Ten Best Practices for DIY Customer Service – Impact Blog!
Today, more than ever, consumers are asking for and using Do-It-Yourself (DIY) customer service options. It’s a trend fueled by a perfect storm of mobile technology, 24÷7÷365 connection, and busy lives. We avoid lines and hate to be “put on hold”. We want to check our accounts, buy products, and find answers to questions in a matter of seconds, anywhere, anytime.
DIY customer service is the natural extension of our connected culture. Studies show that 75% of consumers say self-service is a good idea, while 67% actually prefer it over speaking to an agent. 91% say they would use an online knowledge base if it were easy to find, convenient to use and applicable to their needs. But more important, almost half of US consumers say they are likely to abandon a purchase if they can’t find quick answers to their questions. For example, when it comes to travel, research indicates the top reasons travelers opt out of on an online booking transaction include the inability to make a specific request online and frustration with site performance.
Great DIY Customer Service: Easy to Find, Convenient and Applicable
So what makes good “self-service” when it comes to serving your customers? Here are 10 best practices to consider when developing your options.
- Anticipate customer wants and needs. Ask questions and listen. Take surveys and make changes. Follow social media and watch for trends. Walk in your customers’ shoes and look at your business they way they see it. It’s the only way to find out what’s working, what’s not, and what would make customers more satisfied.
- Make your Web search function easy to navigate. Whether people want to find a pick-up location, store hours, loan application, banking forms, return policy, check-out time—you name it—they should be able to locate your search function quickly and track down the information easily, even with reasonable typos!
- Know how your customers like to do business. Are they avid social media users? Do they use mobile aps (a majority of consumers now do!) Are they technically savvy? Or do they prefer human contact? Whatever DIY options you offer, be sure it works for your customers.
- 4. Provide online answers to common questions (FAQs). According to a Forrester Research report, 72% of US online consumers prefer to use a company’s website to get answers, rather than phone or email. Your recorded message can help direct callers online instead of holding for a live operator.
- Make the experience effortless. They want to make a return? Provide easy access to the return label, shipping address and any required forms, along with a phone number or chat option for further questions. Hotel guests arriving late? Provide a mobile auto-check-in option along with a list of late-night restaurants and transportation services near the hotel.
- Consistently monitor common search entries—words and phrases—that customers are using. Track which questions come up the most. How many pages are they searching before making a purchase? This will help you know if your online information is hitting the mark and what can be done to streamline search options.
- Make self-service is a choice, not a requirement. Never create a situation where the customer service agent says, “you have to do that online”. And always build escape routes into your DIY process. Always make it clear where the user can link for a live chat or call to speak with a human. We’ve all heard of those frightful, endless auto-response phone loops, so give customers a way out when they need it.
- Target a Win-Win approach. Originally, the self-service trend was intended to save businesses money. That’s OK, but DIY customer service options will be most financially successful when they actually improve the customer experience.
- Keep It Simple. If any process is too complicated or takes too long, consumers will become frustrated and most likely go elsewhere. This goes for IVR phone interactions, as well. If it takes more than three or four steps, you’re going to lose the sale. Don’t make consumers keep track of multiple choices and instructions on their way to a simple solution.
- Always have a human available. Sometimes the question just doesn’t fit the DIY model. Or a link is broken. Whatever the reason, knowledgeable, well-trained customer service agents should always be available to serve your customers.
DIY plays an important role in a comprehensive customer service program. So, get to know your customers and help them find answers to their questions in a way that best meets their lifestyle. It’s your ticket to even greater customer loyalty!