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Customer Self-Service Portal: Tips, Benefits, and Examples

Customer Self-Service Portal: Tips, Benefits, and Examples

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Would you rather solve your minor issues independently or wait for customer service representatives to solve them for you?

Businesses have made it easier for you to solve your support issues independently by developing customer self-service portals, which provide instant access to solutions.

According to a study conducted by Higher Logic, 77% of respondents have a positive perception of businesses that provide self-service options for customers needing assistance.

Furthermore, that same study found that 79% of respondents expect organizations to provide self-service support tools, enabling customers to find answers without contacting customer support directly.

For customer-centric businesses, providing a well-designed customer self-service portal is essential.

This blog explores the realm of customer self-service portals, which not only offer users flexibility, but also streamline customer interactions and enhance customer satisfaction.

self service portal

What is a self-service portal?

A self-service portal is an online platform or application that enables users to independently access information relevant to their problems without needing direct assistance from customer support representatives.

The main aim is to offer users a convenient and user-friendly interface that enhances their experience by granting them greater control and independence in their interactions with a specific service or organization.

In addition to allowing users to efficiently resolve their issues, significant time savings is enjoyed by both users and service providers.

Examples of customer self-service portals

Below are the key examples of the customer self-service portals for business to look into:

Knowledge base

This is a centralized database that contains comprehensive information about products and their use. It can be used by support teams, customers, or both.

High-end knowledge base software supports multiple languages, allowing users to translate articles into their preferred language for better understanding.

Different types of self-service resources you should include in your knowledge base are:

  • Database documents
  • User manuals
  • How-to videos
  • Troubleshooting guides
self-service portal
Knowledge Base Articles

Customer portal

A customer portal in the context of a customer self-service portal is an online hub where customers can independently manage their interactions with a business.

It’s one place for customers to find information, update account details, and perform various tasks without direct assistance.

The portal usually includes self-help resources, transaction history, and the ability to submit and track support requests.

Customizing the customer self-service portal’s appearance and features to meet user needs improves the overall user experience and friendliness.

Community forum

This is a platform where customers can discuss their experiences and work together to resolve issues.

Users can post their queries on community forums and receive responses from other customers and company experts.

In addition to being helpful, this type of customer self-service portal is highly effective in fostering a sense of community and brand loyalty.

Frequently asked questions

A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page in a customer self-service portal is a dedicated section that provides a list of concise answers to common queries.

Organizing information in an FAQ empowers customers to find solutions independently, reducing the need for direct support.

An FAQ page typically covers a wide range of topics, not just products and their use.

It usually includes information about account management, licensing, and any other relevant information that users often seek clarification about.

Some frequently asked questions include:

  • How do I get started with your product?
  • How do I reset a forgotten password?
  • “What is…” questions.
  • “How to create…” questions.

How to create a customer self-service portal

Here is a general overview of how to make a customer self-service portal effective and user-friendly:

Carry out a comprehensive study of client needs

This entails conducting a thorough analysis of customer needs, preferences, and pain points to identify the specific functionalities and features that should be incorporated into the portal.

Set up a search bar at the forefront

It is essential to have a search option on every page of your portal so that customers do not have to navigate back to the home page to look for information.

Additionally, the search bar should always be visible to customers; they shouldn’t have to go looking for it.

This will allow your consumers to browse through your website or knowledge base easily.

A search bar is the most effective tool for finding answers.

self-service portal software
Make Your Search Bar Visible to Customers

Link related articles

Linking related articles in a self-service customer portal enables customers to easily find the articles they’re looking for when they may not be sure how to describe or search for the problem.

By connecting related articles and documentation, customers can easily narrow down the topics they originally intended to look into, leading to a faster issue resolution.

Categorize resources

Organize your self-service portal into categories. This systematic arrangement will make it easy for customers to find content, saving them time.

If your self-software supports it, you can also tag resources to organize them in finer detail.

Additionally, categorizing your resources contributes to the overall organization of your website and prevents users from feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of information.

