How to Develop a Customer Self-Serve Portal

Posted / 02 October, 2021

Author / Enginess

How to Develop a Customer Self-Serve Portal

You may be asking yourself what is a self-serve portal? A self-serve portal gives customers the ability to help themselves when they require assistance.

Self-serve portals often do not need feedback from support personnel to help customers. Self-serve portals are valuable for IT support, legal services, human resources, etc. This omnichannel assistance method reduces inefficient silos, reduces wait times, and creates a better operational customer experience.

What to include in your Self-Serve Portal? (IT support example)

  • Self-help 
  • Issue logging (support assistance)
  • Status checking
  • Alerts of problems
  • Automated capabilities (ability to reset the password, etc.)
  • Chat options 
  • Peer-to-peer support
  • Ability to see IT asset information allowing self-audit 
  • Software downloads

The above examples can be supported by in-context help, otherwise known as artificial intelligence (AI). AI can replicate the above examples of portal operations for IT support to satisfy the self-serve needs of HR. For example:

  • Benefits/payroll
  • Planning
  • Sickness documentation
  • Recruitment
  • Hiring/firing employees

Additional Self-Serve Access Channels

New developments in technology support other self-serve channels that go beyond a portal. Examples of these include:

  • Chat Boxes/virtual agents
  • Autoresponder emailing 
  • Automated phone responses that provide solutions to customer issues
  • Voice-based help through Alexa, Google Home, etc. 

Non-Functional Features of a Self-Service Portal 

Some things to keep in mind when it comes to self-serve portals include 

  • Ease of use for employees
  • Ease of navigation (finding information when requesting help)
  • Flexibility (adjusting the portal to the business or organization’s requirements and making updates when appropriate)
  • Analytics to make better decisions
  • Mechanisms for feedback

How to Develop a Successful IT Self-Serve Portal

Recommendations in developing a successful IT self-serve portal include, but are not limited to, the following four bulleted points.

  • Engage your business and formulate expectations for the self-serve portal
  • Identify where self-service will best benefit your customers
  • Use consumer service experiences to develop an integration strategy 
  • Promote and incentivize the experience, so customers use the self-serving portal features

Step to Developing a Self-Serve Portal

 

Define your scope


Self-serve portals come in many forms. Define whether your portal needs to be simple or intricate. This will determine whether your portal will only generate responses to common questions or whether your portal will be robust and include things like discussion forums and threads. 

*Community portals are more complex and require a lot of work!

Assemble your content


The content within your portal needs to be constructed carefully. Create a content plan that organizes the relevance of the content. The FAQs are a good starting point because they are questions that arise all the time. 

Build your portal


There are two routes in building your self-serve portal. 

The first route includes using common tools like Zendesk. This is the fastest approach to building your portal, but this option could be more costly.

The second route includes building your portal yourself. Although, this can be quite time-consuming.

Promote


There’s no tangible way to promote a self-serve portal, so here are some tips to make sure customers are using it.

Links to the portal wherever possible
Portal links in email communication
Link to the portal on the website
Have customer marketing redirects to the portal 

Benefits of a Self-Serve Portal 

  • Improved customer/employee experience
  • Improved efficiency
  • Improved support availability
  • Eases service desk pressure
  • Cost-effective 

Wrap up:

Self-serve portals are better, faster and cheaper support systems. However, self-serve portals require maintenance attention. To ensure your portal adds value to the customer/employee experience, make updates constantly. 



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