Why DIY Support Is the Next Frontier in Customer Service


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Companies are always looking for the best way to adjust, upgrade, and adapt their customer service to the current needs of their customers. In the homeownership and home improvement industry, the future of customer service is becoming increasingly clear. Homeowners are looking for DIY support — and businesses need to meet them where they are.

What Is DIY Support?

Also known as customer self-service, DIY support is the active, conscious effort of companies to enable their customers to do things themselves. It allows customers to access both passive and active customer service resources on their terms and as needed.

In the field of homeownership, DIY support takes on a more specific meaning. It is a unique approach to doing business in which companies enable homeowners to do projects themselves without the need to navigate the complex and expensive world of middle-man construction companies for every single home improvement or repair.

Why Is DIY Support the Next Frontier in Customer Service?

Homeowners DIY these days. The pandemic drove this shift, with Angie initially reporting that 81 percent of that demographic attempted a DIY project during the global crisis. Half of that number took on four or more DIY projects, showing a growing confidence in doing things themselves.

This trend toward doing things rather than handing them off to a professional comes from more than just the pandemic, though. The Farnsworth Group also reports that 73 percent of millennial homeowners are DIYers, pandemic or not.

The DIY movement makes sense, especially among younger homeowners facing a wild post-pandemic economy and the unruly housing market, in particular. The power of the internet allows homeowners to access solutions and resources that no generation has ever had before. DIY is also attractive because it saves money, builds skill sets, and often fills the role of a hobby.

But it isn’t easy. A good DIYer must be able to research, find the right solutions, and source their own material and tools. That’s why many forward-thinking companies are shifting to a DIY support model for their customer service.

What Does DIY Support Look Like?

For DIY support to work, you have to do it right. If you don’t create a healthy DIY support system, it’s going to frustrate customers. They can easily end up at information dead ends and feel isolated as they fruitlessly search for solutions.

The good news is, there are multiple ways to provide good DIY support. You can tailor these to your target audience’s support needs, too.

For instance, you can reinforce the customer journey for a product or service with an abundance of information. Providing resources encourages DIYers to tap professional companies for support when they need it. At the same time, offering high-quality solutions in the form of information libraries builds trust among customers that they can depend on a brand as an industry authority with genuine self-help solutions.

There are niche retailers that help consumers gain access to specific construction items at contractor prices. HVACDirect.com is a good example of this more narrowed focus. The e-commerce brand offers a wide variety of HVAC equipment to homeowners. They also provide live customer service support from HVAC experts to help customers make wise decisions for their homes before, during, and after the buying of their equipment, whether it’s one of their DIY products or not.

A contractor that is willing to help a homeowner plan their renovations is a good example of this too. They might be selling a specific service, but a willingness to share insights that enable a homeowner to do parts of the project themselves will cultivate loyalty. This makes a homeowner more willing to return to them if and when they have a project they can’t handle themselves.

Another form DIY can take is by providing the products and tools required for homeowners to do larger DIY tasks. Traditionally, contractors and construction companies were the main clients of wholesalers. They purchased larger appliances, furnaces, roofing materials, lumber, and so on.

Now, many retailers are going directly to the customer as a form of DIY support. These provide a smorgasbord of tools and basic construction materials to homeowners as needed.

How to Improve Your DIY Support

If your brand is pivoting toward DIY support, you want to make sure you do so well. The first thing you need to do is consider the different forms DIY support can take (see the above section). Are you offering a service that you’ll complement with DIY resources? Are you selling products directly to DIY homeowners?

Once you’ve decided on your basic DIY support direction, you need to consider the individual components of your customer service. The Future of Commerce details several factors that go into getting self-service support right, including:

– An intuitive interface that improves rather than inhibits the DIY self-support journey.
– Giving customers the right information and contextual and natural language search capabilities. These resolve issues and answer questions in a relevant, timely manner to provide targeted solutions.
Effective learning pathways that keep consumers on the path to becoming a customer. If it’s after the point of sale, these keep existing customers in the fold and encourage them to make future purchases.

FoC also highlights the need for better content — something that Pradeep Rathinam, CCO at Freshworks, was already calling out on Customer Think half a decade ago. Rathinam emphasized the need to optimize your DIY support content. This comes through:

– Organizing your content clearly.
– Generating content in a structured manner with clear individual ownership of the creation process.
– Aligning it with the customer journey.
– Using analytics to measure content success.
– Adjusting and evolving content to match DIY needs over time.

Content is only helpful with DIY customer service if it is clear, organized, and relevant.

Blazing the DIY Trail in Customer Service

There are many ways DIY support can manifest itself, from using quality content as a form of passive self-help support to interacting with a human, experienced HVAC technician. What’s important is that it enables, equips, and empowers homeowners to tackle their home improvement projects with confidence and accuracy.

DIY support is the next frontier in customer service. Consumers have already made the shift. It’s important for companies great and small to also adjust if they want to continue to build a loyal customer base and maintain their brand authority within the homeownership industry.

Image credit: Kindel Media; Pexels

Chalmers Brown
Chalmers is the Co-founder and CTO of Due. He writes for some of the largest publications and brands in the world including Forbes, The Next Web, American Express, and many more.


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