Categorize resources
Organize the Self-Service Portal into Different Categories

Allow ticket submission within the portal

By incorporating a ticketing system into the self-service platform, companies allow their customers to submit support tickets to support agents.

This allows customers to initiate problem resolution if they were unable to figure out their issue through the portal’s resources or just didn’t have time to search.

This integration not only enhances the customer experience, but also gives support teams an opportunity to increase their first-contact resolution rate.

Make your customer self-service platform friendly to all devices

When creating a self-help portal, ensure it functions properly on devices of all sizes and is accessible to users with different abilities.

Depending on the product, a mobile-first strategy for the self-service portal may be ideal.

If most customers use the product on their mobile devices, making self service portal easily accessible on mobile is essential because it eliminates the need for context switching.

Track key performance indicators

Monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs) enables the assessment of the overall effectiveness of your customer self-service portal.

You gain valuable insight into various aspects such as portal usage and customer satisfaction.

The following are some KPIs you can track to evaluate your self-service portal:

  • Ticket volume
  • Self-service success rate
  • Page views and duration

Update your self-service platform regularly

It is crucial to maintain an up-to-date platform as products and services change.

Businesses that provide current, accessible, and understandable information on product features and troubleshooting ensure their portal remains an invaluable resource for customers.

7 Great customer self-service portal solutions

Businesses must choose customer self-service portal software with features that best serve their customers.

Here are some of the best customer self-service solutions available today:

BoldDesk

BoldDesk is comprehensive help desk software that simplifies customer service with its large collection of features.

It includes automation features and powerful customization options, and it is a budget-friendly option for businesses.

The primary goals of BoldDesk are to help businesses manage support requests, facilitate collaboration between support agents and customers, and automate repetitive tasks, all of which improve the customer experience.

Users can create, assign, and track support tickets to provide customers timely and effective solutions.

 BoldDesk
BoldDesk Help Desk Software

With BoldDesk’s built-in knowledge base software you can organize articles on similar topics by creating various levels of categories and subcategories, or just reorder them using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

The Markdown editor emphasizes generating and coding documents; alternatively, the WYSIWYG editor allows authors who are more comfortable with Word-style work efficiently.

You can use both editors to add links, images, videos, code blocks, and other content to articles.

BoldDesk’s intuitive interface and robust functionality enable businesses to improve their customers’ satisfaction and enhance customer service operations.

Self service portal
BoldDesk Customer Self-Service Portal Software

Key features

Pricing

  • Starter: $10 per agent/month
  • Growth: $20 per agent/month
  • Enterprise: $40 per agent/month

Free trial duration: 15 days

Zendesk

Zendesk offers fast, AI-powered chatbots and user-friendly help center software that provide businesses with the necessary tools to get their customers the help they need.

customer self-service portal software
Zendesk Home Page

The adaptable self-service software is easy to keep consistent with your brand, and the analytics capabilities provide you with comprehensive data to improve your clients’ experiences.

Key features

  • Dashboards
  • Search system
  • Integration
  • Automation
  • Ticketing system

Pricing

  • Suite Team: $55 per agent/month
  • Suite Growth: $89 per agent/month
  • Suite Professional: $115 per agent/month

Free trial duration: 14 days

Document360

Document360 is software that allows you to create user manuals, product documentation, FAQ pages, and knowledge bases.

customer self-service portal
Document360 Home Page

It has a cutting-edge editor, a category manager, and a user-friendly search feature. You can even access previous versions of articles and undo modifications as needed.

