Self-service is sexy: What’s so appealing about a knowledge base
by Marybeth Alexander

Self-service is sexy: What’s so appealing about a knowledge base

Sexy isn’t the first word most people would use to describe online knowledge bases. However, much like mustaches, neon colors, and high-waisted pants, knowledge bases are making a come back whether you like it or not.

Many people even say that the future of customer service is self-service. In order to meet the rising demand for online self-service, companies will have a renewed focus on their knowledge base and self-help customer experience.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 10 statistics that show how sexy self-service and your online knowledge base can truly be.

1. 91% of consumers say they would use a single, online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs (Amdocs)

9 out of 10 consumers would use your self-service if you made it available and personalized it to meet their needs. This means that 9 out of 10 people are willing to forgo the support call, the email, the live chat, and the social media queries to help themselves first. As customer service and support is a large cost of doing business, providing an online knowledge base just makes sense for the bottom line.

Additionally, great customer service is about finding out what the customer wants, getting it for them (accurately, politely, and enthusiastically of course!), and going the extra mile. If 91% of customers would use self-service, shouldn’t you provide that for them? It’s a win-win situation for you and the customers. And that’s sexy.

2. 90% of consumers will always check a website first before emailing or calling you (Synthetix)

If case that first statistic was in doubt, 9 out of 10 consumers actually do check your website first before emailing or calling you. And a great customer experience would be having that information available for them where they want it – on your website. Less customer effort = happier customers!

In case you needed any more push to make your knowledge base available on your website, more than 25% of users that leave websites say they do so because they can’t find the information they want in the first minute. Not only do you need to have the information available, it needs to be easy to find.

Forrester estimates that an average of $22 million is spent in unnecessary service costs due to to channel escalations, meaning that when your customers can’t self-serve it costs you money. Not to mention the money you lose when people don’t bother to escalate and just abandon your site.

3. 75% of surveyed consumers said they would prefer to use online self-service over a call center due to its speed, accuracy and convenience (Amdocs)

I’m amazed that so many consumers still want to use the phone, but the data is showing that more and more people desire online self-service. If fact, there was a 12% rise in web self-service over the last year (Forrester).

And I’m definitely in this boat. One of the most inconvenient things you can do is ask me to call someone. I favor all food delivery that allows me to order online, as well as all products that provide me with great self-service options. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

If your customers would prefer to self-serve and self-service helps you scale your support costs, what’s holding you back?!

4. 70% expect a company website to include a self-service application (The Real Self-Service Economy)

Not only would your customers prefer to self-serve, many of them expect to be able to do so. In order to stay in business, most of us need to at least meet customer expectations. And if 7 out of 10 people expect self-service, it’s just something you need to have.

But why do the bare minimum? Your knowledge base and self-service implementation is an opportunity to provide an amazing customer experience. Make it easy-to-use, easy-to-find, and anticipate their needs with smarter search and contextual help.

“Likelihood to recommend” is a powerful and popular customer metric because many companies realize that having happy customers who rave about your service will help grow your business. And guess what? 83% of customers would be more likely to recommend a company which offered “easy-to-use and consistent” self-service options. Make your online self-service an opportunity to wow your customers and get more referrals!

5. 67% of people prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. (Nuance)

Not at all surprising. So why are so many companies so dependent on their call centers? Why do they force customers into the phone channel when so many people would prefer to self-serve?

While studies show that customers are generally most satisfied after a phone interaction, many people don’t want to use that channel (and many won’t). Great customer-service values a multi-channel approach to customer service. Help your customers in the format they want to be served. And people want self-service.

6. 56% cite a lack of online information about products or services as their reason for abandoning a website (LivePerson)

Wondering why so many visitors leave your website or abandon their shopping carts? More than half of consumers leave due to lack of information. This truly is the information age, and if you aren’t providing information to your users, they will go somewhere else.

While your website or application might not be so easy to update, using a smart help widget can allow your customer service, sales, and marketing teams to create and update knowledge base content without needing to get a developer involved. Integrated help widgets make it easy to keep your knowledge base fresh and up-to-date.

7. 54% of executives with web or mobile self-service report increased web traffic since launching online self-service (Unisphere Research)

Wait! Are you telling us that we can reduce our customer support emails AND increase web traffic? It seems so.

A well-designed and well-implemented knowledge base not only meets your customers’ needs but can help you drive new customers to your website. Content creators are always looking to provide value; what’s more valuable than answering real customer questions?

8. 50% of “How Do I” calls could be deflected via an online knowledge base (Amdocs)

Wouldn’t it be nice to tell your boss you could reduce your support emails and calls by 50%? Studies show that half of all “how do I” requests could be solved with online self-service.

And there seems to be quite a bit of data to back this up. UserVoice’s Instant Answers, which displays relevant articles from your knowledge base and feedback from your forums when typing a support request or feedback, has been shown to reduce up to 40% of your support requests. In one of their case studies, PicCollage was able to reduce support requests 49% with in-app support. And Helpjuice knowledge base software guarantees 50% less support emails (and happier customers).

As customer service can quickly become a huge cost-center for your business when not scaled effectively, it just makes sense to implement an online knowledge base as soon as possible.

9. 45% of consumers abandon online purchases when they can’t find info quickly (Forrester)

Without an online knowledge base, it appears many online retailers might be leaving money on the table. Studies show that 83% of online consumers consistently need some type of support to complete a purchase. And apparently many aren’t getting it. More than 4 out of 10 online consumers will abandon their shopping cart if they can’t find answers to their questions fast.

Since the majority of consumers want and expect online self-service, an easily accessible knowledge base is a sure-fire method to increase sales (and prevent the loss of potential ones!).

10. More than 40% of customers contact a call center after they can’t find answers to their questions online (Amdocs)

The good news is that 4 out of 10 people will call you if they can’t solve their issue themselves. Well, maybe that’s good news. If you are trying to reduce your incoming support though, that could be bad news.

But really, the bad news is that 6 out of 10 won’t call you. Not that you want to increase your support volume, but you do want to keep your customers. And it’s hard to keep customers whose needs you aren’t meeting.

The Sex Appeal of Online Knowledge Bases

While your knowledge bases might not trigger a series of marriage proposals or love poems, there is something very alluring about reducing support, making customers happy, and improving the financial bottom line. Whether you want to make your customers love you, save money on support, or increase your sales, online self-service can make your dreams a reality. And if that’s not sexy, I don’t know what is.

Are you ready to sexify your online self-service? Get started with KnowledgeOwl knowledge base software today.

Marybeth Alexander

Marybeth is the Knowledge Goddess and Chief Executive Owl at KnowledgeOwl. Connect with her on LinkedIn

Got an idea for a post you'd like to read...or write?
We're always looking for guest bloggers.

Learn more

Start building your knowledge base today

  • 30 days free (and easy to extend!)
  • No credit card required
  • Affordable, transparent pricing
  • No cost for readers, only authors

 Start a trial 

Want to see it in action?

Watch a 5-minute video and schedule time to speak with one of our owls.

  Watch demo