And it’s time for part three (our final post) of our series on customer self-service solutions. Quick summary: In the first post, we explored whether self-service solutions are advantageous for your B2B business regarding the functional and emotional experience they provide and their cost-saving potential. And for the second, we compared knowledge bases with chatbots, asking the question, “Which one is better?”.
For this last post, we’re taking a look at one more self-service solution, namely digital adoption platforms (DAPs). As Userlane is a DAP, we’re confident that we can provide you with some pretty good insights into why, in comparison to others, DAPs are an optimal self-service solution 😉. As we did with the last posts, we’ll evaluate the DAP in terms of the functional and emotional experience as well as their overall cost-saving potential (regarding support costs).
Quick reminder: We use the term users and customers synonymously, and we look at the use of self-service solutions in terms of technical support for B2B.
So, What Makes Digital Adoption Platforms So Special for Self-Service?
As the name suggests, digital adoption platforms are designed to maximize software adoption, helping users to work with any new software, right from the start. This is achieved in two ways:
- Through interactive guides, which lead users step by step through the software in real time.
- Through a Virtual Assistant, which provides content and is available on-demand to provide users with just-in-time, contextual support.
And it’s these very guides and Virtual Assistant that make DAPs the optimal self-service solution. Here’s why:
- Preventing procedural mistakes. The interactive guides—which explain all digital processes with bite-sized, relevant info—prevent the user from experiencing friction when navigating these processes. For this reason, users are less likely to seek technical support because they can’t make any procedural mistakes, deviate from the guides, or get stuck trying to figure out what to do next.
- Proactive support. In our previous post on knowledge bases and chatbots, we discussed how these solutions only provide reactive support (although, sometimes, chatbots can be proactive). This indicates that the user has already encountered a problem and is possibly feeling frustrated (which, of course, negatively impacts the customer experience). But because DAPs prevent users from running into problems or encountering difficulties in the first place, they are continuously proactively supported as they navigate their digital processes.
- All-in-one solution. DAPs, as mentioned, come with a Virtual Assistant and can link to extra resources, thus making them a one-stop self-service solution with different self-service capabilities.
Taking It Back to the Functional and Emotional Experience
If you’ve been keeping up with our previous posts, you’ll know we’ve written a lot about the functional and emotional experience connected to the support process and a customer’s overall satisfaction. (Reminder: The functional experience is connected to the physical costs a customer accumulates, and the emotional experience relates to the mental costs or mental benefits a customer experiences).
With DAPs, when it comes to the functional experience, it’s highly unlikely that the user will accumulate any physical costs—and the same goes for support agents. Thanks to DAPs providing a frictionless user experience, users will rarely need to reach out to support agents. This saves time on both the customer’s and agent’s side and alleviates the burden placed on support agents. Moreover, DAPs can handle highly complex processes and applications. This reduces the overall physical cost for the user and gives agents more time to focus on other, more important tasks.
For the emotional experience, DAPs offer significant mental benefits and reduce cognitive stress. DAPs provide just-enough, just-for-me, just-in-time, and just-in-place learning, meaning that info presented in the interactive guides is always relevant, contextual, and bite-sized (microlearning) so as not to overwhelm the user with too much information or options. And as the user navigates digital processes smoothly, they will experience all those mental benefits, such as feeling empowered, being in control, and enjoying autonomously solving problems and working through complex processes.
Also, and importantly, users can “stay in the venue” with DAPs, which means that they don’t need to leave the application to search for answers. This, of course, saves valuable time and prevents frustration or any other emotions that have a negative impact on the customer experience.
But What About the Cost?
Even though DAPs can initially be more expensive, they make up for it in terms of how much you’ll be saving on support costs. Plus, maintenance of the interactive guides is easy and enjoyable, and if the respective application undergoes any changes, the guides automatically adjust to these changes.
So, because DAPs enable users to be completely self-sufficient in any software application, the costs you save in the long run far outweigh the implementation costs. DAPs will ensure that you have satisfied users, which, of course, provides the perfect groundwork for creating and improving customer retention and loyalty.
In The End: DAPs Are Great, But Customer Service Should Always Be Omnichannel
Where companies once could differentiate themselves by product or efficiency, distinctiveness today increasingly lies in creating a seamless, omnichannel customer experience. — McKinsey&Company, Customer Experience Compendium
Now, with all this info on DAPs in mind, we do want to emphasize one thing: An omnichannel approach to customer service is always the way to go. While DAPs may significantly reduce the need for a support agent (or to seek support via other channels), truth is (and as we mentioned in our last post), automated technologies are simply not the same as having human-to-human, personal interaction. Furthermore, an omnichannel approach is a sure way to guarantee that you’re providing your customers with the best, most seamless experience possible.
It comes down to choice: If a customer wants to solve a problem autonomously, they can when you have a well-executed and well-maintained solution in place. But if they want to speak to a support agent rather, or if the problem is too complex to be solved by a self-service solution, then your customers can rest assured knowing that you have (dedicated) support agents on hand. A hybrid approach of automation and human is crucial to the overall experience you give your customers.
“Whether it’s chatbots, knowledge bases, or DAPs, it is essential that companies adopt not just one but multiple types of self-service solutions and channels to provide optimal customer experiences.” – Userlane, White Paper: Cutting Customer Service Costs While Improving Experience With DAPs
So, to conclude, if you are searching for a self-service solution that provides proactive help, reduces the workload for support agents, frees up resources, and provides an overall excellent experience, then DAPs are an ideal option for you and your customers! If you’d like to see how a DAP, like Userlane, can help you, schedule a demo with us at any time! And if you’d like more info on all the topics we’ve discussed in this series, then download our free white paper, no filling in forms necessary 😉!