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Best Practices, Customer Service, Thought Leadership

20 “Tweetable Tips” To Get You Started With Self-Service Support

In today’s world of speed, immediate solutions and interconnectivity, customers expect their questions to be resolved in a matter of hours. Fast-growing companies are feeling the brunt of these expectations as they try and meet the demand of their rapidly growing customer base with limited personnel. But there is a way to reduce incoming cases while keeping the customers happy: online self-service support.

If you’re in need of getting started with your self-service support campaign or just need to refresh it a little, check out 20 tips from some of the pros here at Oh and don’t just read them, share them with your network!

The Basics of Self-Service Support

Customers want to help themselves. They are more technically savvy with a shorter patience for customer support and have come to prefer solving their issues and answering their own questions.

  1. According to Forrester, 72% of customers prefer self-service to resolve their support issues
  2. Self-service support is the cheapest form of customer service at an average of 10 cents per interaction
  3. Online self-service or FAQs has grown in usage by customers from 57% to 67% between 2012 and 2013
  4. Our generation is fluent in the Web and appreciates the 24/7 convenience of a customer self-service site
  5. Case deflection is a major benefit as customers can resolve their questions before contacting support

Getting Started with Knowledge Base Content

A knowledge base is the most critical part of your online support center. However, everyone that has experience in customer service understands that creating knowledge base content is a daunting task. Endless Excel docs, ongoing customer interviews and especially hours upon hours of research and documentation. However, with a streamlined process and good management, it can become a little less painless.

  1. To get started with your knowledge base, curate your content thoughtfully and organize it clearly.
  2. When maintaining fresh, relevant content provide a feedback mechanism, (and listen to the feedback!!)
  3. Recognize the user; don’t bother them by collecting extraneous information as if they were strangers
  4. Review content frequently to make sure information is up to date and useful to customers
  5. Try out’s Labels to tag incoming repetitive customer questions and discover new KB articles

Online Support Center Layout Best Practices

The home page of your online support center is like the cover of a book. If you want customers to utilize your site and keep coming back, they must be presented with a layout that is easy to use and designed to match your brand. Consider the following points below to help you get started with the design of your online support center:

  1. Moderate forum discussions; it is important that the brand has a strong presence
  2. On your website provide a single entry point for help options, don’t confuse them with too many choices
  3. The most important feature is the search bar – keep it front and center, easy to find and easy to use
  4. Provide an easy and clear escalation path. Don’t make it difficult to contact you directly
  5. Design your support site to look like your company’s website for a consistent online experience

Drive Traffic to Your Self-Service Support Site

Online support centers are worthless if nobody is using them – that’s why you need to focus on driving traffic to your site. Not only that, if you’re not focusing on getting customers to your site, chances are you’re probably not thinking about self-service much to begin with. Once you have selected your customer support solution and created your content, it’s finally time to start driving customers there.

  1. Use links within the product that point to self-help choices, and keep that information current
  2. 50% of smartphone users would prefer to use a mobile self-service than call a customer support line
  3. Make sure to provide mobile self-help options
  4. Put your marketing hat on – add knowledge base articles to your company’s blog posts to drive awareness
  5. When responding to cases, provide link a to a KB article to drive awareness and better instruct 
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