10 Ways to Offer Self-Service Options to End-Users
Implementing self-service is beneficial for both IT and end-users. Convenience and speed are at the forefront of these technologies because they provide users with what they need in nearly an instant without having to contact IT. On the other hand, your team spends more time with responsibilities and less time answering phone calls.
In fact, 66% of service professional says self-service reduces the volume of phone calls. That means your team can provide a human touch where it matters most. You no longer have to handle phone calls or tickets on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, those needing the human touch will get it sooner.
But before you can start reducing call volume and ticket submissions, you have to implement self-service options.
How to integrate self-service technologies for a better end-user experience
Depending on your company, you may integrate self-service technologies differently. While self-service success may vary widely, it all comes down to your company’s and end-users’ needs. Fortunately, there are several ways to provide self-service to your end users.
1. Answer FAQs
Adding an FAQ page to your website or mobile app is one of the easiest ways to get started with self-service. If you don’t have the resources to build a thorough knowledge base, an FAQ page is a great way to start. It simply provides users with answers to frequently asked questions.
Compiling a list of FAQs may seem challenging, but there are three methods you can use:
- Help desk reports: One of the best ways is by reviewing your help desk reports. Look for questions that come up the most. Use them as a starting point for your FAQs.
- Your team’s experience: If you don’t have a help desk, use your own team’s experience as a great way to formulate a list. What questions has your team answered the most? Consider reviewing emails and ticket submissions to catch as many FAQs as possible.
- Research: Finally, consider looking up FAQs on other companies’ sites or using search engine data to see what people are searching for. The information you receive from either of these places may not translate directly to your company, but it’ll help jumpstart your FAQ page.
Important note: Answer FAQs clearly and concisely. Your goal is to make your FAQ page as user-friendly as possible.
2. Use a chatbot
Chatbots are an excellent way for users to find the information they need when they need it. They don’t have to waste time emailing, filling out a form, or waiting on hold. Chatbots operate by providing the location of where a user can find the information they need.
A chatbot can only send users to specific parts of the website or app. They can also answer simple questions, often pre-defined by your team. Integrating a chatbot into your website is a cost-effective solution to help users find what they need fast.
3. Upgrade to a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant is different from a chatbot because it learns from users’ questions and requests over time. It can provide more specific answers to questions that a chatbot can’t. Virtual assistants use natural language processing (NLP), which allows them to interpret human language.
Unlike a chatbot, virtual agents can understand the user’s intent based on the question asked. They can provide much more detailed answers and information to user requests. As a result, users have a much more positive self-service experience.
In addition, your virtual assistant can gather data on users, such as what questions they’re asking, the length of interactions, and their location. Data like this can help you operate more efficiently and generate more leads.
4. Establish a knowledge base
A knowledge base for your end-users helps them troubleshoot technical issues, find answers to questions, and learn about a specific topic. Collecting and creating content is the most challenging part of establishing a knowledge base. Content can come in many forms: articles, guides, tutorials, videos, FAQs, etc.
Once you have your content collected, it’s time to find the right IT service management (ITSM) tools to host and manage it. Regardless of the tools you choose, your knowledge base must remain user-friendly. It should be easy to find and navigate. Otherwise, your self-service implementation will fail, wasting more time and money.
5. Cultivate a community using a forum
If your company isn’t large enough to manage a knowledge base or has too many user inquiries, a forum is a great self-service tool to implement. When you develop a forum, experts on your product, services, or industry can provide answers to those asking questions.
A forum for your expert community to grow is especially important when you offer a free product or service. Your customer base may be too large for your team to handle. So, handing off the duties to experts can satisfy users sooner than your own team could.
6. Implement an IP access control system
An IP access control system is a physical security solution that stores data in the cloud rather than in an on-site server. Using a cloud-based portal, users are able to use their phones to access the property, update credentials, remotely grant access to visitors, provide temporary access, and more.
For the ultimate self-service features, make sure your IP access control system has its own mobile app and video capabilities. Rather than a physical key, the mobile app serves as the user’s method of entry. Using a phone to access the property is much faster, affordable, and convenient for the user and your company. As for video capabilities, it greatly increases the safety and security of the property. Plus, it cuts down on time for security audits by taking a date- and time-stamped photo of each person who enters.
7. Build a self-service portal
Self-service portals compile your knowledge base, community forum, and your ticketing system in one place. This not only streamlines your department’s operations but also benefits your end-user. By compiling these three components, users can save time looking for what they need.
If users cannot find what they’re looking for through your knowledge base or the forums, the self-service portal makes it simple for them to submit a ticket. From there, they can check the status of their ticket, preventing unwanted phone calls or emails to your team. The smooth process of switching between each of these options is essential for a high-quality self-service experience.
8. Automate calls
Answering phone calls is time-consuming, especially regarding information that can be given over a pre-recorded voice message. You can reduce the number of calls your company receives by automating phone calls. Rather than reaching an agent, many of your users can receive the information they need through voice messages. If their inquiry cannot be resolved using phone menu prompts, direct them to an agent who can better assist them.
9. Utilize a mobile app
In this day and age, being mobile-friendly is a must. It’s critical you have a mobile app to serve your customers or users whenever they’re on the go. Your mobile app can help users find the answers to the questions when it’s designed well for self-service customer support. If it doesn’t make sense for your company to have an app, ensure your website is as mobile-friendly as possible.
10. Personalize content for customers
When collecting data from users, take advantage by customizing the content accordingly. For example, a customer who recently searched for stainless steel cookware would receive recommendations for similar cookware upon returning to the site. The content is customized to the user based on past searches they made.
Because of personalized content, users are able to find what they are looking for faster. They’ll also stay on the website longer, which can drive conversions. Moreover, this method of self-service is an excellent lead-generation tool. Customizing content for new users can keep them on the site longer, which can lead to a higher conversion rate for the company.