How Can Self-Service Reduce Support Tickets in E-commerce

In the world of e-commerce customer support, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by tickets. And it can be a nightmare.

Too many tickets + not enough agents to answer them = complete support overload.

On average, internal support teams receive 492 tickets each month. That’s more than one hundred tickets each week, or ~16 tickets each day. And that’s just the average. Your brand might be receiving a much higher number. WordPress handles more than 2,000 tickets every single day. When your support team is small, you might not be equipped to handle a high volume of tickets. But the answer isn’t always hiring more agents. It might be something as simple as a self-service.

If you’re overwhelmed by tickets, no matter the total number you’re receiving, self-service can help. Here’s how self-service can reduce support tickets. Self-service is all about making support answers easily accessible to customers so that they can find what they need when they need it, all without having to wait for a representative to get to their ticket.

Evolution of Self-service

Self-service consists of any activity where customers do part of the “work” themselves instead of relying on an employee to help them. While self-service might seem like a modern concept, it has been in existence since at least 1917 when Clarence Saunders obtained patents for a self-serve grocery store named Piggly Wiggly.

For the first time in retail, customers could pick out their own goods from the shelf instead of waiting for store clerks to get items for them.

retail self-service
Early days of retail supermarkets

This cut costs tremendously for Saunders because he no longer had to pay for multiple store clerks to assist shoppers. This savings in costs helped him lower his prices, which in turn helped his shoppers save big bucks. Now, more than one hundred years later, supermarkets still follow this same self-service model to some extent.

Think about it: if you’re in the store and only need a few items, do you wait in a regular checkout line or use the self-checkout to get out of the store more quickly? Chances are, you’d probably prefer to use the self-checkout.

Self-service is the “self-checkout” of customer service. It has become huge in the world of customer service for businesses in all industries. Why? It allows for smaller teams to help large customer bases and cut down on the number of tickets. In fact, cost reduction and call deflection are the top reasons why businesses say they choose self-service channels.

Tools, like knowledge bases and self-service portals, allow your customers to take matters into their own hands and solve support issues on their own terms (and in their own time). And they prefer self-service tools in comparison to traditional support methods. Research shows that most people would rather find answers to their questions on their own instead of contacting support because they can find immediate solutions. If you aren’t offering self-service tools, you’re not keeping your customers happy. So what are the leading self-service channels?

Popular Self-service Channels

The top online self-service tools are:

– Frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages

– Searchable knowledge bases

– Interactive voice response systems (IVR)

– Discussion forums

While these channels are the most popular, some self-service channels are more effective than others in specific industries. For example, customers seeking software support are more likely to look online for answers on how to use a tool, while customers seeking assistance in the finance world are more likely to call for answers about their money.

Self-service is Faster

In today’s society, people want answers immediately. And thanks to technology, they don’t have to search through encyclopedias to find the information they need. All it takes is a quick Google search. So why shouldn’t customer support be just as easy? Customers think it should.

33% of consumers say that they would recommend a brand to others if that brand provided a quick customer service response, even if the response wasn’t effective. And customers are four times more likely to buy from competitors due to service-related problems over price or product issues. So if you’re not offering self-service support options even if you have great products and prices, you could still lose precious customers (and precious revenue).

Knowledge Bases Offer Permanent Help

When it comes to customer support tickets, your team is forced to answer each query one by one. But with self-service, solutions are always there, and more than one person can view them at a time. Knowledge bases are simple for both agents and customers to use and navigate. With Freshdesk, populating a knowledge base is easy. Your unfinished knowledge base articles can even be saved to review and upload later.

support ticket reduction through self serviceAnd there’s no need for a software specialist when you need to update or change information in your knowledge base. Just edit your existing content and move on.

Company processes and policies change all of the time, no matter the industry you’re in. A knowledge base allows you to quickly update existing documents for customers and agents to access as things change. As your company grows and evolves, your knowledge base can grow and evolve with it. And your knowledge base can even serve as a staff training tool for new agents since they can use it to learn about the ins and outs of your brand and its processes.

Self-service Portals Offer Transparency

You should also consider self-service portals where customers can view the status of their current tickets. Sometimes, the cause of high ticket volumes can be due to customers who have already submitted tickets being unsure about the status of their query. Set up a self-service portal that allows these customers to check up on the status of their tickets. That way, they’ll always have a definite answer about where their ticket stands (and they won’t need to contact anyone to get it). You can customize how this portal looks to best suit your needs. Add your logos or company colors to make your self-service portal look like a true extension of your website.

Conclusion

Chances are, you and your support team have gotten flooded with tickets at one time or another. You might even be overwhelmed with tons of tickets right now. But the answer isn’t always hiring more customer support representatives. Self-service tools can help you get your tickets under control instead. If you need to lower your ticket volume in a pinch, while also improving customer satisfaction, add some self-service support options to your website today.