How To Drive Adoption Of Customer Self-Service

4 min read

We get it. Many of you had big plans for your self-service program, so you built a business case, got the project approved, built a great solution, and it was perfect! But when the big day came?—no big thank you, no real uptake among customers, no feedback, nothing.

To be effective, a self-service program has to include a plan to drive meaningful adoption, because, without it, no change happens.

The best way to ensure self-service will work is if your customers are aware of it, and aware of the ease it will provide them with. This article explores the different ways you can create awareness for your self-service, allowing it to be successful for your company and customer.

Make It Available Throughout Your Customer’s Journey

Creating awareness of your self-service is centered in making it available throughout your customer’s journey. This list outlines the recommendations we will cover in this article on how to do so:

  1. Provide relevant pre-purchase content on product pages and in the eStore.
  2. Include links to Getting Started content in the welcome email.
  3. Make help prominent in the header of the website.
  4. Provide easy help in-app help, on mobile, web, and within the customer portal.
  5. Integrate knowledge content into the site search.
  6. Print the link to the self-help on your product packaging, manuals, and getting started guides.
  7. Guide customers through self-help in the Contact Us process.
  8. Include a message notifying customers of the self-service on the phone channel.
  9. Include a link to help center in the profile of your social media channels.
  10. Ask agents to promote self-help with each interaction

1. Include It At The Point of Product Consideration

One of the best ways to help prospective customers decide to purchase your product or service is to surface relevant resources and content that could influence their decision right on the product pages or in the eStore. In addition to essential information like product details, specifications, price and customer reviews, it is a good idea to display content related to product compatibility, getting started, and how-to videos. Bringing the self-help content right on the product page reduces friction during the consideration phase and keeps customers from leaving the website to search for that information elsewhere. This also creates awareness about where to find information now, and in the future.

2. Include Getting Started Links In The Welcome Email

Chances are that when a customer places a new order, registers their product, or creates an account for the first time they receive a nice welcome email from you. To improve your self-service adoption, point your customers in the direction of the self-help from the get-go by including a link to your help content in your welcome emails. This allows first-time customers, or interested subscribers, to have easy access to self-service material. This not only increases their awareness of the content you provide, but also their chances of succeeding with their new product or service.

3. Feature Help In The Website Top Navigation Bar

Have you ever been on the website looking for help and couldn’t find where it’s located, so you resort to calling? Many organizations make a big mistake by not giving the help page enough prominence. As a result, they experience too many contacts that otherwise could be prevented. If you have a self-service help center available and want your customers to use it, then make it as easy as possible for your visitors to find it by including the link in the top navigation bar.

4. Go Beyond The Help Center

Self-service isn’t something that should just exist on your website. To help create awareness and drive adoption of self-service, make it accessible everywhere your customers need access to it—in your mobile or web app applications, within the customer portal, partner or distributor sites, and on social media (which we’ll get to later).

We think that one of the best examples of in-app help is  Uber. The ride-hailing company makes is it extremely easy to do just about everything via self-service, from figuring out extra charges and reporting problems with the trip to locating lost items and finding out your star rating - all conveniently accessible via the mobile app.

Uber GIF

5. Integrate Knowledge Content With The Site Search

Make sure that all of your self-help knowledge base articles and content are included in your main site search. This adds more convenience to anyone who goes on to your site searching for help, without actually needing to dig deep for their answers.

For example, Shure’s site search conveniently unifies and presents information for their products, product categories, and support content.

Shure help search self-service
Shure help search self-service

6. Include Self-Help Link on Printed Materials and Packaging

Whether it is product packaging, manual, or getting started guides included with your product, your customers will look here first for contact information. It might be a good idea to include your help center URL along with any other information that can create awareness among the customers on where to turn for answers.

7. Guide Customer Through Contact Us Process

When your customers choose the Contact Us process, it is helpful to guide them through self-help before allowing them to contact you. This could include a series of personalizing questions to better understand customer issues and presenting relevant content that may help them resolve their issues faster than contacting. Additionally, if the customer does end up contacting you, this will allow you to enrich your case data with the self-service information.

In the example below, you can see how Apple guides users through Contact Us by first having the customer choose the product, issue, or topic. Or, they can search for what they are looking for.

Apple Contact Us self-service

Then, Apple provides further contact channels and content that is most relevant and convenient for the personalized options the user chose in the step before.

Apple Contact Us self-service

8. Update IVR & Hold Messages

A great way to draw your customers toward self-service is by promoting it in places they currently seek for support. This means updating IVR and service hold messages with a brief introduction about the new way they can find self-help material. Make sure you are clear on where they can find this information—whether it is your website, new portal, or anything else. This will make those who are currently contacting you aware of the self-service opportunity, and hopefully, encourage them to choose it.

9. Include A Link In Your Social Media Accounts

Using social media for your customer service is a great strategy for not just improving service, but also increasing awareness of your self-help. An important way to achieve this is including a link to your help center in all of your social media accounts to easily guide your customers to the resources they need. This also can help ease the volume of contacts that come into your social media accounts with preventable questions.

10. Promote It Through Your Agents

Having your agents promote self-service during a phone call is great for getting the word out. It should only be pushed in appropriate situations, where the matter being discussed could have been resolved through a self-help experience without a phone call.

Teach your agents how to properly steer customers in the right direction by making it seem as though helping themself will be easier than continuing the conversation. For example, your agent could say: I can help you now, but it may be more convenient if you choose to login to the portal and follow the prompted steps. This allows the customer to be softly pushed into choosing self-service in that scenario, or in a future scenario where they need help again.

Another strategy can be having your agents outline the opportunity after reaching a resolution. This will build more trust in the customer and agent experience, which could make the customer more confident in listening to their advice. Hearing about self-service from a real human being, rather than an automated message, is a great way to remind people that this new service has their best interest at heart.

What’s Next?

A lot goes into driving adoption for your self-service. You understand how important investing in self-service is, but the next step of ensuring its success is just as important. Ensuring successful self-service is not just about driving adoption, but integrating it within your business. This means shifting your business values and strategies to shape your customer preferences from contacting, to self-serving.

David Hayden
Software entrepreneur who enjoys building products that empower business people to create and evolve enterprise applications without code.

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