Nothing kills a sale like putting an additional action between the decision and actually making the purchase. Once you’ve made a decision to buy something you want to be able to do just that - easily. It’s one of the main reasons why e-commerce continues to grow year over year.
Once you put an additional step in place - call a number, wait for opening hours, download this first - you’ve almost certainly lost, or at the very least, frustrated your customers. The same is true of those who need assistance, or a question answered before they proceed. If the solution is easy to access then a sale is still likely.
Hence the growing popularity of the self-service portal.
There are many advantages worth considering, both for those going to put self-service customer experience solutions in place, and for those who already have them in place and are wondering how to get more value from them.
1. Save Money, Generate More Revenue
According to Forrester Research, the cost of every self-serve interaction - where a customer uses online or mobile self-service solutions - is $1.00.
Compare that to solving a customer's problem over the phone: $33.00. Email isn’t much cheaper, at $20.00 per-interaction. There is no doubt, self-service solutions offer huge savings!
Additionally, a study by Gartner found that self-service solutions increased B2B sales by 41%, while B2C sales increased an impressive 72%.
2. More Convenient For Customers
For brands with customer facing websites, the mass initial adoption for self-service solutions started to take place in 2012, with 76% of retailers launching online solutions.
Being reliant on local call centers is expensive, and while it is possible to have customer service agents available 24/7, it is still more convenient for customers, and costs, for there to be fewer steps between wanting to purchase and being able to finish a sale.
3. Universally Accessible
Customers access the internet across a diverse range of devices and platforms. A Netbiscuits study found that “76 % of consumers across the globe will leave a mobile website if it’s not optimized for their device.”
The best self-service customer experience is one where it is a consistent experience no matter which channel, platform or device the customer is using.
4. Gain Greater ROI From Social Media
There is no greater way to link your social media strategy in with your customer acquisition channels than through self-service integration. Your customers can turn into your advocates at this touch point, because they’re clearly happy enough with what you sell to make a purchase.
This is also the best way to funnel them into future automated campaigns and collect more information, providing it is done within the framework of a positive customer journey.
5. It's Trending
Forrester Research found that web self-service usage has gone up from 67% in 2012 to 76% in 2014. According to the The Real Self-Service Economy Report, 40% of survey respondents said they prefer self-service solutions over human contact for their future contact with companies, and 70% expect a company website to include a self-service portal . This trend is set to continue into 2015 and beyond.
Your competitors are already making it easier for your customers to buy their products, it's about time you made it easier for your customers too. Self-service portals are the smart investment to make in 2015 and beyond.