Customer Experience Tools
A customer self-service portal allows customers to access information and perform routine tasks digitally without having to interact with an employee. Customers can find information, request services, register and resolve issues, such as updating account information or paying a bill. The most common portals are websites, applications and forums.
These portals bring two major benefits. They enhance the overall experience by allowing customers to directly manage their products when and where they want. In addition, they reduce providers’ customer service costs for activities such as contact centers and allow employees to focus on higher-value or more complex customer interactions.
Increasingly, traditionally high-touch or complex interactions, such as taking out a loan or mortgage, are being offered fully digitally, by leveraging artificial intelligence and automation. Such offerings can differentiate a company’s proposition as well as improve the cost structure and customer loyalty economics.
How customers use self-service portals
- Trouble shooting, issue resolution, incident reporting and service requests.
- Managing and updating accounts.
- Understanding and acquiring products and services.
- Treat the portal as an evolving application. Customer needs constantly shift, so take the time to dedicate sufficient resources and update the portal to serve customers in the best manner.
- Integrate context into the design and functions of the portal. The quicker you can connect customers to the information they need, the better. Build in an understanding of where customers have come from when they reach your portal, and provide them with relevant personalized information immediately. Use analytics to understand additional needs that may arise, so that you can tailor your customer’s digital journey. This can be done through dynamic recommendations, chatbots or more traditional information architecture.
- Use the power of the crowd. Many effective self-serve portals allow customers to interact with and help each other. This provides a broader perspective for users and builds a sense of community and belonging, which serves to increase retention. The company can moderate and respond directly to customers with official statements on key topics.
- Design for impact. Introducing a self-service portal hinges both on a robust plan to migrate customs and on a strong plan to manage the organizational changes involved.