There’s a reason New Jersey is the only state that doesn’t let us fill up the gas tank on our own.

If your customers want to pump their own gas, you let them.

The same goes for self-service. If your customers prefer to solve issues on their own (as it turns out, they very much do), you need to enable them to do so. Not only that, you need to make that experience as frictionless as possible.

Executed well, a web self-service experience can be your 24/7 customer support department. Your ticket deflector. Support cost reducer. So, here are five essential strategies that should underpin any self-service strategy—new, nascent, or begging for a refresh.

RELATEDHow customers move through the customer self-service journey

1. Optimize for mobile

The call to optimize your knowledge base for mobile has never been stronger. The prevalence of smartphones isn’t going anywhere, a trend underscored by Google’s recent shift toward mobile-first indexing. This means optimized KB content can provide two important benefits:

  • Show up where customers are looking for it (namely, Google Search)
  • Ensures a good user experience when visitors do find your content (using their smartphones)

2. Make it easy

By easy, I mean low effort. There are various ways to make your web self-service experience easier. Good click navigation, for one. Simple, well-written content that’s technically accurate and easy to follow. Searchable and consistent content.

3. Personalize it

For self-service to be as effective as possible—for customers to solve issues and get answers—we need to eliminate the noise. Because customers only need to see what they need to see. People using your enterprise-level software, for example, don’t need to sift through content intended for a consumer-level audience. In other words, a more personalized self-service experience.

4. Capture feedback

Why do we pay so much attention to customer experience KPIs? Because ignoring customer feedback and sentiment can be costly. Same goes for your web self-service experience: customer feedback is an excellent gauge of where you need to make improvements. Gather data around this feedback, incorporate feedback into your workflows and, most importantly, act on it! Feedback can include:

  • Article quality, ratings, and comments
  • Forums and communities
  • Customer satisfaction and customer effort surveys

5. Be proactive

When you have an idea of who your customers are and what they’re looking for you, you can offer up contextually sensitive content. If you know a customer has a certain product and issue, for example, you can serve up relevant content on the contact form. This content might eliminate the need for a costly, time-intensive support call.

Spot-on web self-service is a must. According to a Salesforce survey, 60% of businesses “expect to implement self service portals within the next 12–18 months.” For those that do, the five strategies above can vastly improve customer experience, success KPIs, and ultimately build the strong relationships that create loyal customers and brand advocates. So, the question remains:

How is your web self-service experience looking these days?

Additional categories: Customer Experience, Customer Support