You have a problem, and you need to know what it is, how to fix it, and where you can find the solution. That simple description is what the self-service commerce sector is about, and business interaction has become a big focus for entrepreneurs, tech companies, and even financial service companies. The ultimate goal is to better serve customers and solve problems at the drop of a hat.
At its best, this type of service can quickly and efficiently solve customer problems. To get a better handle on how the self-service space is evolving, we recently put together a collection of how self-service support is chagning our clients’ businesses. With that in mind, here are Johnson’s predictions for the future of consumer self-service.
Demand for Business and Expert Content
One of the most promising parts of modern customer self-service is the ease in which customers can access highly-developed business and expert content. How customers discover how to solve their problems and know that they have accessed high-quality content is changing in accordance with the pace of change in business and the ways in which information and information technology are disrupting the way information is shared.
Rather than simply relying on an auto-populated search box, customers can seek out highly-scalable business and expert content both in the form of static, lightweight PDFs and e-books, as well as multimedia content of various kinds. And they can find such content not only through keyword searches but also through creating content that educating customers on what they need to consider.
Standalone Business-to-Business Content
For entrepreneurs, this rapid shift in content-customer interaction allows for more high-quality content to be delivered without requiring them to work through an intermediary sales or marketing lead or sales team. When the content, or the business that is going to deliver it, is more distributed across digital channels, the author’s responsibility is able to span across multiple channels.
The solution for this problem, and the one I expect to see grow most quickly, is the development of standalone content businesses that focus on the delivery of content on demand. Products that serve as a primary business unit, but with distinct independent products that aim at delivering content at a specific time and date for a particular customer. These standalone businesses can provide a true omnichannel experience for customers at any time of day or night, regardless of how they chose to consume content or when they happen to log in.
Empowerment Through a Social-Activation Approach
There is still a wide variety of interactions that businesses have with customers. Businesses have customer service representatives that can help them solve customer problems, knowledge workers who help customers find the answers to their problems, sales and marketing specialists who sell the best solutions to help them with their problems, and business managers who keep the company running. The vast majority of these interactions are fundamentally human, which could be an impediment in reaching customers.
Simplifying the interaction process by connecting customers to the resources that they need in a way that feels like it comes from a friend, and to the influencers and celebrities that they follow on social media, has proven to be immensely successful. Companies have found that increasing the usefulness of customer service reps, for example by having them respond to customers within milliseconds, has been extremely valuable in overcoming customer service bottlenecks. This influence in the form of virtual support teams and AI-assisted assistance has helped transform companies and their interactions with customers.
As the role of customer service representatives diminishes and the customer focuses more on self-service interaction, it is natural that businesses will look for ways to integrate into this change. Employees can do what customers can do, and such changes show that companies want to continue meeting the needs of customers for as long as they can, and that the employee-customer connection is at the core of what businesses want from their employees and their customers.
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