With so much business taking place online, it’s essential for companies to have effective self-service support processes for customers. If something goes wrong and a customer needs to resolve an issue, then they need to be able to do so as quickly and intuitively as possible or you run the risk of that customer clicking on a competitor’s website. So, what do you need to have in place to ensure the customer can help themselves? Here’s our take on what you need to do.

1.       Be empathetic

Effective support starts with being empathetic. A relationship based on trust and credibility is at the heart of every effective support system and that requires empathy. In our everyday interactions, the way we demonstrate empathy is through mirroring one another’s language and behaviour. Friends talking together often find themselves simultaneously folding their arms or crossing their legs. And often they will repeat each other’s words and phrases to demonstrate that they have been listening and understand. In the world of business, the way to demonstrate empathy with consumers is also to mirror their language. Use the same words your customers do, and you will be building up that important trust and credibility, which are essential to providing the right level of support.

2.       Speak the same language

Use words and phrases that are relevant to the customer. The chances are that a frustrated customer in the middle of a problem will be using imprecise or messy terms when seeking a resolution. They certainly won’t be using technical jargon or corporate speak. It’s important, therefore, to look at your support systems from the perspective of the customer. Use tags and key words that reflect their language so that the customer can quickly and easily find the support they need.  

3.       Use simplified terms

This concept is closely related to speaking the same language; however, within a corporate environment we often develop unique terms and phrases, which actually mean very little outside the company bubble. So rather than including phrases like ‘official returns policy’ in your support systems, use the more everyday term ‘how to get my money back’, which the average customer is far more likely to use.

4.       Use the customer voice in everything you do

Once you’ve mastered the ability to speak the same language as your customers and have adapted your support processes accordingly, it may well be time to take things to the next level. Some businesses that have fully embraced the customer self-service approach have included the customer voice in everything they do. Search results and Q&As as well as self-help articles and blogs are written in the same simple to understand, conversational tone making it super easy for the customer to locate information about their issue and, more importantly, find a resolution.

Reviewing and revising your self-support systems to make them more customer focused is well worth the investment of time. Those companies that have already done so report increased brand loyalty and better self-service rates, so make sure your communication reflects the needs of the customer.