The UK is a nation of smartphone addicts. Deloitte's sixth annual Mobile Consumer Survey reveals that four out of five adults now own a smartphone, with one in three admitting to checking their phone in the middle of the night.

In this hyperconnected world, the face of customer service has changed. In the not-so-distant past, a friendly smile and a courteous manner formed the bedrock of customer care. Today, tech innovations have catapulted choice and convenience to the top of the list of what people care about.

At the same time, service-related customer expectations continue to grow. Normal business hours are no longer a thing, and customers demand 24/7 support. In this context, your business can’t afford not to offer a self-service solution.

Profit-boosting reasons why your business should embrace self-service support

It’s clear that consumers love self-service – but there’s also several very good profit-boosting reasons why this affection should be reciprocated by your business:

Self-service increases revenue

Many customers will pay more for convenience. The Harvard Business Review reported that for the privilege of skipping the queue, American fast food chain Taco Bell charges a 20% premium for orders made via its digital app. Self-service also reduces the number of frustrated customers, in turn increasing satisfaction rates, repeat orders and long-term revenue.

Self-service equals lower support costs

Customers who use online systems to help themselves don’t cost as much for businesses to support. Websites, mobile apps, and support portals are cheaper than brick-and-mortar storefronts and one-to-one assistance. As a result, your business’s overheads reduce at the same time as your customers’ satisfaction goes up.

Self-service allows for more efficient use of resources

Self-service helps to create efficiencies in your business’ customer support workload. By helping customers to help themselves, you don’t always need to provide one-on-one support for simple tasks. The upshot of this is that your sales and service reps can concentrate on providing support for complex inquiries that are likely to have a bigger impact on business’ bottom line.

How can your business offer better self-service support?

With the multiple and mutual benefits of self-service established, it’s logical to start thinking about how your business could do things better. Luckily, there are several assets and processes you can start implementing right now that will have an immediate effect.

Create a support portal

It’s crucial to take the time to understand your customer's pain points before creating content that solves their problems. Appropriate resources for support portals include FAQs, a knowledge base with detailed product information and step-by-step solutions for common problems. Creating a search bar, tagging articles and adding links from your website and social media channels to your support portal makes it easier for your customers to find the information they need.

Keep your support content up-to-date

Like the greatest masterpieces, a fully functioning support portal is never truly finished. Business and customer experiences are fluid, which means you need to keep a constant eye on how your customers’ needs change; run reports, review content and ask your customers how you can service them better. Reviewing your support offering regularly ensures you keep your ideas fresh and in line what your audience expects.

Take a video-first approach

Video is currently one of the hottest customer service trends. Generally, customers struggle reading through old-fashioned manuals when trying to fix a problem. Video tutorials, on the other hand, can condense complex ideas into simple show-and-tell explanations. Approximately 90% of the information our brains process is visual, so next time you’re updating your support portal, taking a video-first approach is recommended.

Optimize your support content for all devices

This article opened by outlining how mobile has guided consumer preference towards self-service. It stands to reason, then, that optimizing your support content for all devices is essential. As an absolute minimum, you need to make sure your site and complimentary support resources use responsive design, which adjusts content to the screen size it’s viewed on.

Is one-to-one support still needed?

Customers love using self-service for basic needs and information. However, for more complex problems, we discovered that 45% of people still believe calling a company in person is the fastest way to solve an issue. Although self-service has changed the role of customer support, a contact center and well-trained sales and service reps remain as important to success as ever.

To learn more about how NewVoiceMedia can help you provide a good customer experience across multiple channels, head to our ContactWorld for Service and ContactWorld for Sales pages. Or, to discover even more about taking your customer support strategy to the next level, take a look at our whitepapers.

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Nicola Brookes is the Communications Director at New Voice Media.