These days, in a world that is rapidly changing and is moving towards full automation and technological self-sufficiency everything evolves. Technologies change almost on a daily basis and sometimes customers have to adapt to the innovations or they will fall off the digital rollercoaster. But in most cases it is the exact opposite, the product must fit the customer needs and evolve with them. It concerns almost all industries, goods and services. It is the same with customer service. The expectations change with generations, habits and norms.
Self-service support has become usual in many companies and now customers demand that form of service. Data gathered by Capterra in 2016 revealed that 75% of customers want to solve product or service issues on their own without having to rely on an agent or manual customer service through telephone or email. The best way to help them find a self-service way to solve their problems is through an online customer portal.
Online customer portal brings all of the self-service options to one place. The platform provides information, documents and answers to many questions. Its functionalities depends on the industry, type of company and responsibilities. For example, a customer portal for a recruitment company may contain documents and applications, job offers etc. and for a property management company it may contain contacts, agreements and bills as well as the fault reporting system. All the information necessary for customers in one place that they can access any time. But there are more advantages and benefits:
In many cases, customers that don’t have their needs met leave in order to find somebody that will satisfy them. That is why you should listen to your customers and make them happy and according to Microsoft's 2016 Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report, 90% of customers worldwide expect businesses to provide online customer self-service portals. What is important, in the UK it has even higher priority because about 94% of respondents answered that they expect to have that type of service provided. Providing an online portal is responding to customer needs and it is important for all businesses. Satisfied customers may recommend a company to friends and family that leads to more business opportunities.
In the past, when a customer had a problem, needed a specific document or wanted to check the status of an open ticket they had to contact a member of the support team and wait for the response and instructions on what to do. Now customers have access to this information through the online customer portal on their own and have a sense of control over this information. Sometimes when professional help is needed, portals allow you to have a chat or conversation with the support team. It happens especially in B2B support software. It is highly helpful when the customer or a business is struggling with an urgent issue. Firstly they might look for the article with answers to the question but if it will take too much time or be of no effect they can chat with a qualified agent who will dispel the doubts and help in sudden cases. This way of solving problems is faster and more suitable for both sides.
To be sure that the self-service portal if efficient and does its job well the content needs to be accessible in a convenient way. If your key knowledge media is spread all over your website in different video explainers, articles and instructions, customers may have a problem to find the right answer. Online customer service collects all the data and files that might be helpful and valuable for the customers and stores them in one place to be accessible and visible for the person struggling with problems. The portal displays information in an intuitive way that is easy to understand. Less time wasted on looking for the answer means more satisfaction.
Finally, a brief overview of the benefits for the business that wants to increase the efficiency and keep the customer satisfaction on a high level. Online customer portals can be highly helpful in this field because of automation and self-service. Thanks to these portals, the number of questions to the support team is quite low because customers can find the answer on their own. That increases the efficiency of the support team and significantly reduces the workload. With extra time, your employees can perform different tasks, find new customers or take care of more difficult questions and issues.
To keep up with the pace of a changing world you must adapt the innovations. Online customer portal is a must-have in some of the industries and it will be even more important in the future. Give your customers space and let them solve their problems. There is nothing you can lose in this situation but remember to always make wise choices. And if you decide to modernise your software or application and add an online customer portal contact Headchannel and let’s talk about it.