How digital self-service can enhance customer experience?
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How digital self-service can enhance customer experience?

How digital self-service can enhance customer experience?

A self-service portal gives customers more power, choice, and convenience as well as improves their digital experience with the business

Gulf Business

In the last few years, the Middle East has seen an abundance of digital transformation across industries, accompanied by a change in customer behaviour; and this transformation has accelerated rapidly in the last year. From retail and healthcare to banking and financial services, enterprises are constantly adopting new digital channels. Customers are becoming increasingly self-sufficient and more empowered than ever with immediate access to information wherever they are.

Moreover, due to the sudden proliferation of digital customer-facing channels and touchpoints, organisations are struggling to meet the increasing demands of their customers. Therefore, strategic customer experience leaders are turning to self-service customer portals. These customer portals can fulfil the modern customer’s need for autonomy and decrease the amount of effort support teams are required to invest in each customer interaction.

Well-implemented digital self-service can provide long-term ROI, such as a decrease in the number of support calls, an increase in traffic, a decrease in response time, a reduction in total support costs, and an increase in customer satisfaction. Ultimately, an investment into self-service is an investment in customer experience.

Moreover, a self-service portal gives customers more power, choice, and convenience as well as improves their digital experience with the business.

Four ways companies can use self-service portals to improve customer experience

Self-service should be implemented based on organisational goals and customer needs. Before haphazardly adopting individual tactics, businesses must first determine the purpose of self-service and how it will impact the overall customer experience.

Here are four key strategies customer experience teams can utilise for their self-service customer portals:

Turn a cost-centre into a profit centre

According to Hubspot, 31 per cent of customer service professionals say that their department is viewed as a cost center. This figure has been increasing over the past few years. However, companies can turn customer service into a profit center by leveraging self-service to establish a competitive advantage and generate new revenue streams. For example, a leading telecommunications organisation was able to bring in four times more website traffic, which led to an increase in new customer sign-ups by five times and an increase in monthly revenue by seven times through its self-service customer portal.

Additionally, businesses can leverage self-service to increase revenue by offering new products and services through contextual suggestions based on machine learning.

Buyers should easily access a company’s website, quickly find what they need, and feel confident about their purchase. This streamlined process is all the more critical for B2B buyers, for whom buying is only a small fraction of their jobs.

Create a single support hub

Businesses can use self-service portals to streamline the customer experience by centralising knowledge in one location for all customer issues, account information, and tasks. By creating a self-service customer portal with FAQs, knowledge bases, chatbots, and virtual assistants, customers can go to a single digital destination to find the information they need.

Build communities

In some cases, self-service can develop a digital location where customers can help one another. In this strategy, companies create communities where customers can voluntarily answer one another’s questions and share knowledge. This leads to increased engagement and loyalty across channels. Additionally, businesses should consider providing self-service on external channels such as social media to engage customers wherever they are. Common digital self-service tactics like automated responses, message chatbots, and FAQs can be executed through these external channels.

Drive proactive responses

With data, businesses can use self-service as an active strategy rather than being reactive. Instead of waiting for customers to bring up their questions, use self-service to address customer issues proactively. Businesses can do this through predictive customer analytics, gathering insights into customer behavior and modeling potential customer behavior, or using data collected from IoT technologies to have real-time situational and contextual awareness.

Help customers help themselves

Consumers are moving towards a fully connected world enabled by technology. They demand immediacy, connectivity, and simplicity in every interaction on their buying journey. Companies that can provide relevant and agile customer experiences will be the ones that differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Most companies already have the knowledge and services in place to support self-service. They just need a focused strategy and the right technology that brings everything together in a customer-friendly way and delivers the best customer experience. By taking what already exists and integrating it into a unified customer portal, companies can create a superior self-service experience faster while setting themselves for future growth.

Moussalam Dalati is the general manager – Middle East at Liferay.

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