Why Empowering Customers to Self-Serve Is the New Business Imperative

By Gal Oron, CEO, Zoomin

What do customers find even more frustrating than having to open a support ticket when they encounter an issue? That’s easy: waiting endlessly for a support agent to resolve their problem.

According to research by Zendesk, 73% of consumers view quick resolution of problems to be the most important characteristic of good customer service. Between work and family duties and the stress of living amid a global pandemic, customer patience is thinner than ever – which helps explain why more and more of them prefer to fix service issues on their own.

The Era of Self-Service Is Upon Us

Across the B2B and B2C markets, customers’ preference for self-service has become a demand. According to Microsoft, 86% of customers say that they expect a self-service option. McKinsey has also identified self-service as a critical priority for B2B businesses vying to attract and retain clients.

In the era of self-service, every business should take stock and ask themselves: Are we providing our customers with the tools and resources they need to solve problems on their own?

Indeed, most businesses could stand to improve their self-service capabilities – and there’s no better pathway for doing so than crafting best-in-class product content experiences.

The Content That Powers DIY

Done right, product content – such as documentation, instruction manuals, support articles, and so on – can equip each customer with the information they need to troubleshoot any problems they’re facing without having to submit a ticket and wait around for a response.

It’s to avoid precisely that kind of drudgery that 81% of consumers attempt to do it themselves before reaching out to customer support agents, according to the Harvard Business Review. But many of those same customers end up having to contact support centers anyway. That’s often because of product content that’s either unfindable or inconsistent, ultimately fostering a lack of customer confidence.

In a recent report compiled by Frost & Sullivan and my company, Zoomin, a staggering 84% of consumers said that they’d consider taking their business to another company if they encountered a poor product content experience. How can businesses avoid such a fate?

Getting Product Content Right

First, it’s essential to ensure that product content is readily accessible. Customers shouldn’t have to navigate a maze of irrelevant information before they get the answers they need.

No less important, companies should tap into the power of behavioral data around product content interactions to better understand what problems their customers are encountering and how they can curate content that will actually eliminate the most common pain points. This could entail a mix of customer surveys and data analytics, the latter being harnessed to measure the performance of product content and tailor it accordingly. Are many customers reaching out to customer support even though there’s already product documentation designed to answer their queries? That’s a tell-tale sign that the content isn’t doing its job and could stand to be improved. How many visits to the help site aren’t resulting in customers opening support tickets? If the figure is under 75%, the product content may be due for some fine-tuning.

A Win-Win-Win

By developing top-notch product content experiences, businesses will provide customers with the effortless, efficient experiences they crave and alleviate the burdens placed on customer support teams.

But it’s not only customers and overworked support employees who stand to gain when a business gets self-service right. The business itself also reaps rewards by reducing customer churn and attracting new business on account of a superior customer experience. It’s just that simple: Self-service is a win-win-win.