Time is a valuable commodity. No one wants to spend hours trying to answer a question or resolve an issue. As a result, self-service has become increasing important for today’s consumers. By 2020, Gartner predicts that a customer will manage 85% of their relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. Your Knowledge Management Solution (KMS) allows your employees to make more informed decisions, but it can also empower your customers to better serve themselves.

Going Do-It-Yourself

Almost two-thirds of customers prefer to use a company’s website for support, instead of a phone call, social media or live chats. Customers also want access to those answers quickly and easily. Unfortunately, over half of consumers say that the main reason they cannot resolve an issue on their own is because there is too little information online.

KMS is the backbone of your self-service portal and an opportunity to deliver a positive customer experience and increase customer satisfaction. Self-service provides the means for your customer to get the answers they want, when they want them. This access is critical when support representatives may not be available 24×7, or when different time zones create challenges.

You can turn those repetitive questions into a library of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), freeing your service technicians for more in-depth troubleshooting calls. How-to guides and videos can offer basic training on your products and services. Technical documentation, complemented with graphics and snapshots, provide greater insight. These options demonstrate a dedication to customer success.

Getting Expert Help

When all else fails, it’s time to ask for help. It’s important to allow consumers to get in touch with a live agent at any point along their self-service interaction and enable that interaction to happen within the existing channel. As with self-service, speed is essential. Consumer research found that 90% rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question.

You need to provide call center representatives with consistent, updated information across all departments. This information should build upon the documentation that is available to your customers on the self-service portal. A sophisticated KMS with discrete controls allows you to slice content and show different sections of the same document to different users. As an issue escalates, the higher levels of technical support have viewing rights to more in-depth responses to troubleshoot any given situation.

In addition, an easy-to-search database of knowledge articles, technical guides and videos helps support technicians offer faster resolutions, which means customers spend less time waiting for assistance. An index of past resolutions for similar tickets will help representatives resolve issues more effectively and increase “first time fix” rates. Almost 70% of consumers attribute good customer service to the quick resolution of their problems.

A Little Help Goes a Long Way

Allowing your customers to get answers quickly and accurately benefits everyone. Calls handled by support agents are many times more expensive than those resolved by the customers themselves. Another critical metric to track is the average number of support tickets that one technician can handle per day; the average is 21 tickets per day. Combine this datapoint with other metrics, such as average response time (7 hours and 4 minutes) and average time to resolution (3 days and 10 hours). Research has found that companies could see $1-3 million in annual savings on customer support costs by adding self-service.

Such averages suggest a clear case for making it easy for customers to help themselves with a customer self-service knowledge management system. By making it easier for your customers to find answers on their own, and providing fast, effective resolution when front-line staff are engaged, you build greater customer loyalty, which increases customer retention rates and leads to more purchases per customer, all while saving money.