This Fine Tuning session is about self-service, including:
- What is self-service and why should you love it?
- How to properly implement a Self Service strategy
- Using Self Service to improve the customer experience
Customer Success Consultant Eric Nelson has been with Zendesk since 2015. He brings a wealth of knowledge from working in customer support, software development, and implementation before coming to Zendesk.
To find more Fine Tuning articles, see Fine tuning resources.
Part 1, 8 am: What is self-service and why should you love it?
I have a dog named Yumi, and like many dog owners, I purchase a good number of things for her online. The other day I ordered her a new harness which unfortunately didn't fit. At first I wasn’t troubled by this and planned on just returning it. But when I went online to search for the process for how to return the harness, I had trouble finding any documentation about what the steps were.
After twenty minutes of searching the website and trying my best Google-fu, I still couldn’t find any documentation on how to process my return. Finally begrudgingly I clicked on “Contact us” and sent an email.
The agent who helped me was wonderful and truly gave A+ Service. That being said, I can certainly tell you that despite the wonderful customer service interaction, I will think twice before ordering from this retailer again. Now why is that? Because I felt that I wasted my time as well as the agent’s time by not being able to help myself.
This is just one of many examples of how we, as consumers, may try to self-serve on a regular basis. And of course, Zendesk can help you with this! We help you provide your customers with self-service options via a knowledge base (otherwise known as the Help Center) where customers can search and find answers to their questions.
I’m not the only one who prefers this. As everyday consumers become more tech-savvy, their expectations around support options have shifted. So it's crucial that companies keep up with the changing landscape of customer support.Let's take a look at some pretty astonishing stats:
- Coleman Parkes found in a survey that a staggering 91% of people said they would prefer to use an online knowledge base if it answered their questions.
- The same study shows us that 40% of customers contact a call center after they've tried to self-serve. Here's a great opportunity to curb incoming calls by improving that Help Center content.
- In The Effortless Experience, a study revealed that customers are four times as likely to be disloyal after any customer service interaction. Four times? That's an incredibly risky number with costly ramifications. How do we prevent these interactions that lead to disloyalty? Self-service.
As a customer success consultant, I've worked with numerous Zendesk customers to fine tune their self-service offerings. And these customers see first-hand how these optimizations lead to positive results on their support teams. Skyscanner found that by building a Help Center that they customized to their exact needs, less than 1% of those customers who visited it went on to submit a ticket. Another customer, Tafe found that it self-service greatly improved their agents’ efficiency. “It certainly reduces our workload. Instead of answering questions that we’ve answered before, we can help the people who we haven’t been able to find answers yet.” Support interactions with agents can be costly and time consuming. Save those conversations for the questions that really do require a human touch.
All of this begs the question, do you have a self-service process in place? If not, it's time to take action. In Part 2 of this Fine Tuning, I'll show you how easy it is to get your company up-to-speed on building a self-service strategy.
Part 2, 11 am: How to properly implement a self-service strategy
As Hannibal from the A-Team says, "I love it when a plan comes together." I'm guessing you do, too. In this section, I'll walk you through properly implementing a self-service strategy that's right for your company and its unique needs.
Here are some things to consider when evaluating your self-service offering:
- Do you have a knowledge base currently? If not we offer a solution called Guide, which includes a customer-facing Help Center Help Center includes a knowledge base and, on Guide Professional, a customer portal and community. You can add branding so that your Help Center matches the feel of your company. You can get started here.
- What are the top 10 things that your customers are contacting you about? This is a great place to start getting ideas for knowledge base content. If you don’t know what these topics are, implementing an “About field” on your web form can be really beneficial. This allows you to gain further insight into the issues that might warrant documentation. Your customers can easily identify the nature of their issue during ticket submission, and as an Admin you can report on this field via Explore.
- Do you want customers to navigate to the Help Center? Or would you like to provide access to knowledge base content directly from a customer's shopping cart, for example? To provide in-the-moment support and keep customers from navigating away from your website, you'll want to implement our Web widget. Le Tote uses the web widget to serve up Help Center content before customers request to chat, and they saw a chat decrease of 60%.
- How do you want your content divided? What are the main categories and corresponding subcategories that best reflect the information your customers are seeking?
- Will you need to have restricted content?
Once you’ve answered these questions you can move on to the next phase of your plan. Below is a general roadmap for how implementing an effective Help Center.
The great thing about the Help Center is that you can make it look and feel just like your website. Then with Host-mapping your customers can have a seamless experience.
By using the data gained from the “Top 10 issues” as discussed earlier, you’ll have a clear way forward when it comes to content creation.
3. Embed Google analytics for tracking Help Center usage.
Just like with your website, by tracking the usage and traffic of the Help Center, in tandem with using the Help center dashboards to find holes in your content, you’ll be able to make decisions on how to make improvements.
4. Embed the Web Widget into your site to assist your customers with contextual help. Contextual help is a Web Widget feature that uses the web page your visitor is currently on, along with your Help Center content, to suggest Help Center articles that may be relevant to their questions. This allows you to reduce the effort of an end-user who might be trying to self-serve by suggesting relevant articles.
5. Use Answer Bot.
So let’s say that a customer for some reason decided not to go through your awesome Help Center and decides to submit a ticket. Answer Bot uses machine learning to respond to that ticket with an automated reply that lists potentially relevant knowledge base articles. This encourages self-service in your customer base and raises awareness of your knowledge base offerings.
You're ready to get started! This plan is what I’d call the “Vanilla Ice Cream” version of a self-service strategy. It will definitely get you on the right path, however it’s up to you and your company to add in the flavor to make it fit your needs!
In Part 3 of this Fine Tuning, we'll take a look at how to refine the above strategy to correspond to the unique requirements of your customers and organization. In the meantime, post a comment below to share your self-service learnings.
Part 3, 2 pm: Using self-service to improve the customer experience
When it comes to self service, things can get messy if you don't take the time to address what's needed for your customers. Perhaps your new strategy meets the business goal of lowering the number of incoming tickets, but are your customers happy? Are they really getting the best information possible at the right step in their journey? There are a few different ways we can delve into this to find out.
1. Use Google analytics to get a better understanding of what the needs of your customer’s are.
This tells the support team that the articles I read are missing some information, or perhaps those articles are written in a confusing way that prevents customers from understanding next steps. The team can use this data immediately, taking the appropriate steps to create relevant content for future users.
2. Use CSAT reporting to identify what support interactions are working, and aren't working, for your customers. If the company I purchased the harness from had been tracking customer interactions via satisfaction surveys, they would have been able to identify that I wasn’t happy due to the lack of documentation.
3. Send out an NPS Survey to gauge how your customers are feeling about your new knowledge base and self-service process.
4. Continue revising your knowledge base. One of the main mistakes that I see customers making is setting up their Help Center and then “forgetting” about it.
For example, let’s say that the company in our example did have a knowledge base in place with a FAQ. However they hadn’t updated it since they’d moved offices and due to that I’d sent the package to the wrong location. Obviously this would lead to a really poor customer experience. I always advise customers to set a reminder in their calendar so that once a month (at minimum) they revisit their content and confirm that everything is still relevant. This is also a great time to use the previous steps to add in more content that you think your users will find useful!
By taking the steps above, I'm confident that your team will see a drastic decrease in your ticket volume, which will of course then lead to customer happiness. There's really no downside to self-service. As they say, "Knowledge is power," and we want to give that power to our customers.
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