Digital self-service is becoming the norm as customers increasingly expect effortless experiences at scale. Today, a growing number of customer service interactions begin with self-service–and for good reason. It improves experiences for both businesses and consumers.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about digital self-service in 2023.
What is digital self-service?
Digital self-service allows you to provide online support to your customers without requiring any help from a human agent. The most common types of digital self-service include:
Digital self-service adds control, simplicity, speed, and convenience to customer experiences. Studies show that customers would rather solve their issues themselves than speak with a customer service agent.
The growing demand for digital self-service
Even before the pandemic, 81% of all customers (across all industries) attempted to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative, and 90% of customers globally expect brands or organizations to have an online self-service customer support portal, according to this report from Microsoft.
And it’s not because they just want to handle things themselves, but rather because they want to get their issues solved quickly. Nearly 80% of consumers say that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.
While many companies are investing in cutting-edge technology to delight customers, they sometimes overlook what people value most in their customer experiences. All of the bells and whistles don’t matter much if speed, context, and conveniences are missing.
Important digital-self service statistics to know in 2023
We know that customers want fast, convenient, and effortless service. But just how high are these expectations? How do they relate specifically to digital-self service?
Let’s take a look at the numbers.
Customers expect fast responses
- 91% of consumers surveyed said that they would use a self-service portal if it was quicker at meeting their needs. (Freshworks)
- 47% of US online adults say they will abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question (Forrester).
- 52% of customers stopped buying from a company during the pandemic as a result of their response times and insensitive communications (Freshworks).
Effortless experiences are key to customer loyalty
- When customers experience high-effort issue resolutions, they are 96% more likely to be disloyal to brands and 81% more likely to share negative feedback to others, in turn risking a negative NPS. (Net Promoter Score) (Gartner).
- If customers have effortless customer service interactions, they are 94% more likely to repurchase the product or service and there’s an 88% probability of an increase in spending. (Gartner)
Customer service leaders are investing in digital self-service
- In the US, 78% of leaders are investing more in digital self-service, allowing customers to help themselves with self-help portals and AI-powered chatbots. (Freshworks)
- 65% of customer service decision-makers want to invest in chatbots to drive operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction. (Forrester)
Key benefits of digital-self service
Reduce customer service costs
Digital self-service reduces customer service costs by up to 75%. Forrester Research found that a live agent call can cost between $6-12, while a self-service interaction can cost as little as $0.25.
Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty
Digital self-service removes friction in customer service experiences. Reducing friction is proven to boost customer loyalty and drive purchases from returning customers.
Get better insights into the customer journey
Most digital self-service tools come with built-in analytics to help you better understand your customers. This will help you spot common pain points and identity issues that need to be addressed.
Free up human agents for moments that matter
When companies invest in self-service, they reduce pressure on their customer service teams. This means that human agents can focus on conversations that are likely to have a higher impact on customer satisfaction, instead of low-value, transactional queries.
Improve conversion rates and revenue
Digital self-service helps businesses overcome common sales objections and move customers through the purchase funnel. Well-designed self-service solutions are able to guide customers through decision-making processes and reduce abandonment rates.
Types of digital self-service solutions
It’s common for businesses to use a combination of digital self-service channels. The easier it is for customers to find the answers to their questions, the better.
Chatbots are one of the most popular digital self-service tools because they can be as simple or complex as you need them to be. They can get people fast, convenient answers to frequently asked questions, but they can also handle more complex processes.
For example, chatbots can integrate with order tracking systems to get people real-time updates about when their packages will be delivered. They can also integrate with popular messaging channels such as WhatsApp, making it even more convenient for the customer.
Self-service knowledge base
It’s a good practice to organize all of your customer service information into a central knowledge base. It’s likely that your customers have asked you the same questions over and over again, so collecting this information in one place is a valuable asset.
Knowledge bases or customer support portals are often searchable, making it easy for customers to find the information they need.
Chatbots and knowledge bases work well together, as chatbots can pull information about topics, products, and departments directly from the knowledge base. A great example of this is FAQ Chatbots.
User forums are a great way to lower customer service costs and increase customer engagement. It enables peer-to-peer self-service, where customers and customer service representatives can work together to solve problems.
User forums are an invaluable source of product feedback. Again, these community forums can be even more useful when combined with a knowledge base or chatbot solution.