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How Customer Self-Service Can Benefit Your Business

 Customer-self service is everywhere. Over the last decade, the process has been adopted by leading businesses, such as Apple, Amazon, and Netflix, with small to medium-sized enterprises following suit. Now, it's a must-have if you want happy customers and efficient business operations.

Let's explore the practice and some of its benefits before sharing how you can get customer self-service right and delight your customers.

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What is customer-self service?

Customer self-service describes a collection of channels that allow your users to find help quickly, easily, and independently. The concept includes things like your knowledge portals, websites, help centers, etc.

Customers like self-service, especially for more everyday inquiries and incidents. Instead of sitting on hold on the phone, waiting for a reply to an email, or staying in the queue to speak to a customer chat portal representative, they can get instant answers to their questions.

But customer self-service isn't just limited to dealing with complaints and queries. You can adopt the approach at any stage of the customer journey. For example, software products use self-service demos as part of their presales and product led-growth (PLG) efforts.

What it's really about is automating as many of your customer interactions as possible to meet the growing standards of customer service. The internet has shifted expectations. The modern consumer wants always-on support that fits around their schedules, and they won't wait around to get it.

Why is customer self-service important?

These are competitive times. It's difficult for most companies to get an edge in the market. Even great products have great alternatives, while competing too heavily on price eats into revenue. Customer success is a legitimate area where a business can take the lead over its rivals by meeting or going beyond expectations.

On the subject of customer expectations, there's no nice way to put it; customers have become incredibly demanding. When it comes to questions or problems, they want accurate answers, and they want them quickly.

Failure to meet their expectations has severe consequences. Dissatisfied customers will either:

a) trash your reputation all over social media

b) leave for one of your rivals.  

The next thing we need to think about is costs. Providing in-person customer service is still important to some users. However, it's way behind fast responses in the pecking order of what users really want. Implementing customer self-service options allows businesses to save money on headcount. What's more, it takes the pressure off the customer success staff you do have, allowing them to prioritize more pressing or serious issues. 

What are the main benefits of customer self-service?

There are several benefits to providing solid customer self-service. Here are a few of the most important. 

  • Increased customer satisfaction: The majority of customers want self-service options. Give them what they want, and they can become happy and loyal users.   

  • Reduced costs: Automated customer support reduces the volume of customer support tickets, cutting the time and costs associated with human support.

  • 24/7 care: Self-service means you can help your customers around the clock, which is particularly useful if you have users in different time zones.

  • Fast responses: Response times are an essential metric for customer success. Self-service helps you provide instant results by automating significant portions of your customer service.

  • Increased sales and leads: Self-service demos help teams reach more customers and boost sales and leads, even if you don’t have a massive marketing budget.

  • Scaleable: Customer self-service tools scale with you. Winning new users doesn't need to become a headache because you'll always have the capacity to deal with problems.

How to get customer self-service right

Getting customer self-service right requires a few different things. A lot of the hard work involved is about using foresight and planning while taking the time to understand your users. The other important element is investing in customer self-service software that allows you to provide the level of care expected in the modern business environment.

Here are a few things to consider.

#1. Chatbots and virtual assistants

Chatbots and virtual assistants have emerged as solid customer self-service options in recent years. There is a wide variance in the complexity of these tools. Some use up-to-the-minute natural language processing (NLP), while others use question trees and keywords to serve knowledge base answers to common questions.

The important thing is that these automated assistants mean there is always somewhere for your customers to get answers and help, regardless of what time it is or where they're located. 

How Usetiful can help: 

Usetiful Assistant provides 24-7 support for your customers. It can appear as a widget within your product or website. If customers have problems or issues, they can simply enter their query into the search box and get answers from your knowledge base, FAQs, tutorials, or other support content. A lot of customer queries are repetitive and predictable. You can build content around these common problems and employ Usetiful Assistant to deliver it where it's needed most.

Of course, some problems aren't as straightforward as you'd like. Usetiful Assistant also includes a contact button so customers can choose more traditional support options, like a call or email. 

#2. Self-service demos

Self-serve demos are an excellent choice for businesses of different sizes. If you want to pursue a product-led growth (PLG) strategy, self-service demos allow you to market your solution without a sales team by offering 24-7 self-service demos. Demos can help slash sales and marketing costs without compromising growth.

However, there are also advantages for businesses with sales teams. Busy revenue generation teams can use self-serve demos as their pre-sales strategy. Self-service demos let customers try out your product, which can be enough to get them over the line. You can generate prospect leads by requiring them to provide their name and email to access the demo, you can then add their details to your CRM and follow up.

How Usetiful can help: 

Interactive product demos are a big part of Usetiful's power as a customer self-service software. We built our solution to help non-technical teams build product tours, walkthroughs, and demos. Our no-code tools help you design demos that take your prospects through your best features and show them what they can achieve with your tool.

#3. Onboarding

Good onboarding is essential if you want to keep users. Customer onboarding self-service solutions are critical in activating and retaining customers, particularly in an environment where customer acquisition costs (CAC) are spiraling out of control.

There are many reasons why a user won't adopt your tool. It could be about price, functionalities or features you don't provide or the presence of rival products. However, if they don't become active users because they can't determine how to get value from the product? That's unacceptable.

Customer onboarding self-service ensures users learn how your product can help them achieve their objectives.

How Usetiful can help: 

Usetiful is a customer onboarding self-service tool. Customer self-service, in the form of tooltips, checklists, and product walkthroughs, ensures your customers know how to get value from your solution straightaway. 

Our tool offers the flexibility you need to provide personalized and contextual help for your users. If you build a variety of onboarding content, you can meet different learning speeds and preferences, meaning your product has the best chance of success.

#4. Customer retention

Activating and onboarding clients is just the start. You must hold on to your customers to recoup your marketing and advertising spending. And to do that, you need to ensure they feel happy and valued.

Customer retention is a struggle for many businesses. It's impossible to avoid at least some churn. In recent years, companies have wised up to the value of retention for several reasons. For starters, keeping a customer costs less than acquiring one. But perhaps more significantly, you can cross and upsell to loyal customers, and, in the best scenarios, they can become advocates for your product and help boost sales.

How Usetiful can help:

Our customer self-service software can drive retention in several ways. Firstly, you can build guides, product tours, and walkthroughs to ensure your customers know how to get value from your product. Beyond that, having access to help documentation means customers can access immediate help 24-7, which boosts satisfaction. 

Proactive support helps you get out in front of problems before they occur or, worse still, fester to the point of customer churn. As customer success has become a significant priority over the last few years, you can’t afford to sit on the bylines and hope you retain users. 

Final thoughts

The customer self-service trend isn't going anywhere. If anything, it's only set to grow as businesses explore ways to provide services at more affordable price points. If retention is the new acquisition, then customer self-service software should be viewed as a revenue-generating investment.

G2 recognizes Usetiful as a high performer in the Customer Self-Service category in Europe and Asia Pacific. Our tool allows you to take the customer-centric approach necessary to thrive in modern business environments. If you're ready to take your customer success strategy to the next level, try Usetiful today. 

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