According to The Pew Internet and American Life Project, around 48% of technology users need help setting up new devices and software. Without quick and easy access to relevant documentation and product help, the customer experience can suffer. This creates frustration, high customer effort, even product abandonment. The more consumers struggle with a new product—the more we fail to meet modern product expectations—the less likely widespread adoption becomes. This might explain why, of the nearly 64% of consumers who consider themselves tech-savvy, many still call in for support.

Companies are increasingly placing product help at the forefront of their customer experience strategies. The opportunity cost of not providing a good self-service experience is too high to ignore. Indeed, some of the most successful companies know how to transform the product help experience into a brand-building and customer loyalty strategy. This experience often centers around an engaging self-service portal that makes good on five areas consumers have come to expect as part of their product experience.

Five Modern Product Expectations

  1. Usability – Your site must be easy to navigate and powered by an adaptive search engine that surfaces highly relevant information to your customer. Bonus points if your search also surfaces other meaningful information that deepens the expertise of the user.
  2. Feedback – You need to know how engaged and satisfied your customers are with the information, help, and documentation you’re providing them. Offering the opportunity to provide feedback around your product gives you the opportunity not only to engage the customer when they need help, but also provides a continuous stream of input you can use to improve the customer experience.
  3. Active Participation – Your self-service community has to know you’re actively paying attention to their needs in your support channel. Although your customers may be served well by your documentation or user community, you’ll magnify the consumer experience by actively participating. This can include recognizing and rewarding users for productive participation.
  4. Analytics – Having continuous visibility into the performance of your self-service community is a must. These data can drive continuous improvement while keeping your customers’ needs in focus. It’s also essential because the early warning signs of support hot-spots will surface within analytics, enabling you to quickly respond. Analytics will also provide actionable information regarding your customers’ sense of product fulfillment. Finally, it provides a means by which to respond to certain product feature or improvement requests.
  5. Quality Support – There will be times when either your documentation or your community won’t have the right answer. That, or your customer will simply need someone more knowledgeable to guide them through a crisis. When this happens, your customer needs an escape route directly to your support team. Yes, we all want to deflect tickets and reduce support costs. But users still need to be able to easily contact you should the need arise.

By meeting consumer product expectations, any company can and will improve their customer experience KPIs. The result will be a community of engaged product advocates, not frustrated and underserved customers. For more insights into how you might improve your self-service experience, see our five self-service pitfalls that increase customer effort.

Additional categories: Customer Experience, Customer Support