Enable Customer Self-Service to Deliver Better Support

Learn how to improve your customer self-service strategy.

Improve Self-Service Adoption

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 success, or customers will abandon and switch to a higher-cost-assisted channel.

Download a step-by-step guide for service leaders to direct more customers to self-service resolution.

Download the Guide to Self-Service Adoption

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    Customer Self-Service Insights

    Learn how Gartner helps you achieve your customer service priorities.


    • 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.


    • 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.


    • 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 inform 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.

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    Customer Self-Service: Frequently Asked Questions

    The core benefits of self-service are twofold: 1) it lowers cost for the organization, and 2) all else equal, customers prefer to resolve issues on their own. Part of what’s driving the customer preference for self-service is simply a drive to feel competent. It makes us feel better to not need help from somebody else. More importantly, though, the customer service experience is often entangled with the general product experience, as companies develop increasingly digital products, capabilities and services. This convergence effectively embeds digital customer service within the larger customer experience, so lines are blurred and it’s even more critical to keep customers within that digital ecosystem.

    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.

    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.

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