Incorporating self-service customer support into your strategy

The way that customers interact with organisations has changed dramatically over the last ten years. We have seen a shift from traditional communication like the telephone through to instant conversations in the form of messaging apps and social media. According to HubSpot, “90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question”, but sometimes a question can be answered without even needing to speak to a customer service advisor. This is where self-service customer support comes in.

What is “self-service” support?

Due to the modern consumer’s lack of patience when it comes to dealing with customer service teams, more are looking for touchless support to handle their queries. In fact, Hubspot has indicated that self-service will become an absolute necessity for successful customer support in 2020.

Self-service customer service statistics

Self-service customer service statistics (SuperOffice, 2020).

YouTube is now the second biggest search engine, next to Google. It is quickly becoming one of the go-to platforms to have questions answers, product reviews, installation guides and other troubleshooting. Your organisation could be missing out here if you’re not publishing your own content on YouTube so this is one self-service method our team would recommend.

Then there are chatbots and other forms of AI that allow customers to get “immediate” responses, without having to wait for a customer service agent to become available. More and more companies are incorporating chatbots into their multi-channel strategy, so this could be one area for you to investigate.

That being said, knowledge bases are incredibly popular for both B2B and B2C customers as it allows them to find the information they need, on-demand. It also helps the organisation to focus their time on more complex enquiries, saving their advisors from repeating the same information over and over again.

Customers prefer knowledge bases over all other self-service channels. (Forrester, 2018)

Knowledge bases might not be the right fit for every organisation, especially smaller ones, but something as simple as a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your website might be a great place to start.

What should a knowledge base look like?

There are a number of things to consider before populating your knowledge base. This includes the platform or tools to be used, internal architecture, user experience, design elements and even SEO, which you can read more about in this article: Optimising your knowledge base to drive traffic.

It’s important that your customers are able to find the information they are seeking quickly, easily and that the content they find is actually what they’re looking for!

The structure of your knowledge base articles should be clear, very specific and highly descriptive – especially for any instructional guides. Support this with images, screenshots and even video to ensure your customers leave the site feeling satisfied and armed with the information they needed.

Include links to other useful resources of a similar nature, ask for feedback at the end of the article in the form of a quick poll, and always give the option to reach out to a customer service representative if they haven’t been able to find the right answer.

This will enable you to track how successful your knowledge base is, where there are gaps in your content, and most importantly, keep your customers happy!

How to localise a knowledge base

As it’s highly likely that you will host your knowledge base online – usually as an extension of your website – it’s important to treat your knowledge base like any web localisation project.

You need to consider which content is most valuable for your international customers. Perhaps they ask different questions than that of your home market? Perhaps they prefer to watch instructional videos rather than read a long step-by-step guide? Using your own data and some market research will help you to narrow down the content and the preferred method of communication.

From here you’ll know whether you need to invest in:

  • Translation and localisation,
  • Transcreation, or
  • Content creation

for each of your target markets. If you’re not sure what the difference is between these three services you can learn more here.

Depending on what your findings show, you may be able to replicate your home market knowledge base as is or start from scratch by creating content intended specifically for your international customers.

On a final note, as we have seen, chatbots are becoming increasingly popular when it comes to customer service. When purely AI-driven, chatbots can leverage from knowledge bases, presenting essential information to the customer quickly and efficiently; ultimately continuing the self-service approach.

If you’re finding that your international buyers are interacting with your chatbot, then this is another area that you will want to localise in order to get the most out of your multilingual knowledge base. You can read more about chatbots by downloading this infographic.