By the end of 2020, Gartner predicts that 85% of all customer service interactions will start with self-service. In fact, many businesses are expecting to implement self-service portals within the next year.
But is self-service just a marketing hype? No. If digital self-service isn’t in the plan for improving customer experience, then business leaders will find themselves behind the curve.
Why Use a Self-Service Portal?
Self-service is the first step toward excellent digital customer experiences. Not only is self-service foundational for serving modern customer needs, but it is also key to decreasing cost-to-serve. Additionally, times of crisis expedite the need for digital and self-service capabilities in order to quickly meet the shifting needs of customers.
The benefits of successfully implementing a portal with self-service elements include:
- Decrease in number of support calls. Customers can easily find the answers they are looking for online, thus lowering the number of calls coming in.
- Decrease in response time. Since customers can quickly search and surface the information they need to, customer service reps can quickly handle more complicated interactions and questions instead of spending their time repeatedly answering the same questions.
- Decrease in total support costs. Maintaining self-service channels is cheaper than managing live support channels.
- Increase in total support volume handled. Self-service enables more customers to be served in a shorter time span.
- Increase in traffic. Having self-service establishes brand credibility and trust, so customers will view the portal as a useful tool and visit more frequently.
- Increase in customer satisfaction. By providing self-service, customers are able to select how they interact with the customers, thereby building an experience that they prefer.
Examples of Effective Self-Service Portals
Leaders around the world recognize the benefit of delivering self-service not only to lower the cost of customer service operations, but also to provide an engaging experience with customers that empowers and serves them in the way they prefer. Here are a few examples of how businesses have been leveraging their modern self-service portals.
Decreasing Support Calls: EATEL
EATEL, a US-based communications company that provides internet and phone services, built a responsive self-service customer portal to better support the needs of its residential and business customers. The launch of the new portal brought reduced customer service calls, improved accessibility through responsive design, decreased billing issues, and increased customer satisfaction.
More than 50% of calls coming into the residential call center were payment related. The user-guided self-service account management portal simplified interactions reduced these calls by 30%. Business customers love the control that they now have over contacts, permissions and more from their own login instead of calling in with each request.
Empowering Customers: VMware
As an industry leader in cloud infrastructure and IT solutions, VMware needed a user-friendly customer portal. Using Liferay, the new MyVMware is an integrated, account-based portal that allows customers to manage product license keys and support. Millions of users can search for information quicker, access self-service downloads and evaluations and enter multiple sites through a single account. The launch of the new portal has led to a decrease in the number of support calls and increase in satisfaction scores, due to enhanced usability and efficiency.
Providing Better Customer Experiences: Spire
Spire, the fifth largest publicly traded gas utility in the U.S., needed to integrate its two separate online account management websites to a single platform solution to improve their customer service experience. The self-service portal they launched successfully integrates with existing ERP systems, two payment processing systems, and two mobile workforce management systems. It also displays gas usage charts, enables online bill payment, and provides self-service tools for enrolling in payment arrangements, such as paperless billing. The My Account site is easy to use and responsive for all devices. After receiving this positive feedback from customers, Spire plans to introduce cutting-edge features such as real-time technician tracking and smart device integration in the near future.
These leaders are leveraging self-service to bring value to not only their customers but also to optimize their business operations.