What is self-service support and why is it important?

In today’s digital landscape, there are two types of users. This first group are increasingly tech-savvy, autonomous, and impatient. The second group are tech novices, support dependent, and digitally inefficient. However, digital self-service is now common in most aspects of modern living, from the way people shop, eat, travel, and consume, so why not in the way we work? 

Let’s discuss self-service support for your business software.

What is self-service support?

Self-service support allows your users to find solutions to software and application issues with complete autonomy. It empowers users to locate the right resources to solve low-level support issues daily without any internal or external assistance. It can include self-service portals, electronic document management systems, chatbots, or knowledge bases.  

Low-level support request examples

Level 1: password resets, troubleshooting, printer configurations, operating system errors

Level 2: troubleshooting (escalation from level 1), software installations, back-end issues

Did you know? 63% of customers always or almost always start with a search on a company’s online resources when they have an issue.

(Zendesk, 2020)

The increasing value of self-service support

Why is self-service support important today? Including self-service in your combination of business support is essential to being both a digital workplace and a sustainable workplace of the future. While human support is still necessary, the value of a hybrid approach that includes self-support has increased for numerous reasons. 

1. Adapt to changing user behaviors

A huge part of business software sustainability depends on your response to evolving user behaviors. Users aren’t just ready for autonomy, but increasingly prefer self-service to resolve problems on their own, boost digital competence and reduce waiting time.

Did you know?  65% of customers use self-service channels before contacting an agent when trying to resolve an issue.

(Microsoft, 2020)

2. Improve the ROI of your software investments

Self-service support can considerably impact the ROI of your software investments. Consider the range of business software in your organization, including web-based, Saas, and in-house solutions. According to Productiv, large enterprises (10,000+ employees) averaged 364 tools, and small businesses (<500 employees) had 242 apps in 2021. Part of the increase in ROI comes from alleviating low level 1 and level 2 requests from your internal IT department. It relieves short-term pressure by freeing up space for more complex support requests. As a result, it reduces costs in the long term in areas such as IT support.

3. Promote agility across your organization

A pillar of any successful organization, self-service support helps promote agility. Being able to react and respond quickly to software issues promotes a more effective and productive work environment, increasing the autonomy of your users and company overall.

4. Access to support anywhere and at anytime

Since Covid-19 and the mass shift to hybrid and remote work, accessibility to software is paramount to the health of an organization. It includes the ability to access support anywhere and at any time. In addition to accessibility, working hours also changed. In one study, users worked between 15 and 20% more than pre-pandemic levels, indicating another incentive for self-service support, out-of-work hours, and emergencies.

In 2020, 68% of user support officers reported that they felt overwhelmed by their workload.

(Source: Zendesk)

How can self-service support benefit your organization?

Self-service support can be a one-stop-shop knowledge base for all your internal users. Successful end-user, self-service support in conjunction with other types of support benefits departments across your organization from the bottom up. 

1. Success begins with end-user autonomy

With self-service support, users can address and resolve support issues with complete autonomy creating a domino of positive effects. One tip is to think of your users as internal software customers. The benefits to end-users include:

  • Faster resolution time: Facilitate quicker resolution times and increased productivity.
  • User satisfaction: Boost user experience and user satisfaction companywide.
  • Autonomy: Instill confidence in user tools and less reliance on support teams
  • Confidence in their performance: Instill confidence in user performance.
  • Trust in company tools: Create trust in the tools and resources provided to fulfill their role. 
  • Reduce human error: Avoid human error with concise documentation and instructions.

According to the latest helpdesk ticketing research: The average ticket response time is 3 hours, 14 minutes, and 33 seconds.

(Source: Zendesk)

2. Relieve pressure from Support teams

Support teams are on the front line of internal technical support issues facing the entire organization. It means a constant flow of support tickets, calls, and emails.

  • Reduce requests: Reduce the pressure of low level 1 and level 2 support requests to free time for more complex support issues.
  • High volume periods: The IT department rolled out new internal software updates, creating a period of high volume requests. Self-service support can alleviate the strain.
  • Better productivity: Relieve support teams of repetitive and unchallenging low-level requests for more fulfilling projects.
  • After-hours support: Users are not exclusively active during working hours. Fill in these gaps with 24/7 self-service support, reducing a pile-up of requests and related costs.

39% of customers say they can resolve issues much quicker using self-service options than other customer service channels

(Source: Deconstructing Delight report, Freshworks)

3. Improve the bottom line of IT departments/CIO

  • Implement hybrid support: Create more efficient work processes across the IT and support departments.
  • Improve processes: Improve business processes throughout the organization. 
  • Facilitate the correct use of tools: Facilitate users with the best guidance to use tools correctly and with autonomy.
  • Measure ROI metrics: Self-service support provides measurable data on users pain points, trends, and opinions to help present both the quantitative and qualitative ROI of investments.

Save money on scaling support teams: Improve the bottom line of your IT department with self-service support that can grow with your organization, eliminating the need for more costly hires.

4. Enhance user satisfaction across the organization

  • Job satisfaction: Investment into any kind of educational initiative including training, onboarding, and support, is proven to enhance job satisfaction, creating a happier organization across the board.
  • Engagement: Self-service support is a kind of self-help that can motivate users to engage in their tasks rather than rely on external problem solvers.
  • Digital culture: Turning to digital solutions such as self-service support facilitates the importance of digital culture in the workplace, leaving traditional inefficient methods in the past.

🍋 Lemon Learning tip: implement sustainable hybrid support including self-service with a digital adoption platform

A digital adoption platform provides a hybrid approach to onboarding, training and support on any web based, SaaS or in-house tool. A DAP integrates with your existing software like a second skin, meaning users never have to leave the platform to seek guidance and support on low level requests. Through a series of interactive workflows, made up of guides, bite-size micro objectives and FAQs, users train and work simultaneously. 

🍋 Lemon Learning users observe up to 70% fewer support requests thanks to interactive support integrated into their software.

Receiving frequent, repetitive support requests on the same topics? Create a Support workflow your users can access 24/7! But that’s not all…

With Lemon Learning analytics, improve the added value of your software with real-time, in-depth, quantitative, and qualitative analytics on user performance. Leverage Support material analytics to improve your processes and increase ROI:

  • Monitor several projects at once
  • Intuitive dashboard overview
  • Library of interactive guides
  • Out of hours assistance
  • Customizable support
  • Tooltips 
  • Surveys

If you’d like to follow a real-life example, take a look at our case studies page. Alternatively, if you have any questions, get in touch!

Tags: Support

Sarah C

Sarah oversees all things inbound marketing, exploring the many business uses and topics surrounding digital adoption. Her previous experiences include B2C and product marketing in the social listening space, uncovering emerging industry trends.