What’s the single most important thing to the success of your business?

Customers, of course. But not just any customer. Happy customers. They are loyal, stay with you longer, and make you profitable. But there’s a hurdle in making customers happy: Customers have become very demanding.

When customers need answers, assistance, and support, the number one thing they want from you is fast response times. How can you provide this and turn customers into happy customers? The self-service model.

Why a self-service model is good for your business

Customer self-service is providing customers access to resources that let them troubleshoot problems and answer questions on their own. Self-service allows you to provide online support to your customers without requiring any interaction with a representative from your company.

Self-service is no longer a “nice to have.” Customers like being in control, so self-service has become a necessity to providing a positive customer experience. In fact, it has become so important that 70% of customers now expect a company’s website to include a self-service application. In addition, 40% of consumers prefer self-service over human contact.

By planning a self-service model strategy and investing in tools such as online discussion forums, FAQs, knowledge centers, chatbots, and real-time tracking capabilities, service representatives no longer have to be the first port of call for customers. Customers are empowered to answer their questions and solve their problems, transforming them into happier customers.

Benefits of a self-service model

A self-service model can bring great value to your online business. Here are five of the most important reasons to consider implementing a self-service model or enhancing the self-service model you already have in place.

  1. Gives customers control over their experience

Offering a true customer-centered experience means giving your customers the ability to choose how they solve problems, rather than providing a one-size-fits-all solution in the form of call centers or live chat. Self-service strategies empower customers to take charge of their customer experience, which often forms repeat purchasing habits that increase customer lifetime value.

  1. Empowers customers to interact with your brand more

A self-service model can create a more high-quality brand interaction. The more information your customers have access to, the more opportunities there are for brand engagement. Self-service journeys take the customer across multiple touchpoints that deepen their brand knowledge.

  1. Increases revenue through additional touchpoints

As customers are guided through your self-service framework, you can simultaneously target them with upsell and cross-sell offers. A study by the Aberdeen Group found that additional selling opportunities, such as those that can be built into a self-service experience, resulted in 85% higher site conversion rates—10.2% for sites with self-service options versus 5.5% for those without.

  1. Collect valuable customer data

Every time your customer uses a self-service tool, be it a chatbot or a tracking link for their online order, you collect deep insights into customer behavior at each stage of their shopping experience. A self-service approach also makes it much easier to segment which website visitors have a higher intent of purchasing compared with those on which customers are just browsing, allowing you to nurture them with the appropriately targeted on-site content.

  1. Increases bandwidth of your customer care team

Customer care is easily one of the most important teams in eCommerce. Yet it’s also one of the most under-optimized. By embracing a self-service philosophy, you can free up your customer service representatives for customer interactions that truly demand their attention and give your customers quality information much faster.

The bottom line

While self-service models have been used for some time, customers expect it now and will even more in the future. The five ideas above highlight just a few of the benefits that a customer self-service model can have for your business.

A well-planned and executed self-service model for your online store will give you a competitive edge as your service becomes more efficient, leading to improved user experience, happier customers, improved brand loyalty, and increased conversions.