The customer experience is continuously evolving, with support becoming more personalized and hands-on than ever. Shoppers now look for and appreciate accessible self-service tools that put a lot of the power directly in their hands to get the information they need.
But how comprehensive do your customer self-service tools really need to be? Let’s take a look at the fundamentals of self-service, and the key channels or features you can use to provide a robust experience that connects your customers more deeply with your brand.
The Goal of Self-Service Tools
Self-service customer service uses automation to solve routine shopper requests. But the inherent problem with automation is the potential sacrifice of personalization, something shoppers now expect. Gladly’s 2022 Customer Expectations Report found that 66% of customers prefer brands that know them and can recommend things they would like.
So how can your support center offer both personalized support and self-service? Here are a few tools and technologies that can create a holistically personalized approach to service.
Must-Have Self-Service Tools
1. Informational chatbots
Informational chatbots are simple support automations that can be integrated into your site to answer the basic questions your brand commonly gets. This means preloading responses to FAQs, ideally through a centralized knowledge base. For example, Gladly’s informational chatbot, Sidekick, is an embedded UI element that allows customers to interact with a support team in real time.
Make sure whichever product you use avoids unnecessary friction in transferring channels. Gladly’s Customer Expectations Report found that 57% of consumers want an easy transition from a chatbot to a live agent, should it be necessary.
2. Action-oriented chatbots
When common FAQs aren’t enough, these more tactical chatbots provide quick response actions to help shoppers get to where they need to go even faster. This could mean help with anything from finding a product to completing a payment within the chat. In this example, Gladly’s Sidekick chat has been configured to offer Order Status, Store Locator, Returns and Exchanges, and Repairs as potential quick response actions.
3. Web request forms
Collecting first-party data is a key component to learning more about your shoppers. With automated web-request forms that embed into self-service chatbots, you can gather customer information, store and manage it locally, and use it to make more personalized recommendations to delight these shoppers.
4. Social messaging
Your social channels should be a healthy portion of your support center investment, particularly as younger generations use these outlets more and more. Within them, many offer branded, automated self-service chat that can act as an extension of your own chatbot.
5. Interactive voice response (IVR)
IVR is the perfect example of a self-service tool that lives beyond chat, helping manage the wave of customers contacting your brand over the phone. Just like your automated chatbots, your IVR should be able to answer common questions and even transition callers to a live agent seamlessly, ensuring no loss in the quality of the customer experience.
6. Mobile app integration
Your ecommerce company probably utilizes a mobile app as an extension of your brand experience. If so, make sure users can still access an in-app chat there as well, rather than confining this form of communication to just your website. Find a platform that integrates the chatbot into your mobile app experience and maintains the seamless transition to a live agent.
7. Appointments or callbacks
For both IVR and text-based channels, like SMS and email, automated text responses are essential for checking and confirming appointments as well as assuring customers that they’ll receive callbacks on previous requests.
The Right Platform for Self-Service Tools
A support platform like Gladly combines the efficiency of these self-service tools into a single, comprehensive, out-of-the-box solution. The platform also helps maintain personalization, regardless of the automation, ensuring the customer feels taken care of and appreciated on an individual level.
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