For any brand, organization or government agency, serving and supporting customers and potential ones with real-time information and online assistance must become and remain a priority. If you’ve ever used the search engines or went directly to an organization’s website to get an answer to a question or information about a timely issue, you know the frustration of finding limited or dated information, especially if you’ve already attempted to reach out via another channel. Forrester Research data shows that 71% of US adult consumers say that valuing their time is the most important aspect of a good customer service experience. So what can brands, organizations and agencies do to ensure that consumers, customers or citizens are served well and in a timely manner through their own websites? Here are five building blocks for a better customer support portal experience: 1. Make it Mobile-Friendly.Ensure your organization can meet every end user’s expectations no matter what device they are viewing your website and online support portal from. In a recent Google survey, 48% of consumers surveyed said they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site that’s not mobile-friendly; 36% said they felt like they’ve wasted their time by visiting those sites; 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company. 2. Invest in Information. Beefing up your self-service content helps customers achieve first contact resolution and provides satisfaction from being able to find the answers or information they need in real-time. Customer service content distributed across channels from the same knowledgebase also assists in delivering consistent information and messaging, and internally, can help customer service agents do the same. 3. Leverage Live Chat. For customer satisfaction ratings, the numbers don’t lie. Consumers who use live chat for service and support on a brand or organization’s website talk it up as one of the most satisfying support channels available today, especially for real-time assistance from a live person, as well as for first contact resolution. Stats from a recent eDigital Customer Service Benchmark report show live chat out in front in terms of customer satisfaction levels with 73% of consumers saying they were happy with their live chat experience. In comparison, email had a 61% satisfaction rate, social media had a 48% satisfaction rate, and phone came in at just 44%. 4. Factor in Search Functionality. Make sure your customer service content on your brand or organization’s customer support portal is both searchable, and able to be found in the search engines. In a soon-to-be-released Parature Multichannel Customer Service survey, 84% of consumers surveyed said they have used the search engines to find the answer to a customer service question. 5. Add Some Extras. More and more, customers are wanting, if not expecting, real-time or proactive information and updates on trending issues. To improve on information delivery, transparency, consistency of messaging and to reduce customer frustrations, extras such as a real-time alert or information section on your support portal are incredibly beneficial. Not only does this provide easy-to-find real-time information on your brand’s website, but this can also be pushed to social media and other channels or communicated across IVR messaging to deflect a high volume of questions and reduce hold-times – a win-win for both customers and the brand or organization.Proven Results with Parature Two examples of Parature customers that have realized significant benefits through their online support portal offerings are Ask.com and Buffalo Studios, makers of the hit social and mobile game Bingo Blitz. Ask.com saw measurable results immediately from their online support portal (now mobile-responsive) including a a 60% reduction in the number of online tickets submitted within just two months of implementing Parature, a reduction in average ticket response times from 8 to 1.5 hours, and noticeably increased adoption of their knowledgebase. (Click here to access the full case study.) Ask.com Global Customer Care Manager Eric McKirdy has become a noted customer service thought leader based on his efforts to deliver world-class support for Ask.com. Upcoming events at which he will be speaking include the Gartner Customer 360 Summit and CRM Evolution.Buffalo Studios has also witnessed great success in online support. By employing a 24/7 support portal and best practice changes to their processes, the company was able to reduce support ticket submissions by an astounding 80% within days. (Click here to access the full case study.) According to Forrester Research, 75% of consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails. Additionally, Forrester estimates $22 million in unnecessary service costs due to this channel escalation to higher-cost, live-person channels such as phone and email. A little investment in your online customer support portal can go a long way. And the best part is, it benefits not just your customers, but your brand’s bottom line.