Traditional customer service methods struggle to keep up with increasing customer demands, often resulting in longer response times, increased costs and customer dissatisfaction. Customers are now looking for self-service options to solve their problems themselves – self-service services in a sense. However, while 53% of businesses feel that their customers are very satisfied with their self-service options, only 15% of consumers share this sentiment.
Customer self-service tools empower customers to find solutions to their problems on their own, reducing the burden on customer service teams and improving overall customer satisfaction. In this article, we’ll dive into the top 7 customer self-service software tools.
Customer self-service software refers to digital tools and platforms that enable customers to find answers and solve their problems without human intervention. These solutions are often used by businesses to improve the customer service experience, reduce pressure on customer service representatives, and increase customer satisfaction.
Customer self-service solutions have different use cases depending on the specific needs and goals of the business and their customers, such as:
What are the key features of customer self-service tools?
1- Customer self-service portals
A customer self-service portal is a specialized website or part of an existing website that provides customers with personalized information and resources. It acts as a digital hub where customers can manage their interactions with the company at their own pace and convenience.
A self-service portal can enable multiple actions for customers, such as:
Figure 1: Customer self-service system on mobile app and PC
2- FAQ and knowledge base
These are detailed sections on a company’s website where users can find answers to frequently asked questions or explore tutorials and guides that help them understand a product or service. Furthermore, an Optimized FAQ or knowledge base can also improve a website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as they can provide answers to questions that people type into search engines, driving more organic traffic to the website.
A chatbot is an artificial intelligence-powered tool designed to communicate with humans in natural languages. These interactions can happen through messaging apps, websites, or mobile apps. Chatbots are commonly used in customer service environments to automate and simplify certain tasks.
In the context of customer self-service, chatbots can perform a variety of tasks. For example, they can:
- Answer frequently asked questions
- Help users navigate the site
- Provide product recommendations
- Support the payment process
- Help solve key problems.
4- Smart virtual assistants
An intelligent virtual assistant (IVA), an advanced form of artificial intelligence, can handle most customer interactions by itself. At the heart of these virtual assistants are two key machine learning elements: natural language understanding (NLU) and artificial emotional intelligence (AeI). As such, IVAs are adept at accurately deciphering user requests, even when faced with challenges such as sarcasm, typos, or inappropriate language (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Virtual assistants can understand user queries even if there are many spelling errors.
5- Interactive voice response (IVR) systems
These are telephone menu systems that use either speech recognition or touch keypad selection to navigate, manage and route calls without an operator. With an IVR, customers can access information, complete tasks, or even transact outside of normal business hours. Also, the IVR may provide pre-recorded information such as product details, service updates, FAQs, or account balances.
6- Forums and community platforms
These are online discussion sites where customers can interact with each other, share their experiences and provide solutions to common problems.
Customer self-service tools offer several benefits not only to businesses, but also to their customers themselves. Here are some of the main advantages:
Self-service tools can significantly speed up problem resolution. They eliminate the need for customer service representatives by giving them immediate access to information and solutions. Therefore, they reduce response times, which ultimately increases customer relationships and satisfaction.
Reduced support costs
By diverting a significant volume of inquiries that would otherwise require live agent interaction, self-service tools can dramatically reduce the overall cost of providing customer support.
Unlike a customer service team, self-service tools are available 24/7. They enable customers to find answers and solve problems whenever they want, regardless of business hours.
Many customers prefer to solve their own problems. Self-service tools empower customers by providing them with resources to resolve their issues without the need to contact the customer support team.
Self-service tools can easily handle a large volume of inquiries at once, something that would be incredibly difficult and resource-intensive for live support teams. This is especially useful for companies that deal with a large number of customer interactions.
Companies can glean valuable insights from self-service interactions to understand common customer problems that can be used to improve products, services, and the overall customer experience.
Because self-service resources are designed and maintained by the company, the information transmitted through these tools is usually consistent and reliable.
The 7 Best Customer Self-Service Programs
Based on the features we explained above, we list and compare the top 7 programs that offer customer self-service options. In selecting these platforms from a wide range of options, we focused on their company size, popularity, and software review platform ratings.
The table below lists these software solutions in terms of the features and criteria we have explained.
Transparency statement. AIMultiple serves multiple technology vendors such as Salesforce, which is why we place such vendors at the top of our vendor lists.
|software||Self-service portal||Knowledge base||Chatbots||Virtual assistant||IVR:||Forums/Community|
|Salesforce Service Cloud||Available||Available||Available||Available||Available||Available|
|Help the scout||N/A||Available||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
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