A Deep Dive into the Benefits of Customer Self-Service Systems


How do you know your customers aren’t having any trouble using your product or services? Answer: When they (almost) never reach out for support.

So, if your customers are blowing up your support channels, that’s your sign to invest in customer self-service systems. Offering these systems and keeping track of how customers use them will also make a world of qualitative and quantitative data available to help you make your company’s products and services better.

Along with offering stellar products, servies, and experiences, making sure your customers are finding and using your available self-service options is a surefire way to lower customer churn rate and the usually high costs of running a contact center.

This article will cover the ins and outs of using self-service systems to reduce your customer churn rate and improve your overall customer experience.

What Is Customer Self-Service?

Customer self-service involves equipping customers to perform tasks, troubleshoot, resolve issues, or find quick answers to pertinent questions on their own without interacting with a live agent. 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages, chatbots, how-to guides, help centers, community forums, and authenticated self-service portals, where customers have to log in to manage their accounts, are some common examples of digital channels that facilitate customer self-service.

How Does Customer Self-Service Work?

Customers want answers and they want answers fast. And the longer it takes to get answers, the more likely it is that they will be frustrated with your service. Worse case, they switch to a competitor and that’s not good for business.

Customer self-service provides step-by-step guidance for completing a task or resolving an issue with as little effort as possible on the customer side. 

Simple self-service materials, like how-to guides, tutorials, or in-app guides, help customers make the most out of your products and services and are a great way to retain active customers with high customer lifetime value (CLTV).

Components of Customer Self-Service Systems

Customer self-service systems are made up of interconnected components designed to empower users to find information, troubleshoot issues, and perform tasks by themselves.

The best customer self-service systems offer the components below, giving individuals a variety of ways to solve the issues they’re encountering on their own. 

Centralized Knowledge Base

A knowledge base is a repository of information and solutions for customer queries, accessible even after business working hours.

Mobile-Friendly Interface

A good self-service system is accessible and responsive on mobile devices.

Automated Chatbots

Chatbots are proactive virtual assistants that use natural language processing to respond to customer queries. 

Self-Service Portals

A customer in need of support will usually first look for a self-service solution. Self-service portals are online platforms for account management, FAQ pages, and how-to guides.

FAQ pages answer the most frequently asked questions that come up at different stages in the customer journey — either during sales or support calls. You can also use written or video how-to content to guide your customers through using your product or services.

Multilingual Capabilities

Self-serve systems with multilingual capabilities cater to a diverse customer base by offering support in various languages.

Smart Callback Technologies

If given the chance to receive a call back instead of staying on hold, 66% of survey takers say they’d use this option. 

With Smart callback technologies — a coveted contact center solution — customers can skip waiting on hold to get support on their own time, improving contact center experience.

Benefits of Customer Self-Service Systems

Implementing customer self-service systems can yield a wide range of benefits for both your organization and customers.

Here are some of them.

Increased Contact Center Productivity

Customers will usually first look for a FAQs page or knowledge base, instead of opening a ticket or calling support. As your contact center handles fewer tickets and queries, support staff become more productive and have more time to focus on high-value tasks like addressing more complex customer issues or supporting sales, upselling, and customer retention efforts.

Insights gathered from self-serve systems can also be used to train your customer service team members and optimize internal processes for increased operational efficiency.

Lower Cost to Serve Customers

Customer self-service can achieve significant cost savings for your organization. By reducing the need for manual intervention, the time and resources needed to resolve customer enquiries is minimized.

Customer self-service also reduces the volume of inbound calls and emails, lowering operational costs expended in serving customers. Ultimately, the more self-service options you have, the less you spend on managing your contact center. 

Faster Resolution Times

Only 60% of people are willing to spend at most 10 minutes trying to find solutions before taking another action. With self-service systems, customers can quickly find answers and solutions to their queries, leading to faster resolution times. This is one way to reduce customer churn.

