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Self-Serivce Customer ServiceFrequently Asked Questions

Recently I wrote about the self-service concept of customer service. The article focused on self-serve check-out at retail stores, purchasing airline tickets online, and more. This time we cover a related topic, which is self-service support. Last year I bought a Ping-Pong table and had the hardest time putting it together. After several frustrating hours, I tried calling the phone number on the instructions. Bad news. Their help hours are typical business hours; 9-5, Monday through Friday. When do most consumers purchase and build their Ping-Pong tables? On evenings and weekends. Not during the typical work day. So, on a whim, I turned on my computer, went to YouTube and typed in the name and model number of my Ping-Pong table, and lo and behold, there was a video of how to put it together. An hour later, the project was done. Self-Service Support is becoming more and more widely accepted. Not just accepted. In some cases, it is preferred. This is especially true with technical support issues. It’s easier to do a quick online search, either via Google, Bing, YouTube – or even on the company’s own website. Some companies have created a “knowledgebase” for customers to search and get quick answers to their questions. I recently talked with Ben Puzzuoli of Cayzu Helpdesk, who shared some interesting stats and facts about self-service support. For companies that use his solution, 50% of customers opt out of the traditional help-ticket request because their auto-suggest technology matches the user’s question to a solution in the knowledgebase. That saves the company a lot of money. How much? According to McKinsey & Company, the average cost of a phone interaction is $6.00, an email is $5.00 and Live Chat is $5.00. Those dollars add up. So a good knowledgebase self-service support system can save a company money, is many times faster for the customer, and is available to that customer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just about any company can create a knowledge base of frequently asked questions. Prominently display the link to the knowledgebase wherever appropriate, especially the website, with the goal of moving customers away from the phone or other labor and cost intensive channels. All of this is great until the customer doesn’t feel the question is being answered or the problem isn’t getting resolved. Then, it’s back to the more traditional support methods; phone, support tickets, email, etc. And you had better be good at it, because by the time the customer gets to you, they are ready for answers, not long wait times. Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling author. Learn more about Shep’s customer service and customer experience keynote speeches and his customer service training workshops at Connect with Shep on LinkedIn. (Copyright ©MMXIV, Shep Hyken)

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