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How Self-Service Help Can Provide Great Customer Service

Kirsten Foon
Sr. Manager, Customer Programs

I’ll be honest. As someone who has used many different technologies over the course of my career, there’s nothing more frustrating than having a question mid-way through working on a project, and not being able to get an answer. And I’m impatient. I want an answer right away. I don’t want to wait on the line for 15 minutes to speak to someone. And I’m perfectly happy to be able to find the answers myself through a community site, chat, or the vendor’s support site – assuming they have the answers to my problem and I’m not taken down a rabbit hole.

It looks like I’m not the only one who thinks this way. Zendesk Research found that “As many as 67 percent of consumers prefer helping themselves to speaking with a customer service agent .... An overwhelming 91 percent in those studies also said they would use a company’s knowledge base if it was available and tailored to meet their needs.”

The emphasis here – “if it was available and tailored to meet their needs.” Self-service is becoming a very important and growing channel for vendors, but in order for it to be an effective channel, they need to do it right.

What does it take to make self-service help successful? Personally, I like options. Here are a few things companies should consider:

  1. A single site where customers can access information: It’s not always easy to know where to go to find the answers you’re looking for. As a customer, I don’t want to have to bookmark ten different pages and hope that one of those pages has the answer that I’m looking for.  Vendors would be wise to invest in federated search capabilities – the ability to simultaneously search multiple resources, while only asking the question in a single location.
  2.  Real-time chat: Sometimes when I find answers to my questions, that will lead me to more questions, and at that point, I think a conversation with someone would help clarify what I need. I appreciate having the option to chat with someone to help me work through my questions and get me get to my final destination .
  3. Online forms: Then there are those times when the answers that I need can wait a day or so and I don’t have the time to look for the information I need or sit on a chat. Having the ability to ask my question online and then have someone get back to me in a defined timeframe is also a great alternative because I know that it will get answered and it’s convenient to be able to ask my question on my own time.

The bottom line is that successful self-help requires options that meet customers’ needs. The answers have to be relevant, too. There’s no point in providing these options if the answers don’t help the customer.

Oracle just launched our new SaaS Support Services to provide you with even more channels to get help and be successful in using Oracle SaaS products. Find out more about the new offering, including the self-service options that are available.

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