Digital Communications Solutions for Customer Self-Service

With the right digital communications tools, customer self-service will become far easier. Before the advent of automation, customers had very few options for helping themselves. Whether finding information, lodging feedback or even making enquiries, the primary way for customers to get help was through traditional channels. In the digital era, automated digital communication tools have made it easier than ever for customers to get help without having to reach you directly through email or phone. Along with removing barriers to communication, self-service also increases the overall customer journey, adding many benefits. Few customers like to have to email or call when they are battling to find simple information.

Specific problems or questions can be addressed through customer care but a large majority of the time, the information customers are seeking is simple enough to not require direct contact. Added to this is the fact that many customers tend to have the same questions or needs. When your support team is spending a significant amount of time answering the same questions on a daily basis, it takes up time they can spend on more detailed support. Most things included within customer self-care are questions and enquiries that can be easily answered through automated platforms such as Grapevine Interactive. In this guide, we share some of the ways that you can help customers help themselves.

1. Auto-responders

Auto-responders are very useful for enquiries and lead generation. These can be done via numerous channels, including email, SMS and USSD. Automating the enquiry takes a big load off your marketing teams as well as your sales teams. Rather than individually answering to every single enquiry that is received through your website or email, you can use self-service to send automated messages that provide basic information that is frequently requested in enquiries. This type of message could include your rates and an introduction to your business. It could also provide ways to make contact for a personalised quote, link to your FAQ and provide the same basic information that would be sent in a non-automated response.

2. USSD

USSD is fast becoming one of the most effective tools within all types of digital communications. USSD helps to engage customers directly through their mobile device. Let’s say that your cloud software product business is looking for information on one of your products. They see a link on your website that encourages them to click to get answers. Your USSD messages will act like interactive automated SMS, giving customers options on how to get help. For example, product details can be assigned a number. When the customer clicks that number, they can see more choices, such as pricing. They can click another number to choose pricing options and then see a very quick overview on pricing or a link to your pricing page that have missed when browsing your website.

3. Knowledge base

Knowledge bases are a very efficient tool for businesses of all sizes. FAQ sections are especially useful. All too often, customers have the same questions – many that can be answered without a call or email to customer service. The more information you can give your customers, the easier it will be for them to find what they’re looking for and the less pressure you’ll put onto your customer support team. You can also link blog articles you have done that are relevant to common questions or information. The best way to create a good knowledge base is to first find out what customers are actually asking before you get started. You can use your own data from reviews and customer satisfaction surveys. You can get input from your support team to see which questions arise the most. You can also use searches to get keywords relating to your key services, products and industry. You could use tools that provide commonly asked questions across forums and other consumer sites.

4. Chatbots

Chatbots are very important for any digital communications strategy. These are designed to proactively help customers as soon as they arrive on your site. They can be programmed to be very simple and set to answer only specific questions. They can be more complex and use keywords to provide more detailed answers. For example, if you are looking for a specific product and ask the chatbot whether any are stock, the chatbot can search automatically through the store and link to your search feature to find the product. In the event that the chatbot is unable to help, additional options can be given. Customer care information can be displayed or the chatbot may ask if there are other product alternatives the customer may want to consider. When they are designed properly by an experienced digital communications expert, such as Grapevine Interactive, chatbots can be about as effective and interactive as a call centre agent.

5. Escalation

What happens when customers go through the self-service route and end up more frustrated after not finding what they need? What will you do if your self-service approach does not actually provide service the customer wants or expects? In some cases, self-service is simply not enough. This approach is made to address common questions. As such, it is not always the ideal solution for every single customer. In this case, customers will want to speak to someone directly rather than trying to deal with automated help tools that cannot give them specific answers. An escalation option helps to prevent this from becoming a problem, by offering a way to fast-track urgent issues automatically. This will allow customers to get help without them having to make calls or try and contact support. Instead, they will be linked to a support team agent and dealt with in person rather than via chat or other self-service channels.

At Grapevine Interactive, we offer a wide range of integrated tools that simplify customer self-service and help you save time and effort. Get in touch with us today to find out more about our comprehensive digital communications tools that help customers get the help they need.

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