If you're looking to decrease your customer support costs and give your customers better, faster issue resolution, you may want to look at increasing your self-service options.
SoftwareAdvice.com, a research site for knowledge management systems, recently conducted a survey of 170 customer service managers. The survey found that options like FAQs, knowledge bases, discussion forums, and other formats positively affect the quantity and resolution of first-line customer support.
Yes, customers still gravitate toward picking up the phone, but they don't really enjoy voicemail-based self service (probably because the reason they picked up the phone is that they didn't want to do self-service).
The chart below illustrates the specific positive impacts that self-service tools can have on customer support. It's important to consider, however, that unless you're tracking the performance of each tool, you won't have any idea of this impact.
If you're using a help desk platform like QuestionShark or others, be sure to build in a process of measurement on the back end. Establish the goal (decrease incoming voice calls? increase "resolved" questions?) and then routinely measure progress.
You might also consider using surveys as a tool to measure the effectiveness of your self-service options. Ask your customers if they are getting what they need!
If you're looking for ways to improve your online knowledge base, try this quick tip for making a non-boring, multi-media help site.
Have you implemented any self-service options on your website? Have they impacted your customer service department's effectiveness?