The Value of Customer Self-Service in the Digital Age

Learn how to improve your customer self-service strategy.

Improve Your Customer Self-Service Strategy

Leading with digital and self-service can transform service organizations’ cost to serve and improve customer experience. Many customers prefer digital and self-service over assisted-service channels because they are always available and eliminate wait time for an agent. Self-service options must be designed for low effort and high customer satisfaction, or customers will abandon and switch to a higher-cost-assisted channel.

Download a step-by-step guide for service leaders to enable more customer self-service options.

Download the Guide to Self-Service Adoption

Improve customer experience by enhancing your self customer service.

By clicking the "Continue" button, you are agreeing to the Gartner Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Contact Information

All fields are required.

  • Step 2 of 3

    By clicking the "Continue" button, you are agreeing to the Gartner Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    Company Information

    All fields are required.

    Type company and location
    Optional Optional
  • Step 3 of 3

    By clicking the "Submit" button, you are agreeing to the Gartner Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    Improve Your Customer Self-Service Portal

    The customer support portal plays a central role in digital customer support delivery. With most self-service support experiences resulting in dead ends, customer service leaders must complete an assessment of their existing portal capabilities to increase effectiveness and improve the customer experience.

    Use our customer service guide to enable customer satisfaction and deliver self-service success.

    30% of supply chian leaders say they have no or low-maturity sustainability initiatives.

    Improve the Customer Service Experience

    In recent years, customer service and support (CSS) leaders have greatly accelerated investment in digital channels and capabilities, hoping to offer a better service experience to customers at lower cost to the organization. Interestingly, Gartner research shows how CSS leaders are clinging to misconceptions about what customers want and how they behave. Download our customer service research for the top trends, channels and behaviors to watch.

    Bar graph displaying the top organizational constraints which present the most significant challenges to supply chain performance.

    Customer Self-Service Insights

    Learn how Gartner helps you achieve your customer service priorities.

    Customer Self-Service Tools

    • Take advantage of diagnostics and benchmarks to assess your current customer self-service (CSS) state.
    • Access tools to quickly transform and develop your customer service function.

    Customer Self-Service Strategy

    • Identify the right strategy and technology for investment prioritization to increase digital channel engagement and self-service effectiveness.
    • Develop an optimal channel strategy, identifying the best channels and core capabilities necessary to deliver consistent, contextual, predictive and personalized dynamic channel service experiences.

    Customer Experience Experts

    • Access unbiased, one-on-one advice to stay ahead of the trends that matter.
    • Get guidance on your top customer self-service priorities from best-in-class experts who are former heads of service.
    • Leverage our benchmarking tools and peer-sourced research to improve your strategy.


    • Gain real-world advice from peers in live cohorts and virtual discussion boards.
    • Benefit from networking at Gartner virtual and in-person conferences.

    Questions about becoming a Gartner client?

    Customer Self-Service: Frequently Asked Questions

    Customer self-service is proactive customer service that provides electronic support for customers to access information and perform routine tasks without requiring the assistance of a live customer service representative.

    Customer self-service empowers customers to solve their own problems. This improves customer experience since the self-sufficient customers are happier customers. Instead of asking customer service reps for every small issue, it empowers customers to find their own solutions whenever possible.

    A customer self-service portal is a portal that offers information and resources to help users find answers and resolve their issues instead of relying on interaction with a customer support agent directly.

    A good self-service portal is one that is easily accessible, designed with intuitive navigation, guides customers to the right area for their issue and allows for escalation to assisted channels when failure to self-serve appears inevitable. Organizations should strike a balance between a contained self-service experience and access to assisted channels. We don't want it to be too easy to contact through assisted channels. However, we also don't want a labyrinth of resources that frustrates the customer. An effective portal knows its limits and works toward tilting that balance in favor of containment over time.

    To improve self-service containment rates, CSS leaders must look beyond simply improving their self-service channels and consider the holistic experience that often starts within search engines and third-party information sources. Containment can only be achieved if the organization has control over the information and guidance across self-service resources, as opposed to customers floundering so much with bad information that they only look for a contact phone number.

    CSS leaders are focused on adding digital channels and increasing self-service capabilities. Instead, they should refine channel strategy to focus on seamless integration of their existing channels/capabilities and ensuring customers start with digital resources. A seamless customer journey not only improves the customer experience, but by improving the connection between self-service and assisted channels, customers will be more confident when organizations guide them to starting in self-service.

    The common elements of customer self-service are FAQs, search, knowledge bases and communities. Increasingly, organization are implementing chatbots, virtual customer assistants and digital interactive voice response systems (IVRs). While there are any number of different options, the critical component is that they work together to create a seamless, contextual customer experience. Simply offering a number of tools can work against their purpose if customers bounce around in futility and end up in assisted channels with a higher baseline of effort and frustration.

    Chatbots and VCAs fail due to the lack of the necessary tradeoffs for successful implementation. Perhaps the service leaders have a chatbot that is far too limited in its capability to handle the complexity of the experience they want to provide their customers. Or, maybe they have an expensive solution that they rush to integrate.

    Gartner is an objective resource for 15,000 enterprises in 100+ countries.

    Gartner for customer service provides service and support leaders with insights, advice and tools to address their mission-critical priorities.