Following our last seminar and series of articles on the maturity of client relations management, a great number of you reached out to us asking to know more about what practices need to be used to improve the maturity of your CRM.  This incited us to provide you with a more in-depth introduction to some of the best practices for your various business processes such as sales, marketing or customer service.

The primary focus of this article will be to look at the customer service management processes in greater depth. It pertains to strategies that a company will develop enable client interaction, more specifically to answer questions and handle complaints.

More particularly, we will show you how using a good self-service portal will optimize your customer service management processes.

1. What is a self-service portal?

A self-service portal can be defined as an immediate support that is offered electronically by companies regardless of the time of day. Customers have the liberty to answer their own questions, verify and update their own data. Many self-service portals allow customers to submit inquiries or incidents simply by completing an online form.

In their most basic configuration, self-service portals can include the FAQ sections of a website as well as articles and explanatory videos. These options represent the formal stage of maturity.

More advanced forms of self-service portals will make knowledge bases available to customers. Unlike the formal stage which is made available to everyone, a knowledge base is usually secured by a client identification process.  This configuration allows customers to perform a great variety of online activities. A good example of these portals are the ones which enable clients to manage their bank or electricity accounts. Such portals enable customer service processes to enhance themselves and reach the measured stage of maturity.

These self-serve customer service features, can all be implemented directly into your CRM.

Customer service management processes chart according to their CRM maturity stage

2. The benefits of providing your company with a good service portal

The practicality of self-service portals is greatly appreciated by consumers. An earlier study made in 2013 proved that 40% of consumers preferred using self-service rather than contacting a company representative. An additional 70% of customers expect this option to be available for them when doing business with a company.

Is this preference based on introverts who are a little closed off and want to avoid human contact? Absolutely not! Other than wanting to avoid the sometimes jaded and not always helpful telephone agents, customers also appreciate self-service portals because of their immediate availability and efficiency.  Furthermore, users gain some gratification due to a feeling of accomplishment and pride; by serving themselves they have complete control over fulfilling their needs. This will increase the customers’ satisfaction of having done business with your company.

Further to increasing customer loyalty, your company will also reduce its cost in human resources.

In addition, this portal will ensure a standardization of information transmission. This is a win-win situation for both the company and customers alike.

3. The self-service portals will revolutionize customer service

The popularization of artificial intelligence will bring about generations of self-service portals that will become more and more sophisticated and will dominate the market. Gartner predicts that within the next three years, 25% of customer service operations will be done using virtual assistants (chatbots).

All these forms of self-service will eventually all be linked together whether it be FAQ or a knowledge base. While your customers will be making transactions in the secure knowledge base, a virtual assistant will be able to suggest services that are tailored to their customer profile and answer their questions by referring to the frequently asked questions articles.

All these reasons validate why using a good self-service portal is an excellent strategy that will ensure the optimization of your customer service management processes. In our next articles, we will introduce other excellent strategies that can be used for other categories of business processes.

Curious to know more about self-service portals? If you have questions about how to improve your business processes or optimize your CRM, contact one of our experts who can offer you tailored advice.


Note that this article is a more in-depth addition to our current online tools that can help you identify for yourself the stage of CRM maturity achieved by your business. If you have not already done this, you can refer to our 5-stage maturity matrix and measure the progress of the different types of processes in your company.