Support Services: Developing Effective Self-Service Offerings and Strategies

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Technology has improved the types of self-service offersings that support service teams can offer to their customers, but too often, the types of self-service programs are not used correctly, or customers struggle to get their questions answered through self-service platforms. At this point, they either get frustrated and call their rep, or give up entirely. 

There needs to be a balance among your self-service offerings, allowing customers to get their own answers, when appropriate, or having a phone conversation or in-person interaction with them, when necessary. Can you differentiate when self-service offerings are appropriate, and, when they are apporpriate, are you tailoring self-service offerings that are designed for the needs of your customers?

Self-service programs are a smart investment, and in order to completely satisfy your customers, you must offer a suite of self-service options that meets their needs, are easy to use, and are within their capabilities.

Let’s explore how your organization can do this.

Get to Know Your Audience

How well do you know your customers? Do you understand their perceptions and misperceptions of self-service offerings? How well do they understand your product? How do they typically access your services? Your first step to identifying the most appropriate self-service options is to build a detailed profile of your customers. You can do this through customer surveys, and by monitoring the type of self-service offerings they currently use, and how frequently they use them. 

Divide Your Audience Into Segments

In typical audience segmentation, you would be looking at your relationship with the customer, the products the customer uses, and the industry connections. To evaluate appropriate self-service offerings, it’s valuable to do a segmentation exercise, but in a manner that will help you understand how often they will use self-service options, and how effective they will be when they use it. Here is a sample segmentation chart:

Self Service Offers

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Connect the Self-Service Options with the Appropriate Audience

After you’ve identified your audience segments, your next step is to formulate a way to engage your customers with your self-service tools. Build a variety of scenarios and your action plan, based on categories such as whether each customer is a novice or an expert with self-service tools, and if their propensity to use self-service tools is low or high. Here are some examples:

Portfolio of Self Services

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Self Service Portfolio Audience

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Allow Your Customers to Have the Best of Both Worlds: Self-Service Options and Personal Interaction

You can make self-service options accessible and enjoyable to use for your customers, and the best way to accomplish that is to survey your customers and understand their preferences. Then go through segmentation exercises so you can strategize how to respond to customers and guide them through the appropriate self-service choices. Finally, remember that regardless of what or how many self-service suites you offer, the best support services always offer personal guidance and give customers easy live-person access. Let your customer choose, and have confidence that whether they choose the self-service route or if they contact you directly, each experience will feel seamless.

About the Author

donna_webDonna Walker is the VP of Customer Experience Solutions at MHI Global, recognized as the authority in customer service, technical support, and telesales training. Donna has assumed the sales leadership and operational responsibilities for guiding the development and delivery of customer service, telephone sales, and field service training and consulting. Donna brings vast knowledge and expertise to this role, with more than 20 years of business experience and a strong track record of performance. MHI Global is a TSIA Program Alliance Partner.

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Topics: support, support services, self-service support


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