Gartner Self Service Customer Service Support [shutterstock: 547263550, FS Stock]
[shutterstock: 547263550, FS Stock]
Customer Relationship Management Press Release

Gartner Identifies Three Self-Service Failure Points

Gartner research shows how customer service and support can improve self-service containment and reduce high-effort customer experiences.

Despite increased investments in a range of digital self-service capabilities, customer service and support (CSS) leaders continue to struggle with three failure points⁠ with self-service containment, according to Gartner. These failure points include external search, site navigation and self-service capabilities⁠.

The 2020 Gartner Loyalty Through Customer Service and Support Survey of over 6,000 customers revealed that only 13 percent of customers found resolution wholly within self-service, the rest interacted with a service rep at some point in their service journey. Gartner analysts said this suggests self-service still has much room for improvement. Eighty-two percent of CSS leaders reported they prioritize optimizing self-service capabilities as the best way to reduce assisted-service contact volume. However, this solution only addresses one problem driving self-service failure.

“While CSS leaders should address these three failure points as a whole, every organization should conduct a thorough assessment of its performance in each area to determine which needs the most focus,” said Connor Seidenschwarz, research principal in the Gartner Customer Service and Support practice.


To do this, Gartner recommends that CSS leaders take the following steps:

  • Reevaluate self-service strategy by assessing the potential impact of external search and site navigation, not just self-service capabilities, on self-service containment.
  • Reduce assisted-service contact volume by using search engine optimization to remove or limit access to assisted-service channels in external searches and create a clear pathway to organization-owned customer service pages.
  • Simplify the digital customer journey on the organization’s website by directing customers to relevant self-service capabilities and limiting, or reorganizing, access to assisted-service channels.
  • Reallocate digital self-service investments toward improvements that facilitate external search and site navigation, guide customers to relevant self-service content and, where appropriate, route them to assisted service.


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