8 min read
There has been a monumental shift in the way customer service happens. The top companies in the world have set a new standard for what service and support can be, encouraging all others to follow in their footsteps. And this standard is self-service.
Self-service is a movement toward putting customers’ needs first. It empowers users with the tools to help themself throughout the entire buying journey. It turns purchasing a product into an educational and positive experience. Investing in self-service can bring substantial results to both your customer and company when done right.
But, to be successful, there are a lot of factors at play—from creating rich knowledge base content, to leveraging social media, to making it easily accessible by boosting it’s awareness for your customers, to shaping your customer’s preferences, to ensuring it’s internal success within your organization—just to name a few.
We know, that’s a lot. It sounds overwhelming, but self-service is an ever-evolving process that will produce some results right away, and continue to improve as you develop it. So, don’t get hung up on everything that needs to be done. Instead focus on obtainable goals, and what you want your company to become as a whole. To do that, let’s look at some of those examples of top companies setting high self-service standards, and see what they specifically are doing well to succeed in their customer care.
Before writing this article I asked my partner, a nursing student without any domain knowledge in Customer Service, who he thought had the best customer service in the world. Without even thinking, he responded Amazon. I believe most would respond the same way. For starters, they provide an extremely convenient-to-navigate help center, customizing information toward your specific item or problem, with the option for integrated search:
If you are searching for help with an Amazon brand product or service, you can narrow your search down even further:
If this navigation isn’t working for you, or you still aren’t finding what you need, they also offer a variety of contact options and loads of resources:
Now, let’s say you don’t have a question or issue, but just want to learn more about Amazon and everything they offer. Don’t worry, they also have a blog filled with rich and educational content for all different audiences.
Apple support is also killing the self-service game. For starters, their support page opens with an integrated search tool and personalized flow options for customers to click-through based on their question:
Underneath these options, they offer even more resources like a link to their support community, their youtube channel that offers educational videos, and their twitter handle, also offering helpful tips:
If this isn’t enough, they include an even more integrated journey to follow to find more support:
If you follow through the “Get Support” prompt, you will land on this page. Here you can narrow down your specific issue and Apple will provide you with the most personalized way to find your answer:
Spotify’s support center is so confident in how much they can provide that they actually don’t even offer an option to contact. This may seem bold and unusual, but let’s check out why they are so successful:
First off, you are greeted with a warm message asking how you can be helped. In addition to the prominent search, you can quickly access some of the most frequently asked questions. Knowledge articles are also organized well by topics making it easy to know where to go for account and subscription help. You can also conveniently find where to learn about the different features of their service:
And if reading isn’t your thing, their help center links to their Vimeo page that offers podcasts. These podcasts explore all different educational topics. And if you want to connect even more, they also provide their Spotify Community where thousands of live community members actively contribute content. Here, you can find all different resources like their help knowledge base, community blog, music chat, and more:
At first glance, Netflix’s Help Center appears to have a clean and simple design, but it definitely does a great job of answering customer questions. On the help center home page you can find the search, a large variety of knowledge base articles, and quick links to top processes (like reset password, the contact phone number, and the live-chat option). It is great to see it all put together on the same page, rather than spread into different website areas. If you choose to live chat, there is an option to narrow down what your issue is first:
When you choose to live chat, Netflix notifies you of the current wait times for the live agent and suggests some of the top articles to help you resolve your question or issue faster:
And if you choose to call Netflix, you will be offered an authenticated and more personal expedited experience:
Netflix's competitor, Hulu, also leverages great personalization techniques in their help center. To start, the help center first presents a welcoming message and prominent search, as well as categories of common useful knowledge base articles and escalation options. You can also login into your Hulu account to get additional and more personalized content:
If you click through “getting started” you are taken to a portal of relevant articles related to possible beginner questions and concerns:
If you click through the “contact us” option instead, you will be prompted through a flow that will gather your personalized information in order to present you with the best help options. It then will provide you with all of your different options and those that are most recommended for the issue you are experiencing:
It will also offer you the best channel for contact:
We also could not help but try HuluBot. Although it did not offer a way to ask questions, it offered a thoroughly guided experience to resolve some of the common troubleshooting questions and issues:
OpenTable has been on the rise, presenting restaurants around the world with the ability to offer their customers the option to book their reservations online. On their main website they offer top popular recommendations based on filters you enter. What’s most notable though, is their customized engine that finds the best match for you based on different options you choose, like the food you want to eat, the vibe of restaurant you are looking for, price range, group size, and more:
Aside from their main site features, they also offer ample content in their help center. Not only is the help center full of relevant information, but also filled with effective and appealing visuals of beautiful food, making you hungry at first glance. The content itself is full of these images as well, showing their users exactly how to do something with images of what their screen should look like.
