Using Self-Service to Enable Buyers

Using Self-Service to Enable Buyers

We know that buyers are taking more control over their buying journey, and part of that control is opting for self-service when available. Self-service is already a common option for customer support teams, but sales departments have been, understandably, hesitant to jump on the bandwagon. 

But here’s the thing: customer service departments that enable self-service don’t get rid of their customer service agents, just like sales teams that enable self-service wouldn’t want to get rid of their salespeople. There will always be buyers who prefer to talk to real humans. Self-service just also allows you to account for the people who don’t.

Make Answers to Common Questions Easily Accessible

In order for your buyers to make self-service purchases, your website must be easy to navigate. You should have clear product information available and create a knowledge base to help buyers answer common questions. Be clear about what problems your product solves, which integrations are available, and what options are available for support.

Don’t force buyers to contact you for basic pricing information, especially if your pricing is pretty standardized. Buyers want the ability to make purchases without involving salespeople. It should be easy for researching buyers to see your pricing model and whether they can get a discount by signing a full-year contract.

Enable Chatbots and Autoresponders To Provide Information

Potential buyers may have questions that aren’t easy to find in your knowledge base, but they don’t want to ask a salesperson. In this case, you should enable chatbots on your website, allowing them to get answers to these questions easily, eventually escalating to a real person if they can’t find what they’re looking for.

Alternatively, you could set up an email address that buyers can email their questions to. Then, depending on the key phrases that are included in the email, the system will automatically reply with the most closely related answer or knowledge base article. 

Create Content on the Problems Your Product Solves

Creating a resources section on your website is a great way to provide potential customers with information that goes past the basics of your product. This is where you can store a variety of content about the different problems your product solves. However, you’ll want to make sure that you include content in several different formats, so you’re not forcing all of your buyers to consume content in the same way. 

How to Prioritize Customer Experience in the Buying Journey

For example, a cybersecurity vendor may want to create a short video on some common signs of phishing attempts and how their product can keep those emails from ever reaching employees’ inboxes. But not everyone likes to watch videos, so they could also create a how-to guide for spotting phishing scams. The majority of your content should be focused on the problems your users are facing, rather than what your product does because that’s what’s going to resonate best with buyers.

Offer Free Trials and Recorded Demos

Potential buyers should also be able to get a feel for how the software works before they commit to anything. Free trials are a great way to let researchers see how a tool will work for their business without any added pressure from a sales team. They can try out several of the features over a set period of time and make sure there are no glaring gaps in the functionality that they’ll need.

If a free trial doesn’t make sense for your product, then you can also offer recorded demos that buyers can access immediately, rather than having to wait for someone to schedule a live demo with them. While the demo won’t let them try out every aspect of the software, it will at least give them a general idea of how it works and what features are available. 

One note: if you gate your free trials or demos, keep the forms short, so buyers don’t have to give up too much information to access the assets.

Self-Service Can Help You Capture a Larger Audience 

Buyers each have their own preferences, and while some may still prefer going through a salesperson, we’re seeing many more opt for self-service. Because of this discrepancy, offering both options can increase your appeal to more buyers as you cater to their needs. Not only will this make potential customers more comfortable during the buying process, but it also shows that you’re already taking their needs into account, making them feel like you’ll continue to do that once they’re actually a customer.

Read next: Understanding Differences in B2B Buying Groups

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