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Self-Service Success Through Customer Segmentation
By Tom Sweeny, ServiceXRG


Successful self-service initiatives depend upon the development of a portfolio of offerings that are appropriate to the needs of the target audience. A wide variety of self-service resources can be offered, but unless customers are willing and able use them there is little point. A portfolio consisting of few options that are well tuned to the needs and capabilities of customers is far more effective than a portfolio that consists of many disparate and hard to use resources.

Know Your Self-Service Audience

To establish the right portfolio of self-service offerings, the user interface, and content requirements demand an understanding of the needs and capabilities of your target audience. Understanding customer perceptions (or misperceptions) about self-service can offer insight into the likelihood that your audience will use available self-help resources.
Information about the customer’s product knowledge, their method of accessing your services, and language preferences are examples of the type of information you need about your target audience. It is also helpful to develop an understanding about how your customers prefer to search for information and the types of information they seek.

This type of information can be collected through customer surveys and by monitoring the type and frequency of use of existing self-service resources. Understanding basic customer demographics and preferences will provide critical input into the design and optimization of the self-service portfolio. The following table outlines some of the demographic and user preference information that should be known about your intended self-services audience.

Defining Self-Service Audience Segments

Many companies have established customer segments that describe the relationship with the customer, the industry, product they use, or value of the relationship. Although these segments may highlight differences between customers, traditional customer segments do not articulate the interest and ability of customers to use self-service.

Optimizing the self-service portfolio requires an understanding of the target audience(s) from the perspective of how often and how effectively they can and will use self-help resources. Segmentation based on self-described characteristics related to self-service can provide insight about how to optimize the use and effectiveness of self-services for your target audience.

Source: ServiceXrg

Self-Service Audience Segmentation

In the chart below, a sample target audience has been segmented based on their product expertise and propensity to use self-service resources. Each segment of your target self-service audience has unique needs. The more that you can understand these needs, the better you can develop a portfolio of content and tools that can promote use, adoption and success.

Source: ServiceXrg

How to Map Self-Services Offering to Your Audience

Providing access to the “essential elements” of the self-service portfolio is only the first step in maximizing use and adoption. Efforts to map the specific elements of a portfolio to the needs of the intended user will result in a higher the probability of a successful self-service transaction.

Source: ServiceXrg

Source: ServiceXrg


Self-service success relies on providing a portfolio of resources that customers can use effectively. Effective self-service portfolios are developed based on an understanding of what customers need. The first step in developing a successful self-service portfolio is to know the intended audience. Understanding the basic demographics, access preferences, skills levels, etc provides the basis for developing the portfolio. The next step is to properly segment the audience such that audience appropriate content can be developed. Offering the right services to each segment will insure that the self-service experience is successful for your entire user population and is essential for maximum utilization and effectiveness.

About ServiceXRG
ServiceXRG specializes in helping companies develop and execute service and support strategies that strengthen customer relationships and optimize financial performance from service operations. ServiceXRG’s research provides a balanced perspective of the IT services industry with views from users, service professionals and suppliers. ServiceXRG combines years of real-world service industry expertise with a unique ability to collect, analyze and present high-quality industry data. ServiceXRG provides management consulting, custom benchmarking, competitive analysis and customer satisfaction assessment, and publishes a series of reports on industry trends and best practices. For more information, visit