How To Create, Design And Build A Successful Self-Service Customer Service Desk

Happy customers keep you in business.

But it’s not easy to keep customers happy.

In fact, it’s harder than ever to keep up with customer demand today. 

Customers today expect world-class service at all hours of the day, even on holidays.

The longer you take to respond, the more likely they are to just pack up and leave[1].

And there’s no shortage of other sellers waiting to accommodate their every whim.

Facing such incredible demands, it’s not hard to see why self-service customer service desks are popular today.

If you’re interested in creating a self-service portal for your business, this article is for you. 

I’ll cover some of the most important things you need to know about creating a high-quality self-service desk that’ll leave your customers happy while reducing your service requests at the same time.

Let’s begin.

First, gather your knowledge base.

The lifeblood of a self-service desk is its information. If you’ve been in business for any number of years, you already have this information even if it’s not written down. It lies in your support teams and in the most common queries they tackle. 

You need to gather everything your support teams have learned so far and create a knowledge base with that information.

It’s time to automate the process of solving customer queries so that you can start saving on time, money, and effort and direct work elsewhere so you can make more profit.

Master keywords.

Let’s say your customer is facing a problem with their smartphone app.

What words are they going to use to research their problem online?

This is the keyword you need to be aware of. Study the keywords your users use so that you’re familiar with the language that they use. Don’t think your work is done when you cover a single language, either. Depending on your customer base, you’re going to need to research common keywords used in several different languages at once.

These keywords are how you’re going to interact with your customer. It’s also the way you’re going to organize your self-service content so that it’s easy to navigate and make sense of.

Give them a simple interface.

Keep it simple. Your self-service desk shouldn’t be a complex maze that takes someone hours to find what they’re looking for. No service or knowledge on your service desk should be three clicks away from your main homepage. You’ll need to organize all the complex information you have into no more than three layers of recursion.

Logically group your topics and services together with the help of keywords. Use easy to understand categories so that users can understand things at a glance and know how to navigate.

Sometimes, less is more. And that definitely applies in this case.

If you have a company mascot, use them. Friendly and appealing mascots are great ways of introducing your customers to your portal. They increase engagement and breathe life into an otherwise dull and information-laden knowledge-base.

Leverage the power of communities.

You should never put all your eggs into one basket. Which is why you should integrate your knowledge-base with other communities. In these communities, your customers should be given the ability to ask questions, help others, and create bonds. 

Attaching a community to your knowledge-base breathes life into it. It’s also a source of non-stop content creation that you can channel back into your self-service desk.

This will increase the comprehensiveness of your self-service portal and help you resolve issues faster.

There are plenty of online communities to take inspiration from. Think of Quora, Stack Overflow, and Yahoo! Answers. Give your customers a central place to gather, ask questions and answer questions. There’s nothing wrong with letting your employees in on the fun as well. Have an internal knowledge-base for your employees, and an external knowledge-base for your customers. Eventually, you can combine them both to create a thoroughly comprehensive database that contains the answers to pretty much anything anyone related to your brand can think of.

As an extra bonus, communities give you a special, secret insight into what people are talking about. Take notice of this. Look at what people are talking about, what common problems everyone faces. This gives you insight into what you need to focus on, and where things are working well.
You’ll also find domain experts in your communities. Reward them with praise and admiration and they’ll contribute even more to your portal. 

Update your knowledge-base religiously.

Once you’ve finished creating your portal, you can’t just take it for granted. Just like a car needs a check-up from time to time, so too, does your knowledge base.

Update your portal with every new product release and update. Leaving your portal dormant makes search engines immediately down-rank your website in the search engine rankings. Your customers will also notice if a portal has been abandoned, and they’ll stop regarding it as a source of useful information.

Welcome feedback.

Here’s a simple way to get feedback: Introduce the knowledge-base to your employees and welcome their input. This is a quick way to make a lot of corrections and find out where your knowledge-base is lacking. The more diverse the employees you introduce it to, the better. Leave no department unturned.

Your employees are a hidden source of knowledge, as are your customers. 

Open up your website to outside visitors as well. Ask your customers to leave feedback on your articles and to rate the content. 

This lets you know what content needs to be improved, and what content is pulling its weight. Make sure to find good content and promote it so that your service requests drop even further.

Customers today prefer self-service over other forms of support. Empowering them with the tools they need to accomplish this can strengthen customer loyalty and create life-long customers.

When self-service is done right, your customer’s needs will be easier to meet than ever. And happy customers are what keep you in business.

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