Customer Self-Service Portals – The Key to a Connected World

self-service

Modern consumers expect personalised experience when they reach out to businesses. In order to cater to these modern customers; businesses are employing additional support staff to offer round-the-clock service. Smart businesses however are investing in self-service customer support channels in the form of FAQs, knowledge-base and interactive portals. Self-service customer support channels offer some distinct benefits to businesses and consumers.

Benefits of Self-Service Portals

By implementing a self-service support channel companies are not only reducing cost and increasing staff productivity but are also able to turn their loyal customers into business advocates. Let’s look at the direct benefits offered by the self-service customer support channel.

Increased Productivity & Cost Savings

Self-service customer support is generally used in conjunction with other channels of customer service. In addition to reducing the burden of voice, chat and in-person support channels; self-service enables consumers to resolve their issues on their own. It does not require a team of representatives to constantly monitor the system and/or handle customer queries.

With all minor issues handled by the portal; customer service representatives have more time to handle complex problems and offer personalised service. Overall, by implementing a self-service customer support system, organisations can resolve increasing enquiries with fewer staff leading to significant cost savings.

Engaged Customers become Business Advocates

The self-service portal is always available to handle and resolve consumer issues. Via this channel; organisations can engage with their customers answering their product/service related questions and resolving their issues according to the customer’s preference. By always keeping the dialog channels open, organisations are able to build a database of engaged and satisfied consumers that are more likely to turn into advocates for the business.

There are numerous indirect benefits to the business as well. Self-service portals can help businesses onboard and train new staff quickly, experience higher first-contact-resolution rates, help staff meet their KPIs, control the quality of service offered and also discover new upselling/cross-selling opportunities.

Challenges of Self-Service Support

Customer support is the first interaction consumers have with the company post the sale. The truth is customers no longer have the time to call and speak to a representative; they prefer a self-help portal that resolves their issues at their convenience. There are however three major challenges organisations need to tackle before deploying a self-service portal.

  • Lack of a self-service portal strategy: Prior to developing a self-service portal businesses need to have a well-defined strategy. The strategy needs to take into consideration the level of support that would be provided via this channel, how interactive the portal needs to be, at what stage the portal should direct the customer to an alternate service channel and the robustness of the search functionality within the portal. Businesses wishing to use the portal to upsell products/services need to factor this in their strategy.
  • Choosing the right technology: Once your organisation has defined the strategy and goal of the self-service customer portal; choosing the right platform is important as this technology is going to be the base of your portal. It is advisable to evaluate the features offered, its product roadmap and the frequency of updates.
  • Requires regular maintenance and updates: Incorrect or missing information in the database can render the portal ineffective. As a result the portals need to be monitored and updated with the answers for the type of questions customers are seeking. Similarly the software also needs to be updated with the security patches to safeguard company data keep hackers at bay.

Conclusion

Microsoft’s latest Dynamics 365 software offers an out-of-the-box customer self-service portal. Based on their strategy and goals; businesses can tailor and configure this system to develop a self-service help-desk for their customers. Promising 99.9% uptime and assuring regular product updates; the Dynamics 365 has unified ERP and CRM capabilities enabling users to design and develop intelligent business systems in the cloud.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand what they seek from your business. Customers generally expect excellent and timely service at their convenience. With Dynamics 365 customer self-service portal you are able to easily meet your customer expectations. Additionally the software’s rich analytics help you monitor your portal performance and make modifications to provide best-in-class support.

For questions about Dynamics 365 customer self-service portals and the impact they can have on your business; contact Empower IT today.