Customer Self Service: What it is & Why it Matters

Keren Brown

Table of Content

In today's dynamic and customer-centric business landscape, the concept of self-service has emerged as a pivotal component of effective customer support strategies. With evolving consumer preferences and technological advancements, customers increasingly seek to address their own queries and resolve issues autonomously, ushering in a paradigm shift in how businesses approach customer service. This growing inclination towards self-reliance underscores the significance of comprehending and implementing robust self-service initiatives within organizations.

In this comprehensive guide, we embark on an insightful exploration of customer self-service and its intricate interplay with knowledge management. Our journey will encompass a thorough examination of the fundamental principles underpinning customer self-service, the methodologies for calculating its efficacy, and the critical role of knowledge in augmenting the self-service experience. Through a nuanced analysis of these key aspects, we aim to equip businesses with the knowledge and insights necessary to optimize their customer service endeavors and drive enhanced customer satisfaction.

Throughout this exploration, we will delve into various facets of customer self-service, from elucidating its fundamental concepts to elucidating its multifaceted benefits and implications for businesses. By delving into these topics in-depth, we endeavor to provide businesses with actionable insights and strategies to leverage the transformative potential of customer self-service and knowledge management effectively. Join us as we navigate the intricacies of modern customer service and unlock the power of self-service to drive organizational success and customer delight.

What is Customer Self Service?

In simple terms, customer self-service means customers fixing their own problems instead of asking for help right away. More and more, customers prefer solving issues on their own, even if there's good live support available. In fact, 81% of B2B technical content users want to handle technical issues independently. This trend shows that well-made technical content can make customers happier and lighten the workload for support teams. Plus, letting customers help themselves can save businesses a lot of money by reducing the need for live support.

How is self service rate calculated?

find answers on your own

Self-Service Rate metric highlights the percentage of customers who resolve their issues without opening a ticket form or submitting a case/ contacting support. Self-service rates increase when users have immediate, relevant content available to them since they can resolve issues without having to formally submit a ticket.

To calculate the self-service rate based on the number of visits to your documentation versus the number of tickets submitted, you can use the following formula:

Note that, to determine the savings from self-service, multiply the total number of issues resolved through all available self-service channels (like FAQs, knowledge bases, and forums) by the average cost of handling a support ticket.

Self-Service, Case Deflection and Support Costs ROI

Determining the financial impact of self-service initiatives is crucial because it helps justify investing in technical documentation. The return on investment (ROI) of self-service is calculated by comparing the costs of creating and maintaining high-quality technical content with the savings gained from fewer live support interactions. To get an accurate picture of cost savings, effective measurement frameworks consider variables like average handling time and the hourly wages of support staff.

case deflection funnel

How to calculate the ROI of self-service?

Calculating the return on investment (ROI) of self-service can be done by comparing the cost of implementing and maintaining technical documentation with the reduction in support costs. In order to determine the cost savings achieved by case deflection and self-service initiatives, the equation needs to factor in metrics such as the average handling time, hourly salaries of support agents, and the number of tickets resolved with technical content.

Some support centers adopt the known, simple formula to estimate their average cost per ticket: 

Total Customer Support Spend

________________________________      = Cost per Support Ticket

Total Number of Tickets 

case deflection formula

However, when looking at the complexity of variables involved in support costs, such as communication channels and resolution complexity, this formula may not capture the full picture. In addition, the cost of providing support can vary depending on factors such as the company's industry, size, location, and the experience level of the support agent. 

You can read more about how to measure the ROI of self service and case deflection in this blog -  The Power of Metrics: Measuring Your Technical Content Performance

The actual cost savings will vary depending on the specific circumstances and volume of B2B tickets for each organization. However, the potential for cost reduction through self-service and case deflection typically ranges from $100,000 up to $5,000,000 monthly, making it a valuable strategy for businesses looking to optimize their support operations and improve their bottom line.

Why is knowledge critical to customer self-service?

The potential for technical content to enhance self-service is enormous. Recent research from the Technology & Services Industry Association (TSIA) suggests that up to 60% of support tickets could have been resolved through documentation. Among these resolved tickets, 36% were successfully addressed with the help of how-tos, user guides, and knowledge-base articles.

