When a business has a customer service issue, customer self-service might just be the answer.

Here’s a common dilemma. Businesses must spend time and money guiding their customers on how to handle problems—most of which are usually very simple to solve. This is a frustrating experience for businesses, as it can seem to be an expensive waste of resources.

But according to Statista, a whopping 44% of US customers have stopped doing business with a company because of poor customer service. So despite the frustration and drain on resources, businesses can’t afford to skimp on good customer service. 

With good customer service being expensive, and bad customer service potentially more expensive, is there a way for businesses to resolve this dilemma and create a win-win customer service model that benefits everyone?

Solving the Dilemma: The Rise of Customer Self-Service

The answer to this riddle is customer self-service. By empowering customers to quickly and easily seek out solutions on their own, internal teams can focus their attention in other areas.

With 79% of U.S. consumers currently using online customer portals, it’s clear that the shift toward customer self-service is already happening—and it appears to be working. While 71% of U.S. customers contacted customer service in 2015, only 62% did the same in 2018.

So why are so many businesses jumping on the self-service bandwagon? Here are three key customer self-service benefits.

Customer Self-Service Benefit #1: Reduced Service Costs

A study by the Aberdeen Group, a company that analyzes B2B buyer behavior across 200+ sectors, found businesses that implemented some form of customer self-service saw service costs decrease by about 3% annually. Contrast this with a 0.7% annual increase in service costs for businesses that didn’t.

This might not seem like much at first glance, but keep in mind that this 3% decrease is per year, not an overall total. And in the long-term, that adds up.

Customer Self-Service Benefit #2: Higher Revenue

The next online customer portal benefit is increased revenue—but how? As customers are guided through your self-service framework, you can simultaneously target them with upsell and cross-sell offers. The Aberdeen Group study showed that additional selling opportunities resulted in 85% higher website conversion rates—10.2% for websites with self-service options versus 5.5% for those without.

In the world of conversion rates, that’s a massive, massive increase.

Customer Self-Service Benefit #3: A Better Customer Experience

Businesses that are reluctant to adopt the customer self-service model often fear it will come at the expense of the customer experience. They (rightfully) ask—will our customers be happy about this?

The study answers that question with a resounding yes. Companies with self-service programs had 68% better customer retention than those without. And where “customer effort scores” were recorded, the former displayed an 88% greater improvement in annual scores compared to the latter.

There are a few reasons for this. One is speed and convenience, especially when accessing self-service options through mobile devices. The self-service model also fits in well with the millennial ‘on-demand’ mindset—it’s right there whenever they need it. Second is the community aspect. People can solve each other’s problems by simply referring them to the relevant resource page—and feel good when they do it.

Biller Genie – Extending the Benefits of Customer Self-Service to Customer Payment

While some of the benefits of customer self-service, such as reduced costs, are self-evident, others are less so. By adding self-service into your business, not only will you be providing something your customers want, you’ll be increasing revenue as a result.

But there’s no reason to limit your business to only benefitting from self-service when it comes to customer support. What about customer payments—can your business reap those same benefits?

With Biller Genie, it can.

Our Branded Customer Portal allows you to give your customers a personal online portal for paying their invoices. It’s accessible 24/7 from any connected device and it securely stores your customers’ payment data so a few clicks is all it takes to settle outstanding invoices.It’s convenient, easy, and there’s no better way to encourage self-service from your customers.

Combine this with our powerful Automated Invoice Messenger—which frees you from all the busywork of sending and following up on invoicing—and you have the ultimate tool for saving time, cutting back on administrative expenses, and delivering a seamless customer service experience.

There’s a reason Biller Genie has won CPA Practice Advisor’s Technology Innovation Award, the Electronic Payment Association’s NexTen Award, and was recently accepted into the Money 20/20 Startup Academy.

Discover for yourself how easy it is to incorporate customer self-service into your business by trying  Biller Genie for free today.