It would be an understatement to say the customer support services of today have changed. In our modern digital era, many customers would prefer to troubleshoot and solve an issue themselves than have to get in touch with a support agent over the phone or via email. The demand for self-service solutions as an alternative to traditional communication channels is growing—and they can benefit managed services providers (MSPs) too.
This demand makes it increasingly necessary for MSPs to consider implementing a customer portal that provides customers with free access to the resources needed to solve their issue themselves. To help your MSP understand what customer self-service portal software can do—and how to use it—this article will outline some of its key benefits.
Why do MSPs need a customer self-service platform?
We’ve mentioned that customers are increasingly interested in solving their own issues whenever possible, but the benefits go far beyond meeting this demand. To better understand the full range of benefits this can offer, here are 10 of the most common advantages a customer self-service portal can bring:
1. PROVIDES MULTIPLE OPTIONS FOR CUSTOMERS
When MSPs offer an organized and appropriately structured customer self-service portal, customers are less likely to become frustrated by the process of finding answers to their questions. An effective customer self-service platform gives customers access to solution articles, product feature announcements, FAQs, and much more in one centralized and easy-to-navigate location.
2. REDUCES TECHNICIAN WORKLOAD
By empowering customers with the knowledge they need to resolve minor issues themselves, MSPs can significantly reduce technician workload. When customers have access to clear and straightforward instructions, they can often save their own time by reducing the number of times they need to reach out to their MSP. This minimizes the number of tickets received by your help desk and allows technicians to focus their efforts on answering more complex queries.
3. INCLUDES A SEAMLESS SUPPORT OPTION
Good customer self-service portal software still allows users to seamlessly switch between self-service activities and contacting a support agent. If customers aren’t able to find what they need by themselves, they can create and submit a support request quickly and easily from within the same platform. This means that a customer self-service portal never has to be a dead end.
4. CAPTURES CUSTOMER INFORMATION
Implementing a customer self-service portal also means if these issues eventually need to be handled by a technician, the portal can still help you gather customer information relevant to the issues customers are experiencing. These insights make it easier for technicians to solve the issues at hand as quickly as possible. Once a ticket is created in a customer portal, ticket details will also give technicians context for any issues, which helps minimize unnecessary back and forth communications.
5. CREATES A COMMUNITY
By establishing a customer self-service portal, you are able to establish a community of engaged users who are often willing to support each other. Customer self-service portal software gives your customers a place where they can ask questions, share experiences, engage with like-minded people, and suggest ideas for resolution that remain accessible for future users who may run into similar issues.
6. EXTENDS YOUR BRAND
Some customer self-service portal products, including SolarWinds MSP Manager, allow you to implement a branded client portal. This allows you to extend your brand, keeping your business front of mind with customers at all times. Creating a seamless experience that makes customers feel like they’ve never left your website is critical to associating your brand with strong customer support.
7. OFFERS ACCESSIBILITY AND PORTABILITY
If your customers are away from their desk or aren’t able to make a phone call, having the option of a convenient self-service portal is extremely useful. Many customer self-service portal software tools come with a mobile application, meaning customers can access support from anywhere—a quality increasingly important as workforces become more distributed and remote.
8. COLLECTS INSIGHTS
This benefit goes hand in hand with creating a community of engaged users. Avid forum users are likely to become official sources of information for the wider community. These avid users often offer lasting insight, making feature requests and recommendations that can give companies invaluable insight into their customer base.
9. PAINTS YOUR BUSINESS AS INTELLIGENT AND HELPFUL
Many self-service platforms are able to provide intelligent suggestions to your customers when they begin the process of creating a support ticket. Based on the subject of their request, they will be given a number of options guiding them to relevant solution articles. This often empowers customers to solve simple issues themselves, helping customers avoid the need to wait on their MSPs for help.
10. ENABLES RESOURCE ANALYSIS
This may seem obvious, but a customer self-service platform can also give MSPs important insights into how well self-service resources are performing. Many platforms allow you to check article view count and how well individual resources have been received by readers based on upvotes and downvotes. These insights can help you understand common customer issues and ultimately help you produce better content.
Choosing the right customer self-service portal software
As these benefits demonstrate, a customer self-service platform can significantly improve an MSP’s operations and how effectively they support their customers. However, self-service isn’t the right option for all customer issues. To provide truly comprehensive customer services, a self-service portal needs to be accompanied by an intuitive client portal for customers to submit easy tickets for the issues they can’t resolve themselves. If you’re looking for a reliable and sophisticated help desk software that includes a customer portal for ticket submission, we recommend SolarWinds® MSP Manager.
This tool features a branded client portal that allows you to enter your company URL, add your logo, and tweak the settings of the design to align it with your company’s branding. Your customers are then able to create tickets from within the tool, skipping time-consuming phone calls and emails. From a single interface, they are able to input all the information technicians need to solve their issue. Customers are also able to easily view the status of their current tickets from within the portal, keeping them in the loop and saving you time otherwise spent updating them on progress.
SolarWinds MSP Manager doubles as a customer management platform, allowing you to store all customer knowledge in one place. You can store passwords, serial numbers, procedures, servers, expiration dates, networks, and asset information on each customer’s account. You can also store contact information, including title, name, phone number, and email. As an added bonus, MSP Manager also makes it possible to assign technicians to individual clients, helping ensure each ticket request is routed to the most suitable technician. Give MSP Manager a try free for 14 days.