self-serve customer service

Wednesdays With Will: Self-Serve Customer Service

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
It’s amazing how an innovation such as the internet has had such a drastic effect on society. The two major impacts can be simplified to how we communicate with each other and how we seek and consume information. Just think about daily usage in your own life. If you don’t have an answer to a question it’s likely your first instinct is to look it up through an online search vs asking someone. This change in habit did not occur overnight but was definitely accelerated with accessibility to mobile internet devices (e.g. smartphones, tablets, etc.). Since this has become the new “normal” so why not nurture this behavior and augment its capabilities even further?
About a month ago, we discussed how using a knowledgebase system within your organization empowers your employees to accomplish tasks above their own capabilities. Having the answers they need at their fingertips is a time saver and greatly improves their efficiency. This is especially important for your service staff (e.g. customer service reps, field technicians, etc.) who are working directly with customers. The ability to dramatically cut resolution time directly affects potential profitability as well as customer satisfaction.   The case examples given last time were more focused on internal use. This week we are going to take it a step further and explore the benefits of a customer facing knowledgebase system.
We’ve established a shift is occurring in how your customers are seeking customer support for the products and services your company provides. Self-serve customer service is becoming the preferred method by your customers for answering a question or resolving a challenge. This is great for the organizations that have a customer facing knowledge base system in place. It gives the business a “first line of defense” for providing answers to questions that may be repetitive and fairly simple to answer but time consuming. Look at it as a pre-Tier 1 level of support or possibly a replacement for your current Tier 1 support. This increases the chances for first contact resolution and improved customer satisfaction.
From the customer’s perspective they are now able to receive consistent service across their preferred channel of communication (email, ticket, knowledgebase, chat, social, mobile, etc.). The customer service rep will have a single view of the customer across these channels. This is important for understanding the journey your customer has already gone through and what they have already tried themselves to resolve their challenge. Knowing this reduces the chance of customer frustration from having to repeat their information or current challenge multiple times. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this one time or another.
If your organization is using a customer relationship management (CRM) system, you should most definitely pair it with a knowledge base system. A little over 2 years ago, Microsoft acquired on of their partners, Parature, to integrate their knowledge base and customer services software (CSS) into their Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform. Doing so has enhanced the capabilities of both platforms for their clients. Are you ready to provide the next generation of customer service?  Here’s a short video about how it integrates and an example of how it works:
As always, I encourage you to reach out to me to discuss these topics in deeper detail. I hope you enjoyed and found this week’s article informative. If you’re interested in some how-to related CRM material, check out blogs by my colleague Ben Ward here. Till next time…
About the author:
Will has over 16 years of experience in business development, team management, and project management. Will has worked at Managed Solution for over four years and is currently advising businesses on best CRM practices and implementations. Will’s focus is on process improvement and analytics specializing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Will is a Microsoft Certified Professional, with certifications in Presales Technical Specialist – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Sales Specialist- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Application, Sales Specialist- Office 365, Sales Specialist- SMB Infrastructure and Sales Specialist- Datacenter.
For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.
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