The Measures That Matter Most For Customer Self-Service

When it comes to customer service, most people think of assisted service, the kind that puts a human being on the other end of the line to help you through your troubles. But for online businesses, assisted service options like email, live chat, and phone support have challenging ROI and leave customers frustrated. When you have to pay someone to provide customer service day-in and day-out, the costs add up. As a result, companies want to keep support costs down and are constantly measuring the effectiveness of their assisted service centers.

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Traditional measures for the effectiveness of assisted service are familiar. They include things like response time, time-to-resolution, resolution rate, and customer satisfaction. These are fine measures for assisted forms of customer service.

But the exciting thing for online businesses today is that customers are already immersed in an information-rich environment when they are on the web. Given the right tools, customers should therefore be able to resolve their own problems. This simple idea is the crux of web site self-service, where customers can utilize online resources to get the answers they need.

Self-service is a great concept. When customers can get answers on their own, companies save time and money. Plus, studies show that nearly 75% of customers want to self-serve, especially among Millennials. It’s faster and more convenient. No more waiting on the phone, in email, or in live chat.

But how should the effectiveness of self-service solutions be measured? (Hint: Nobody is doing it right today.)

Today’s Measures Don’t Tell You What You Care About

The most common customer self-service solutions today are “help islands.” These include standalone knowledge bases, FAQs, and forums. They are islands in the sense that they are separate from the pages of the web site they support. Presumably, it is on the pages of the actual site where customers’ questions arise, so customers have to find their way to the help island to begin scouring it for help. Sadly, very few customers ever bother doing so.

Besides help islands offering a poor customer experience, the measures these islands offer for their own effectiveness are woefully inadequate. That’s because they say nothing about the customer’s ultimate success on the main web site, which is what businesses actually care about. Without access to such knowledge, help islands can only report things like the average number of knowledge base articles visited, the length of time spent on each article, and whether an article was marked helpful or not. In short, the measures you can get about most self-service solutions today are measures that only tell you about the solution itself. But as a web site owner, that’s not what you primarily care about!

The Right Measures for Customer Self-Service

As a web site owner, what you really want to know is how your self-service solution affects your customers’ behavior on your main web site. For example, you care about whether your self-service solution:

  • Leads customers to successfully purchase products;
  • Prevents customers from having to send support emails;
  • Resolves customers’ frustration and confusion;
  • Takes a short or long time doing so.

In short, you want to know whether your customer self-service solution actuallyhelps your customers achieve their goals on your site.

Conventional self-service solutions have no idea about that because they are islands—they aren’t on your site!

AnswerDash as a Contextual Self-Service Solution

AnswerDash is a contextual self-service solution for web sites and web applications that resides on your site, wherever you want it, providing your customers with instant answers right within their existing customer experience. By being “contextual,” AnswerDash delivers answers to common questions without requiring your customers to leave the page they’re on. They stay in their existing context and get the answers they need at their point-of-action, where they can apply those answers and continue moving forward to achieve their goals.

Because it is on your actual site, AnswerDash provides measures of its performance that, as a web site owner, you actually care about. You learn, for example, how many customer support emails or live chats are deflected by AnswerDash’s self-service answers. You see AnswerDash’s effect on your sales conversion rate to know whether self-service answers are helping your customers successfully buy your products. You see which answers are most helpful at resolving your customers’ questions.

AnswerDash wants you to see these things because what you see will delight you. Typically, AnswerDash customers see 50% reductions in email support requests and even greater reductions in live chats. AnswerDash customers also typically see 10-30% increases in sales conversion rates.

Customer self-service is a hot new trend but the measures of its effectiveness need to be the measures businesses care about. As a contextual self-service solution, AnswerDash gives its customers the self-service measures that matter most to their bottom line.