What is Customer Self-Service?
As the word suggests, self-service implies getting support from a company’s resources and having little or no interaction with the company representatives. Some of the most common forms of customer self-service are:
- FAQ section on a company website – answers to the most common and “frequently asked” questions.
- Knowledgebase offered to customers – video instructions, tutorials, and forums, providing immediate advice and support. As an example, check out PBC’s “Knowledge Vault.”
- Self-checkout – self-service cash registers in retail shops
- IVR (interactive voice response) menu – automatic hotlines that guide users through different steps to achieve the desired result.
- Mobile applications – prevalent among banks, hotels, and airlines, these allow clients to perform specific actions without contacting a business representative.
- Chatbots – automated online chat function suitable for solving simple issues
Self-service is a response to the changing customer needs and expectations. Users want to solve their own problems and expect the company to provide them with resources to do so.
Naturally, there are situations when clients will require assistance from an actual human. Thus, training a representative who cares for customers and provides exceptional service will always remain necessary.
The Most Notable Benefits of Customer Self-Service
The implementation of self-service may be time-consuming and costly initially. However, this investment will usually pay off in the long run. Moreover, this solution comes with a set of benefits both for the business and the customer.
Benefits of Customer Self-Service for the Business
The first benefit a company will notice is the reduction of operational costs. Alternatively, their costs may remain the same while the scale of business operations increases. The fact is, most of the issues customers run into are easy to solve and don’t require assistance from a company representative.
Additionally, since representatives can focus on more complicated problems and stop wasting time resolving minor issues, the efficiency, productivity, and quality of service will improve. As important, instances of burnout will become more scarce, and there will be less frustration due to repeatedly responding to the same questions.
Furthermore, self-service can be made available non-stop; customers can instantly find help for their problems when they need it. As a result, customer satisfaction increases, which improves loyalty.
Offering self-service can lead to greater traffic on the company website due to all the available resources. Creating an extensive knowledge base and sharing it with the public establishes companies as leaders in their field. It increases their authority and, therefore, generates trust in the brand. Increased website traffic leads to more new customers. According to capitalcitymovers.us, customers appreciate that they can find critical information on their website, from the approximate cost of their move to preparing for their relocation. That alone brought them many clients.
Increased website traffic allows companies to gain deeper insight into their customers’ behavior. It helps businesses identify clients’ pain points and take steps to address them. Moreover, obtaining information from visitors opens opportunities for marketing activities.
Benefits of Customer Self-Service for the Customers
The most apparent advantage of self-service for customers is the constant availability of support. Users can choose when it’s most convenient to handle a particular problem. They can also take their time to understand their instructions and read or listen to them as many times as necessary, without worrying that they are inconveniencing anyone.
Research suggests that many customers prefer self-service to human contact, especially, as this research report suggests, when employing Augmented Reality (AR). With issues encountered in the sales process, many users would rather give up on a transaction than contact customer support, wait in line, and consult with an agent. Also, customers like to be self-sufficient and are proud of being resourceful.
Finally, self-service is often more effective than a conversation with a customer support agent. Video instructions, AR, and step-by-step instructions featuring screenshots, for instance, prove to be more helpful than verbal instruction provided by a faceless voice.
How About Employee Self-Service (ESS)?
ESS allows employees to handle administrative and HR tasks independently and saves them and HR teams tremendous amounts of time. Some of the actions they can take are:
- Apply leaves
- Update personal data
- Access payslips
- Manage benefits and insurance plans
What is more, ESS reduces paperwork to a minimum, which is very environmentally friendly.
The Benefits of Employee Self-Service
Implementing an ESS system has some incredible benefits:
- Time-saving – HR administration is time-consuming. An ESS portal allows employees to access, update, and acquire administrative or HR-related information.
- Reduced costs – Reducing the amount of time spent on administration will enable employees to focus on more critical aspects of their work (payroll, training, benefits, etc.)
- Improved transparency – Employees can always check their leaves and different request statuses, see their PTOs and payslips, request or make changes, etc.
- Better productivity – Time-offs or leaves don’t have to be requested or processed manually; all the necessary data is in the portal.
- Easier employee onboarding – ESS allows new employees to access the company knowledge base and resources.
- Eliminated errors – No duplicate data entries or other mistakes that may result in compliance issues
- Easier payroll management – An ESS provides accurate records regarding employee attendance and PTO data, which ensures companies pay employees the right amount
Implementing both employee and customer self-service can prove highly beneficial for all stakeholders. This investment translates to financial benefits, better insights into valuable customer data, and increased customer loyalty and satisfaction. As for employees, their job satisfaction also improves, which makes them want to stay with the company longer.