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Article 4 min read

Three things to consider when offering self-service

By Andrew Gori

Last updated March 16, 2022

The applications and benefits of customer self-service are vast, touching everything from global support to brand awareness. To help you understand just how important it is to properly execute, we asked our partners, who are experts in their respective fields, to weigh in on some the most important aspects of self-service.

1. What are the missed opportunities when companies don’t provide translated self-service options?

Rui Carvalho, Vice President of Operations at Unbabel

The truth is, if you’re not translating your self-service options you’re pretty much ignoring your international customers. It’s undeniably true that there’s a huge potential in self-service options for customer support. It’s cheap to implement and helpful to your customers. And if you think that 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative, it’s safe to say there’s a big advantage in going forward with do-it-yourself solutions.

However, what good does it do if your customers don’t understand what you’re saying? The whole point of having self-service options in the first place is to make it easier for your customers to find the information they’re looking for. But if they speak a different language they won’t get what they’re after. Unlike what most people think, in 2017 only 25% of internet users as a percentage of the world total were English speakers. If you’re communicating in English only you’re probably losing customers.

That means lower conversion rates, lower customer satisfaction, and less traffic overall to your website. It also means your self-service options are less efficient, resulting in more customer support enquiries, more time spent on each issue, and higher costs for your business. In the end, if you don’t translate your self-service options you’re missing the opportunity of making yourself understood by a global audience.

2. Why should a company focus on customising its help center theme?

Abdul Qabiz, Cofounder and Chief Technology Officer at Diziana

To make Zendesk Guide a cornerstone of self-service, and get most out of it, a company should consider customising its help-center theme for two main reasons:

The first is brand consistency. It’s important that users recognise the company’s brand and associate the self-service options they’re seeing with it. Providing high quality self-service options make the brand more trustworthy and dependable. And ultimately, brand visibility and marketing improve.

The second is an improved user-experience and usability. Different companies have different products and services, hence each knowledge-base might require different presentation style (layouts, navigations, menus, etc.) to allows customers find relevant and reliable information easily. Branded self-service also offers seamless integration with other services (in-house, hosted, and third-party).

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3. How important is search to the self-service customer experience?

Maxime Prades, vice president of product at Algolia

Search is the window to your customer service and the first element users are likely to interact with. They approach it with instant-result expectations set by Google and Amazon—just to, more often than not, experience disappointment. Many users use the call center after not finding what they were looking for. These frustrations lead to bad outcomes like low customer satisfaction.

This should not come as a surprise. In the world of customer experience, with shortening attention spans and increasing numbers of channels to choose from, time is the principal currency—Forrester research tells us that 66% of US adults value their time as the most important thing for good online customer experience.

Support teams should invest in good search technology, with elements like speed, typo tolerance, and great relevance a given. However, to get to a frictionless customer experience, great search is not enough: support teams must also invest in content.

A great search technology will serve wonders with great content; without it, it’s a cosmetic addition. On the flip side, well organised content and great search create a virtuous cycle: search allows support teams to leverage insights from search data (e.g., queries that return no result, top searches,) to improve relevance and content on an ongoing basis. Approaching search in such holistic manner, some of our customers have seen up to 30% decrease in support tickets.