Self-Service Portals: The Key to Empowering Customers and Improving Online Support

Help Desk Software / November 2021

Self-service tools enable customers to find solutions to their own problems. Customers can search self-service resources and log in to online portals. Essentially resolving issues without the need to contact a support agent. This helps to reduce the number of tickets generated for support teams, whilst improving customer satisfaction.

Help Desk Software allows businesses to easily create self-service portals. Consisting of useful resources such as knowledge base articles, FAQs, and forums. All in all, allowing them to provide 24/7 support to customers.

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The Importance of Customer Self-Service

A key factor in growing your business is being able to provide good customer service. Customer service protocols can be improved with several strategies and tools. Such as providing multiple channel support and interacting with customers on social media. As well as offering an omnichannel experience and proactive support with AI chatbots.

An important tool for improving customer service is an online self-service portal. By utilising help desk tools, you can build a self-service portal. It includes various forms of helpful resources for customers to browse. Using a self-service portal to improve your customer service tasks allows you to:

  • Improve customer retention rates
  • Grow your customer base
  • Increase revenue with up-selling
  • Reduce marketing costs with word-of-mouth marketing
  • Improve online brand presence

What Is a Self-Service Portal?

A self-service portal is an extension of a company’s customer support. It is an online library that provides resources to help customers solve issues independently. 70% of today’s customers would rather find solutions to problems themselves. As opposed to contacting a support team and communicating their issues via phone or email. Self-service tools can also be put in place for employees and internal end-users. Businesses can supply staff with dedicated logins to portals. Allowing them to access resources such as how-to guides and password reset protocols.

What Is Included in an Online Portal?

A self-service portal includes heaps of helpful information. It is a central place for customers to learn about a business’s products and services. Typically, a self-service portal allows customers to view, update, and submit help desk tickets. As well as access self-service resources such as:

  • Knowledge base articles
  • FAQs
  • Community forums
  • How-to guides
  • Video walkthroughs
  • Product manuals

Using Self-Service Knowledge Base Articles

A knowledge base sits at the very heart of a self-service portal. It is a digital library containing product, service, and topical information. The resources in a knowledge base allow customers to quickly find the answers they’re looking for. With 90% of customers expecting an immediate response to requests, a knowledge base is vital.

Customers prefer self-service help from a knowledge base

Source: Groovehq

Allowing customers to gain access to a knowledge base can provide several benefits. It enables them to solve issues without assistance. It allows for 24/7 customer support, which is useful when operating in different time zones. As well as provide proactive support that anticipates customer demands. Whilst also relieving the ticket load for support agents.

When building a self-service knowledge base, it’s important to include essential features. These help to improve the customer service experience and increase ticket resolve rates. Typical features include:

  • A way to contact support teams
  • How-to guides with video and image media
  • Detailed product/service manuals
  • FAQ sections
  • An easy to use ‘search’ function

Improve Support Team Productivity by Reducing Tickets

A key benefit of deploying an online self-service portal is improving your support team’s productivity. Helping resources help to gently deflect customers away from contacting support agents. This frees up agents to deal with more pressing matters and harder-to-solve requests. Enabling a low ticket volume with a high success rate.

Self-service tools also help save time when it comes to responding to repeated requests. If an agent gets asked the same questions, they can log the answer in a knowledge base. Meaning the customer can either find the answer independently or be quickly directed to it. The same goes for status updates regarding a user’s ticket. Instead of contacting an agent for updates, they can log in and check its real-time progress.

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Provide 24/7 Online Customer Support

An important part of increasing customer satisfaction (CSAT) is always being available. But, if you’re a small business or have a limited support team, this isn’t possible. Instead, support agents are typically only available between 9 and 5, Monday to Friday. That’s where self-service portals can help.

No matter what day of the week or time of day, a self-service portal is always accessible. This allows customers to get instant support without having to wait to talk to an agent. 24/7 self-service support has several benefits, including:

  • Providing support to different time zones
  • Offering knowledge base resources in different languages
  • Meeting customer expectations of on-demand support
  • Reducing ticket generation

Including in modern-day Help Desk Software solutions are live chat and chatbot tools. These are both great ways for customers to engage with support teams. But, they don’t necessarily have to be manned by agents. Meaning they can be used to provide out-of-hours support.

The benefits of using a self-service chatbot

Source: Drift 2018 State of Chatbots Report

An AI chatbot will proactively and automatically respond to messages containing keywords. Essentially following a predetermined set of rules that help respond to specific commands. When agents aren’t available, chatbots point users in the direction of self-service resources.