Key features

  • Robust search
  • Ticket deflection system
  • Knowledge base
  • Knowledge management

Pricing

  • Standard: $149 per project/month
  • Professional: $299 per project/month
  • Business: $399 per project/month
  • Enterprise: $599 per project/month

Free trial duration: 14 days

Help Scout

Help Scout is a customer support platform that includes self-service features. Its Docs products allows organizations to create a knowledge base for rapidly accessible answers, and its Beacon product helps guide users to the information they need.

customer self service portal
Help Scout Home Page

Key features

  • Knowledge base
  • Knowledge management
  • Search feature

Pricing

  • Standard: $20 per user/month
  • Plus: $40 per user/month
  • Pro: $65 per user/month

Free trial duration: 15 days

Gorgias

Gorgias is an e-commerce help desk platform that prioritizes automation to promptly address client concerns, providing automatic answers to frequently asked questions such as order status and refunds.

what is a customer service portal
Gorgias Home Page

Key features

  • AI-enhanced communication
  • Knowledge base
  • App integration
  • Search system

Pricing

  • Basic: $50 per month
  • Pro: $300 per month
  • Advanced: $750 per month

Free trial duration: 7 days

HubSpot

HubSpot Service Hub offers versatile support features like live chat, a customer portal, and ticketing.

The knowledge base feature lets you store answers to frequently asked questions, and users can easily find solutions to their problems with an optimized search feature.

self-service portal software
HubSpot Home Page

Service Hub also facilitates teamwork with team management tools and video chat capabilities.

Key features

  • AI-powered enhancements
  • Knowledge base
  • Search feature

Pricing

  • Starter: $18 per month
  • Professional: $450 per month
  • Enterprise: $1,200 per month

Free trial duration: 14 days

Freshdesk

Freshdesk is praised for its intuitive interface and offers a robust self service portal with knowledge base management and automation features.

Customer self-service portal
Freshdesk Home Page

Key features

  • Search
  • Dashboards
  • Customization
  • Customer portal

Pricing

  • Growth: $15 per agent/month
  • Pro: $49 per agent/month
  • Enterprise:$79/user/month

Free trial : 14 days

Benefits of a self-service portal

What do businesses and customers stand to gain from self-service portal software? In this section, we will discuss some of its advantages.

Enhances agent productivity

With a self-service portal, customers tend to solve their problems independently, allowing support agents to spend their time on complex issues instead.

As a result, the support team’s productivity and efficiency significantly increase.

self service portal
Set Up a Self-Service Portal to Reduce Agent Workload

Improves customer satisfaction

Providing customers with a self-service portal can boost their satisfaction and prevent negative experiences.

It gives them a level of autonomy that isn’t possible when support is restricted to only being available from support agents.

Strengthens brand reputation

Self-service customer portals can help businesses make a good impression to potential customers and strengthen the brand’s reputation.

Empowering customers to solve their own problems shows that the business values its customers’ time.

Offers 24/7 support to customers

Small companies that are still growing often face the challenge of being able to staff enough support agents to provide support 24/7 in order to accommodate customers worldwide.

This can cause stress for clients who require immediate assistance.

self service portal
Provide 24/7 Self-Service Support

However, by implementing a customer self-service portal, customers can receive assistance around the clock.

They can quickly find answers to their questions by consulting knowledge-base articles or participating in forum discussions.

Helps educate customers

Self-service portals offer comprehensive information that when providing solutions to frequently asked questions. Clear solutions are often communicated with the use of:

  • Step-by-step instructions
  • How-to videos
  • Guides with screenshots, diagrams, and photos

Increases website traffic

By implementing search engine optimization strategies in the development of your knowledge base, customers can find the information they need more easily.

This has the added benefit of making your site appear higher in search results, driving more traffic to your webpages and increasing sales leads.

Unlock the potential of customer self-service

To provide your customers with the best possible support, it’s essential to give them the ability to resolve issues independently.

A customer self-service portal is an effective solution that ensures customers can receive assistance 24/7.

Not only does a self-service element save your business time and resources, but it also improves customer engagement and loyalty.

To see how BoldDesk can help your business create a self-service customer portal for faster issue resolution without bogging down your support team, book a live demo  or start a free trial. If you have any questions about the product and its capabilities, get in touch with the  BoldDesk support team.

What other insights would you like to know about with customer self-service portals? Leave your thoughts and recommendations in the comment section below.

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1 comment

  1. M.o.o.
    February 9, 2024 at 12:26 pm

    Very engaging and informative.

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