Customer Service Through Portals: The Future is Here

Customer Service Through Portals: The Future is Here

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We all have been there whenever we called an organization to solve our issue. In fact, according to a survey by ResearchNow, an average person spends 43 days on hold with automated customer service in their lifetime. So, it is unfortunate that we get into a state of delays and frustration.
However, this can definitely not be the case when we want to debit cash from our accounts. I can not remember a time when I visited the teller at the bank and not the ATM. We as consumers often try to avoid situations when we can not help ourselves. As per research by Zendesk, 67% of respondents prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. That is why companies are adopting self-service portals into their business.
They provide customers with instant access to information, allow personalization, save time and resources.

Important fact Sheet:

  • 3 out of 4 consumers choose to solve their customer service issues on their own.
  • 90% of consumers expect that an organization should offer a self-service customer support portal. Also, 60% of consumers have a favorable view of the brand if the self-service offering is mobile responsive.
  • 73% of consumers want to solve product/service issues on their own.
  • According to 91% of survey respondents, they would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs
  • Almost 75% of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails. Forrester estimates that unnecessary service costs more up to $22 million to online retailers due to channel escalation.

Here is why using a self-service portal is now vital for every business.

Reduces Customer Service Costs

The more customers start helping themselves, the lesser support tickets you will receive. This is one of the major changes companies notice after the customer support portal goes live. So, there is no need for investing more in customer service as your business grows.

Improve Agent Productivity

When the number of tickets decreases, agents and representatives can spend more time in activities that can expand the business. Spending a lot of time with simple inquiries such as “How do I create a new account” is no longer common because a self-service portal can answer these questions for most customers. So, with fewer tickets, agents can resolve incoming tickets faster as they don’t need to spend time on common requests. This can help them increase their overall productivity and personalize the experience they provide to customers.

Teach Customers New Skills

Portals can provide much value to customers by giving them the tools they will require to solve other similar issues in the future. You can provide detailed information beyond basics to customers when delivering solutions through portals. With step-by-step guides and how-to videos, you can make them more detailed and valuable with images, diagrams, and screenshots. The methods can be especially helpful for customers who need to try out your product/services with your visual support. You can also include hints, tips, and other agile practices to help customers know a company’s product deeply.

Boosts Site Traffic

Having a knowledge base with a self-service portal marks the image of your business as an information source, and authoritative in the industry. This, as a result, increases current or potential clients’ trust in the company with increased company’s credibility and brand visibility.
Other forms such as writers, bloggers can also share information via a self-service platform with forums or question/answer functionalities. They can primarily aim to share solutions about problems surrounding the product and increase visibility.
It ensures that customers can access all information at one place. The company can also leverage external customer service experts to contribute to the knowledge case by sharing the content in the form of a blog post or speaking on one of the forums. It helps alleviate organizational resources that would be necessary to deliver all the answers. It encompasses a variety of voices from different backgrounds.

Leverage Personalized Information

Personalization can become a powerful tool when used in a collaboration with a self-service portal. For example, whenever customers log in, you can address them by their name on the welcome screen. It can also keep a record of the product or services purchased by them and display the specific information that is relevant to them. This way, the clients will feel valued. It also ensures that the company learns about the problems and issues their customers experience.

Enables a Form of 24-hour Support

An online customer portal can be a great way to let your customers get the answers on their own at any given time. This is one of the biggest benefits of a self-service portal for customers. It also means that your agents will not have a long list of pending tickets.

Easier to Share and Display Visual Assets

With a self-service portal, you can not only provide answers to simple questions but also to questions that are more complex. You can easily walk customers through common issues and let them learn on their own by creating pages on your portal in the form of user guides with screenshots and videos. Overall this will also improve the user experience.

Brand your Business

After the initial investment, this can lead to direct savings of time and money. Most importantly, how your customers perceive the portal is important. With the B2B industry, a self-service portal can come across as a forward-thinking initiative giving you a competitive advantage.
To conclude, a customer self-service portal is a need of the hour because it makes working with your customers easier that too with lesser efforts. As it is always accessible, you get fewer incoming tickets, and your employees can spend more time on improving your customers’ overall journey. It can have a direct impact on the overall satisfaction of your customers with your business. It is definitely a value to businesses of any size and with proper implementation, it will definitely become a requirement for success.

Posted by Maulik Shah

Maulik Shah
Mr. Maulik Shah is the founder & CEO of CRMJetty, a hub of innovative customer relationship solutions, provides ready to CMS integrate portal solutions for various CRM, including affiliate portal, crm customer portal. Maulik is a tech enthusiast and writes about the various aspects of e-commerce technology.

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