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Companies have been creating self-service web sites to drive clients to help themselves for both account and product support for years. There are various opinions and questions about support sites and their value to both the company and its clients. Some familiar questions you may have heard are as follows: Is it better to have clients call or help themselves? Does it really help the company save money? Would customers really use it? Do clients prefer to call? I’m here to tell you that it works and there’s a simple formula to create one at your company.
Pitney Bowes is a decade into its success with a support site. With many successes and lessons learned, Pitney Bowes is a great case study of an enterprise that has evolved its self-service program to meet the goals of both our business and our clients.
1. Alignment with call center operations and knowledge management is the key to success. Without your partners in lock step, a self-service strategy will fall short.
2. A global platform ensures consistency and is both reusable and scalable. Shared templates allow for increased time to marketing and global content management.
3. A consistent user experience design and SEO strategy is at the heart of ensuring that clients find the information they need to solve their problems.
4. An adoption plan that addresses changing business rules and processes, client communications and onboarding plans.
Although the steps look fairly simple, the tactics to support them can get complicated and fast. There are some key decisions that I’m working on that will influence the success of the support site:
- How do you measure the success of self service?
- Should we take the phone numbers off all our products and communications to force a drive to web?
- Should we force all our clients to create an online account as part of our adoption plan?
I’m interested for your opinions on how you answer these questions at your company. There may not be a one size fits all, but we can certainly discuss a number of options and alternatives that can help each of us to take a step forward in this space.