Moreover, the Zoomin 2024 Content Industry Benchmarks Report highlights the effectiveness of integrating documentation into the support process. On average, organizations that include documentation as part of their case resolution experience an impressive self-service rate as high as 82%. This indicates that customers can find the information they need and resolve their issues independently, leading to a significant reduction in support cases.

Strategically placing and making technical content accessible are crucial in reducing incoming support tickets. By improving the visibility and usability of resources such as how-tos, user guides, and knowledge base articles, companies can enhance operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction, strengthening the business case for robust documentation systems.

What do customers expect when it comes to self-service?

Customers today expect a VERY different level of service experience, and want to get fast, accurate and personalized answers to their questions. They DO NOT want to go through your call centers, support representatives or your FAQ. In their latest report Customer 2024 Service Trends Report, Intercom indicates that ”A whopping 87% of support teams say customer service expectations have increased in the past year” . Intercom’s report also highlights how AI is exacerbating customers’ service experience expectations even more: “77% of support teams believe that AI will accelerate customers’ expectations of fast response times”

One very clear way to meet these expectations is to ensure critical knowledge, such as knowledge base articles, technical manuals and more is available for both users and service representatives, and that you ensure knowledge consolidation is a key partb in your service strategies.

So how does AI impact customers' self service expectation?

AI (Artificial Intelligence) has significantly impacted customer self-service by completely changing the way companies interact with their customers and provide support. Here are some key ways in which AI influences customer self-service:

  1. Enhanced Automation: AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants enable businesses to automate routine customer interactions and inquiries. These AI-driven systems can handle a wide range of customer queries, from basic FAQs to more complex issues, without the need for human intervention. By automating these tasks, businesses can provide immediate assistance to customers, leading to faster resolution times and improved satisfaction.
  2. Personalized Assistance: AI algorithms analyze customer data and interactions to deliver personalized recommendations and assistance. By understanding individual preferences and behaviors, AI-powered systems can tailor their responses to meet the specific needs of each customer, enhancing the overall service experience. Whether recommending products or providing troubleshooting guidance, AI enables businesses to deliver more relevant and personalized support.
  3. 24/7 Availability: Unlike human agents, AI-driven systems can operate round the clock, providing customers with assistance whenever they need it. This 24/7 availability ensures that customers can access support at any time, regardless of their location or time zone. By offering continuous assistance, businesses can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty while reducing the burden on human support teams.
  4. Efficient Resolution of Queries: AI algorithms are capable of quickly analyzing and interpreting large volumes of customer data to identify patterns and trends. This enables AI-powered systems to efficiently resolve customer queries and issues, often without the need for human intervention. By streamlining the support process and reducing resolution times, AI helps businesses improve operational efficiency and reduce costs associated with customer service.
  5. Seamless Integration Across Channels: AI-powered customer service solutions can seamlessly integrate with various communication channels, including websites, mobile apps, social media platforms, and messaging apps. This omnichannel support ensures a consistent and cohesive customer experience across all touchpoints, allowing customers to interact with businesses through their preferred channels. By providing a unified support experience, AI enables businesses to meet the diverse needs and preferences of their customers.

Now, think about it. 4 out 5 of these critical points rely on - you guessed it. Bringing all your knowledge together so your AI models can actually ground it.

self-service rate

3 key ways in which knowledge can boost customer self-service

  • AI customer service applications rely on strong content, accessing the most reliable knowledge from throughout the company.
  • You can use your unified knowledge base across all customer touchpoints and search experiences, like self-service portals, product help, and bots.
  • Avoidable cases, such as "how to" questions, can now be prevented because customers can find answers independently, leading to happier customers.


In this blog, we've explored the world of customer self-service and knowledge management, diving into its different aspects and what it means for businesses. From recognizing the rising importance of customer self-service to measuring its financial impact and using knowledge to improve the self-service journey, we've covered crucial topics to provide businesses with valuable insights. By embracing self-service and using knowledge effectively, organizations can save costs, streamline operations, and boost customer satisfaction. It's time to empower your customers and enhance your support processes with the game-changing potential of customer self-service and knowledge management.

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