customers to solve their problems on their own.

I’ve laid out some best practices that will help you do the best you can and provide customers with an efficient and satisfying self-service customer support system.

So, get started and dedicate some time to building knowledge bases, a social media community, an FAQ page and other content to improve how people use your products and benefit from them.

Syed Balkhi
Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.

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