What is a self-service portal and how can it help you?

What is a self-service portal and how can it help you?

7th July 2021

By Richard George

Customers expect to access the information they need, when they need it. The watchword for customer service? Autonomy.

Self-service portals are proving a big hit with customers and organisations alike. In fact, it’s forecast that 85% of customer service interactions will begin with self-service by 2022.

So, if your organisation is behind the curve – or you’re not even sure what self-service support means – then it’s high time to up your game!

What is a self-service portal?

The basics. A self-service app or ‘portal’ is a web interface – but it’s so much more than just your organisation’s website; it’s interactive, informative and can be core to customer service, and will quickly prove indispensable.

Customers can typically browse information, submit applications, manage their own accounts, search a knowledge base for answers, ask questions and offer feedback, and access tailored suggestions for further support or advice.

Designed well, a digital self-service portal is the best way you can offer online support to your users without any direct human interaction. But digital DIY is not about letting your customers sink or swim.

To be effective (and valued by your customers), your self-help services must fit with the customer experience you offer. That means providing users with options for escalating their queries to advisors through online chat services, or by requesting a good old-fashioned phone call.

And chatting to an advisor shouldn’t mean that customers must start afresh. Instead, advisors can see the digital steps customers have taken and help them along their journey.

What are the benefits of self-service?

The benefits of self-service options for customers are two-fold.

First, for customers: self-service speeds up the time it takes to get answers and access the information they need. They can easily do it out-of-hours, or when out and about via their smartphones. Perfect for busy lives!

Secondly, for organisations: it eases pressure on contact centre advisors by enabling customers to get quick answers to their straightforward questions. That frees up advisors for trickier or more sensitive queries where it’s much harder to replicate their expertise and, above all, their experience and empathy.

Quick-fire tips for making your self-service portal a success

1) Keep it up to date – Some organisations struggle to stay on top of all the information they provide. It’s far better to offer more succinct details, but make sure it’s all on point.

2) Empower users through useful functionality – For instance, online benefit calculators and dynamic application forms.

3) Optimise it for mobile users – One of the many beauties of self-service is that it allows customers to access support while on the move.

4) Integrate with images and video wherever possible – This boosts engagement and appeals to users with different learning styles.

5) Highlight popular queries – Keep track of what people are searching for, tailor your information to suit, and promote it on your website.

6) Use a trusted, secure system – Data privacy is essential, and cyberthreats are everywhere. Fortunately, help is at hand…

Oracle: your self-service solution with Connect Assist

At Connect Assist, we use Oracle Customer Service Portal to boost our clients’ digital delivery. And we think it’s unrivalled.

Oracle integrates beautifully with third party systems to offer customers all the self-service options they want – and let your advisors focus on those who need their support the most. In terms of interface, we’ll customise its templates, widgets and pages to suit your users and your organisation.

Naturally, security is key. In fact, one of our happy customers is the UK government, which is now using the Oracle solution we’ve implemented to support application processes that involve uploading lengthy, confidential documents.

In our view, we think Oracle Customer Service Portal can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. We’d love to show you how it could work for your organisation and customers. If you would like to see it in action you can request a demo here.


If you need our help in developing more effective, meaningful connections with customers, get in touch today.