Providing customers with responsive and effective customer support is more important than ever. Seventy-eight percent of customers have ended a business relationship because of bad customer service. It is also estimated that it costs a company six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. And that’s just the beginning – there are plenty of reasons why companies should invest in strong customer service:
- $41 billion is lost by US companies each year due to poor customer service [Insight Squared].
- 40% of customers begin purchasing from a competitor because of their reputation for great customer service [Zendesk].
- 42% switch because they are put off by rude or unhelpful staff [NewVoice].
- 32% switch because they are frustrated by speaking to multiple agents [NewVoice].
- 29% switch because they are annoyed by a lack of staff knowledge [NewVoice].
- 25% switch because they are tired of being kept on hold [NewVoice].
With such a heavy emphasis placed upon consumer satisfaction, some organizations have found an unusual source to help them consistently deliver excellent customer service: their own customer base. Consumers have become increasingly tech-savvy and expect the brands they do business with to follow suit. According to a study done by Nuance Enterprise, 75% of respondents preferred self-service over contacting a support agent. Further, 91% indicated they would use a knowledge base if it met their needs – and the interest in self-service doesn’t stop there:
- 51% of customers prefer support through an online knowledge base [Econsultancy].
- 45% of organizations that offer web or mobile self-service options noticed an increase in website traffic and a reduction in phone inquiries [CRM Magazine].
- 50% of organizations offering social customer support saw an increase in their customer satisfaction rating [Sword Ciboodle].
- 68% of organizations are using branded communities to offer customer support [Sword Ciboodle].
- 55% say easy access to information and support can make them fall in love with a brand [RightNow].
This provides a welcome opportunity for businesses. Self-service support sites enable customers to answer their own questions any time, anywhere. Also, when executed correctly, self-service support can lower costs, improve productivity, and lead to a more personalized and profitable customer experience. However, simply providing self-service support does not guarantee customers will find it beneficial. To ensure your brand provides excellent self-service, three best practices must be implemented:
1. Optimize the results of frequent customer searches. Create a space, such as an online community, where customers can easily access the answers they’re looking for. Build a knowledge base that includes instructional guides or step-by-step videos and encourages visitors to engage in Q&A.
2. Tune your knowledge base. Monitor the keywords being searched or questions being asked and adjust your knowledge base accordingly. The goal is to constantly improve the customer experience through an effective and informative online community.
3. Adjust when necessary. Regularly monitor the top search inquiries of those participating in your community. Swap out or edit content to deliver a more beneficial customer experience.
Today’s customers are extremely self-sufficient when it comes to seeking out answers to product inquiries or support issues. Instead of calling a support line, they are searching the Internet for answers. Investing in self-service support, not only benefits the customer, it enables organizations to decrease support costs and boost levels of overall customer satisfaction.