Amid the constantly changing dynamics of customer experience, one thing remains true: the customer is in the driver’s seat now more than ever. And what they want is to handle things on their own.

The data doesn’t lie: in 2017, customer self-service almost surpassed human-assisted service for customer service interactions. By 2020, an estimated 85% of customers will choose self-service first.

Yet, for many organizations, delivering effortless self-service experiences throughout the post-sale customer journey is a struggle (or it isn’t a priority at all).

Why?

The traditional approach to customer self-service

See if this one sounds familiar:

An organization—let’s say an appliance manufacturer—is facing an inundated call center. Contact center metrics, such as first call resolution (FCR) and customer satisfaction score (CSAT) are sliding.

The arrows are all pointing in the wrong direction.

Where’s the self-service!?

In scenarios like these, the greater focus likely remains on driving agent productivity after customers have already contacted support. Options for customer self-service are limited to FAQs, PDF documentation, and basic knowledge base articles housed somewhere and managed by someone.

While these self-service offerings might help some users, finding them takes some digging. The impact they have can be difficult to measure or see, especially when it comes to reducing the high volume hitting the contact center.

Is your KM strategy customer-first?

Use our eight-part checklist to evaluate your approach to knowledge management.

4 keys to next-gen customer self-service

Next-gen customer self-service takes the “outside in” approach by bringing easy self-service to customers on their terms. Here’s what that looks like:

1. Support content is searchable using Google

Next-gen self-service puts content in the search engine most customers turn to first: Google (91% of customers use Google search before contacting a live support engineer).

2. Content is personalized based on the person viewing it

Personalization makes finding the right content easier for customers, as they’ll only see information relevant to their particular journey (their product, license, etc.).

3. “Agentless” unless an agent is needed

When easy, repeat issues are automated by self-service, customers will only need to call the contact center for the more complex issues actually requiring agent assistance.

4. Available on-demand, 24/7, any channel or device

Reliable, available, and well-optimized sites mean customers, agents, partners, and employees can self-serve on their terms, whenever and wherever they want.

Delivering these kinds of self-service experiences requires a greater focus on what the customer really needs and wants throughout their post-sale journey. From there, finding the right technology to support these self-service experiences becomes a whole lot easier.

Additional categories: Customer Experience, Customer Support