How to Develop Smart Self-Service Options


“Do It Yourself” wasn’t only a passing trend of the 1990s. People now prefer to D.I.Y. when they have a problem with an item they own or use. Apple Macbook not turning on? Consult a message board. Android phone not working? Pull up the product FAQs online. TV picture fuzzy and hard to watch? Hop onto the manufacturers website and have a live chat troubleshooting session with a customer service representative. No longer getting a wi-fi signal from your router? Open a crowd service app on your phone and find a customer who wants to help other customers.

Nowadays, most people prefer to have quick answers and solutions to their technology problems. And they’d rather find those answers on their own without having to call multiple times or send emails to a company to get the help they need.

This is why the most successful companies have developed smart self-service options for their customers. Here’s how you can too.

Listen to Your Customers

Developing smart self-service options starts with listening to what your customers are saying about your business, products, and existing customer service. Paying attention to the current customer experience is a great way to do this. For example, if you monitor existing service channels–like social media–you can see what kinds of questions your customers ask the most, so you can tailor your self-service options to meet those needs. Knowing the customer journey and figuring out where you can implement customer self-service options each step of the journey is ideal.

Understand Customer Demographics

Perhaps taking a survey or reviewing customer data to learn about your customers will help you develop smart self-service options. Your customers average age and income will affect the kind of self-service options they need. For example, if your company sells smartphones to primarily young professionals who work for tech startups, but have low salaries, there’s a good chance that if you give them self-service options like FAQs or live chat, they’ll be able to figure out how to fix their phone themselves. On the other hand, if your customers are mostly retired, elderly, and financially settled, our Swisscom Friends survey revealed that the average age of our customers is 66 and 28% of customers don’t have the tech expertise to fix problems themselves; however,  92% do enjoy the option of getting help from crowd members so much they’d book a friend again.

Learn from Big Data for Self-Service

Monitoring Big Data will help you understand how you need to scale your customer service offerings. Do you have far more orders for your products around the winter holiday season than any other time of the year? Perhaps your customers would rather have access to an FAQ for problem solving or a tutorial video on how to set up the new tech gadget they received as a holiday gift, rather than spending time talking on the phone to a representative. Self-service options such as crowdsourced support are the most scalable ways to provide your customers with better customer service during peak times, since self-service does not require hiring and training extra staff during busy seasons. Additionally, using customer data can help you personalize service offerings and anticipate what services or products customers may need and when.

Have Customers Help Other Customers

Crowd support is a self-service option that has grown and changed in a variety of different ways. From the early days of Apple’s online forum where customers could post a problem they were having with an Apple product and receive replies with solutions from other customers to today where companies like Swisscom give customers the option to book a Swisscom Friend or Pro in their neighborhood to come fix an issue.  Crowdsourced service is scalable, flexible, and 92% of Swisscom Friends customers surveyed would recommend crowd service as a self-service option.

Omnichannel Service for Customer Engagement

So if you’ve gathered data and information on your customers, it’s important to properly store the knowledge you’ve learned. This enables you to help them no matter what self-service option or channel the customer decides to use. So if a customer chooses a self-service option, but for some reason cannot solve the problem themselves and decides to live chat or call into a customer service hotline, your representative will already know what kind of problem the customer is having. Furthermore, the customer will be happy that they don’t have to start all over explaining the issues and repeat themselves.

Learn how to crowdsource customer service

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