Customer service, more than ever, has become increasingly important to all types of businesses. Any IT-enabled business model depends on support—whether it’s field service, managed service or internal IT support. With the increasing demand for tech support, there is an increase in the cost of support too. This is accounted in terms of additional staff, more man-hours spent on issues, expenditure on more tools and technology platforms to render support, etc.

Take for example the incident costs of assisted support in enterprises. According to TSIA Support Services benchmark data, incidents resolved via phone now average $510. Email incidents, with their back-and-forth conversations to gather additional data stretching out resolution times, now average close to $700.

 

In efforts to optimize costs, support organizations are keenly looking at customer self-service options which, in addition to reducing costs and service labor, also empowers the end-users to handle basic and common support request and issues on their own. In a social media survey by TSIA, there were more in favor of Web self-service than other channels of assisted support including community, phone, email, chat, etc.

  

The question that every support department is focused on is: “what is the most cost-effective means of achieving self-service, which is not resource-intensive on the support staff?”

 

KNOWLEDGE BASE, A COST-EFFECTIVE ONLINE SUPPORT CENTER FOR END-USERS

A popular channel for offering Web-based self-service to your customers is via a centralized knowledge base which is essentially a repository of common and recurring support incidents in the form of Q&A. Every knowledge base article is contributed by the support team. Their knowledge of handling incidents, resolving and troubleshooting problems are captured and documented so that customers can gain online access to these FAQs and tackle some basic issues/service requests by themselves.

 

The only investment that goes into creating a rich knowledge base is the knowledge contribution by the support staff, and some additional content curation for consistency and ease of use for end-users. But the ROI to this effect is immense in terms of cost and time savings for the support team.

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BENEFITS OF EMPLOYING A KNOWLEDGE BASE:

  • Reduction in number of service tickets created
  • End-users educated and empowered to handle common and recurring support requests by themselves
  • Cost and time savings for  the support team

 

KNOWLEDGE BASE, BEST SERVED WHEN INTEGRATED WITH THE HELP DESK SYSTEM

The help desk is anyway the central point of logging and tracking customer service requests and trouble tickets. It only makes logical sense to associate a knowledge base repository to the help desk which is accessible by IT technicians for capturing knowledge articles.

Once captured, these can now be served to the end-users on the help desk Web portal. Articles can be searched with keywords, or can be made to dynamically populate as users fill out the service request form. This makes it easy for your help desk customers as they can take the first step in handling their needs before the IT admin indulges and spends considerable time on common and recurring requests.

 

MEASURING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF SELF-SERVICE

  • Measure how many people are using the knowledge base Web self-service.
  • Conduct surveys and polls to find out whether they found it useful in terms of content and user experience
  • If the number of instances of self-service incidents by customers lead back to assisted support, then your self-service options are not very effective.

  

BEST PRACTICE: Review knowledge base content periodically and make sure the content is up to date and useful to customers.

 

Help your customers help themselves!