Technology development in the last few years has made self-service a far more viable option than it ever has been before.

Technology development in the last few years has made self-service a far more viable option than it ever has been before.

Implemented well, self-service is a great option for your customers, as they will often pick it over the time-consuming effort of real human interaction. And from an organisation’s perspective, there are some major upsides not least from a revenue perspective. Plus unless you are doing something significantly wrong, a self-service should cost very little once the technology and processes are set up!

It may seem completely at odds with ‘logic’, but a positive self-service interaction from a customer’s perspective can make them feel more engaged with your brand. We have all felt it – and probably said it – “they” made it really easy, because “all you had to do is …”

Taking a look at the data in this area though, there seems to be a little bit of a mismatch between what customers want and what firms are providing. Perhaps it is because whilst the technology is simpler and cheaper to deliver than before, getting those processes to work differently isn’t some simple? Perhaps it is attitudinal?

Looking at demographics, this issue isn’t going to go away though – among younger demographics the absence of an online system or a mobile app, or even a quick and effective IVR system, will be perceived pretty negatively – that means that self-service will likely experience a consistent and relentless push towards the front of customer interactions in the coming years.

So with this in mind, we thought it might be useful to share our thoughts based on our experience:

  • Treat it like a program of work – put in place solid program governance structures
  • Approach it like a major change management project
  • Don’t think technology, think people (customers and employees) and process too
  • Make sure that you have solid IT strategy in place that will enable you to embark on the changes needed – otherwise step away until you do
  • Use real people to shape your insight. Don’t rely on third-party research or hearsay. And always test the new process and technology with real people in real scenarios – including internal process
  • Keep the choices simple – there is nothing worse than being on a IVR call and here option, after option, after option. Use 2-3 options and then move to sub-options. Just like you would online
  • Think multi-channel – Self-service can be extremely powerful when dealing with customers, but it is never the only channel. Customers are not as forgiving or particularly trusting of companies that hide customer phone numbers, for example
  • It is the start of the journey – whenever a new process or technology goes live, it is only the first step….

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