It only makes sense that the biggest search engine in the world, Google, also utilizes a powerful search tool in the help center:
What’s great about their search is how, based on the subject you choose, an entire customized search engine is generated for your topic. Google has tons of products and services for both consumers and businesses. Yet, their help page is still quite simple to navigate. They present the most popular products to select from, and then you can click the arrow and see all of the various consumer and business solutions:
To make things even easier, their content is interactive and guided, allowing you the most customized and simple experience possible. If you do not reach your desired resolution, they also provide you with contact options:
And, if you’re not searching for a specific topic, they also offer a large variety of knowledge base articles on all different content, along with an educational blog page filled with up-to-date news:
Squarespace empowers people with creative ideas to succeed. Building your own website can be tricky and Squarespace makes it easy. It does an awesome job offering a ton of knowledge base content that’s conveniently accessible, engaging, and easy to understand. Everything is organized by topics and you can quickly access some of the most popular guides. If a search is how you prefer to find your information, they have you covered too with auto-suggested results.
But, if you can’t find the answer in their search, their webinars, community forum, videos, or blogs and guides, they still offer a way to contact customer support with customizable options to narrow down the issue you are experiencing. Before providing contact options, they offer you the most relevant resources as a last chance to find self-help material:
Mailchimp goes above and beyond in ensuring their customer’s success. To start, they provide a large library of guides and tutorials, along with help material categorized by topic:
The company also offers a variety of ways to find help and contact support. One way is how they give you the option of locating an “expert,” a Mailchimp partner who could help you create campaigns, design templates, and implement marketing strategies using the platform. If you are looking for support from the company however, you might need to upgrade to a paid plan to speak to a support agent. But in the meantime, you can still look through recommended self-help content to resolve issues and answer your questions on your own:
From Xbox, to Bing, to Office, Microsoft wears many hats. As a global company offering multiple software and technology products, their self-service must be able to answer a variety of complex questions and support a large influx of users at all times. Similar to Google’s support home page, you are presented with some of the most popular Microsoft products like Windows and Xbox first. You can visually recognize them immediately as they are represented by a logo of each product. You are also able to quickly access some helpful links and view top topics:
Samsung is one of the leading global consumer product and electronic companies. Samsung’s support home page is welcoming and visually engaging. It is well organized making it easy to know where to go if you are looking to get started with your product, need to troubleshoot an issue, register your product, learn about a warranty, or simply get in contact with support:
You can quickly navigate the product category and product that you need help with and land on a product support page that aggregates all resources for that specific topic:
Aside from all of the educational material, services, and communities they provide under “getting to know your product,” they also include an easy-to-navigate “contact us” option:
When it comes to support areas, Sony designed its support home page exceptionally well to allow customers to find everything they need in one place—from popular topics and product alerts to most common processes like product registration and repair. Users can quickly search or navigate by product type in order to locate the right content and information related to their specific product:
And if you need to contact support, based on the product you have, you will receive the best channels recommended for you as well as approximate response and wait times:
The strongest part about Facebook's help center might be how well it speaks to their brand. Facebook is all about providing people with the ability to connect with others. So, their help center does just that. While it does supply ample educational resources, what’s most unique is their help community. Here you can find other Facebook members joining conversations and helping each other solve common problems, speaking exactly to what Facebook is as a brand:
GoPro’s support page offers a few different powerful self-service features. First, they provide the option to include suggestions in your search to better aim you toward a helpful resource. They also feature personalizing flows you can click through to find support material on your exact device from fellow members of the community experiencing a similar issue. And lastly, they provide their method of contact in case you could not find an answer:
The strongest thing about Uber’s Help Center might just be the sheer volume of educational and resourceful content they provide. There is an article for just about everything under the sun, and they’re easy to find with the search tool and simple organization:
Another strong feature that Uber is utilizing is their in-app help convenience. Their help center is seamlessly integrated into their mobile app, where it is used most often. This allows users to do just about anything via self-service—from locating a lost item, to requesting a refund, to finding out about fees and charges, to anything else you can imagine—it’s all available right on your mobile device:
Ok, that was a ton of examples. It may seem like a lot to take in, so let’s cover some brief ideas of best practices that we can take away from what these companies are doing well:
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