The less time a customer spends on resolving an issue, the more positive their experience is and the higher their CLTV becomes. 

Improved Customer Experience

Customer self-service contributes to a better customer experience by providing quick, convenient, and round-the-clock access to information and solutions.

Eliminating the need to deal with long virtual queues and wait times, self-service platforms empower customers to find solutions to their questions independently, increasing customer satisfaction and the overall customer experience.

Fosters Customer Loyalty

Ultimately, the customer experience that self-service systems provide leads to increased loyalty and brand advocacy and satisfied customers with a higher likelihood of making repeat purchases, referring friends and family to your business, and leaving positive reviews. 

Best Practices for Implementing Customer Self-Service

Done right, customer self-service adds a layer of ease to your customer experience and reduces churn rate.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when implementing customer self-service systems.

Provide Help in Real-Time (and Even Before Customers Reach Out)

Experience orchestration technology allows you to provide contextual assistance right where and when your customers need it, across all digital channels. 

This intervention intelligently identifies real-time customer behavior and uses the insights to provide timely help at common friction points and detractor moments — at scale. What this does is segment and personalize your customer experience before they even contact customer support. 

By analyzing intent at every stage of your customer journey, experience orchestration allows you to add value at every self-service opportunity, whether it be resolving an issue or upselling a relevant product.

Create a Resource Center

Today’s customers expect to see self-service options on your website and would prefer to use these instead of speaking to your customer service team. (After all, as those in the industry like to say, “The best interaction with the contact center is no interaction at all.”)

Investing in a resource center — that customers already expect you to have — provides easily accessible self-service support and information. This investment then reduces the volume of tickets on minor inquiries handled by support teams, freeing up time and resources to provide higher-value assistance to customers.

Resource centers provide multiple ways for customers to solve issues and may include video, audio, case studies, FAQ pages, tutorials, and infographics.

Note that resource centers are not a one-and-done investment. Be sure to set up ae plan to consolidate duplicate or conflicting information, especially after product upgrades or redesigns, and also update content regularly, based on recurring inquiries from your sales and support calls.

It’s also a good idea to optimize and index your resource centers so your solutions appear in search engines when a prospect or customer is looking for quick answers to a pain point.

Design User-Friendly Interface

Even though people often prefer self-service channels, if brands aren’t thoughtful when designing these, they can be difficult to use. A well-designed self-service portal UX significantly lowers your customer effort score. To meet the needs of your customers effectively, design an intuitive and user-friendly interface. 

Make your self-service portal responsive and easy to navigate as customers should be able to quickly find what they’re looking for with minimal time and effort.

Offer Personalization

When offered a personalized experience, 61% of consumers are willing to spend more with a company — and 82% say personalized experiences influence the brand they choose at least half of the time when shopping. 

To personalize customer experience, use behavioral data from interactions and conversations to tailor content and suggestions based on user preferences.

Future Trends in Customer Self-Service: AI and Machine Learning

Your customer self-service portals can be upgraded with AI and machine learning. Coveted features of these technologies include predictive analysis and precise personalization at scale.

Instead of one-size-fits-all responses, AI proactively uses natural language understanding (NLU) to discern conversation topics, intent, customer sentiment, preferences, and behavior to provide precise and personalized responses to each query. 

That’s the case with Medallia’s AI-powered Smart Response tool, a solution that provides contact center agents with personalized, empathetic, and accurate responses to customers’ questions in real time. Organizations can use this technology to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by empowering employees to solve issues faster than ever. Unlike other AI solutions, employees have the final control and say over what gets sent ensuring the use of artificial intelligence aligns with your brand voice and values. 

Embrace Better Customer Service Experiences with Medallia

Medallia offers a suite of advanced solutions for managing and optimizing digital, in-person, and phone-based customer interactions, enabling teams to provide better experiences, reduce the burden on the contact center, and strengthen customer retention and satisfaction rates.   

Speak to a Medallia expert to see we can help you improve customer outcomes for your organization.