Web self-service is the most widely used communication channel for customer service, surpassing the use of the voice channel for the first time.1 Not only is having a website in today’s marketplace a requirement, but your company’s website must also be an effective channel for handling customer service inquiries.Girl_using_phone_resized

Well-executed web self-service can offer tremendous benefits for customers, employees and organizations. Customers can get quick answers in the channel of their choice, employees spend less time repeating simple answers, and organizations can save money by leveraging a low-cost channel.

So, how can you be sure your website is as helpful as it needs to be? Customer expectations for web self-service have risen, and a page of static FAQs is not likely to be sufficient anymore. A few key points to consider:

  • Is your self-service site optimized for a variety of devices? More and more customers have a mobile-first mindset, so your services should be mobile- and tablet-enabled.
  • Do your customers have access to information from a variety of sources? From standard website content, to knowledge base articles, to community posts from peers, answers can come from several places and should all be considered.
  • Have you moved beyond search? While some customers are looking to search for answers, others may want to update their profile information, check the status of a case, or perform other tasks. Be sure your website offers the ability to take action—and not just search content.
  • What happens when a customer is unable to find what they need from self-service? Do you have a smooth escalation path from the self-service site to live chat, email or the phone? Does the agent who handles the assisted service session have access to the customer’s self-service information?

For more tips on how to improve your self-service site, or help plan your future self-service strategy, check out these Ten Key Points to Consider Before Implementing a Self-Service Solution.

1Forrester Research, Inc., Channel Management: Core To Your Customer Service Strategy, January 20, 2015