The American culture is one of independence and individualization. As such, it should come as no surprise that Self-Service Technology (SST) is taking first place as online customers’ preferred method of help.
Overall, we’re busy. Work, school, family, and social life take up a lot of our time. Finding the right service, researching a new product, or finalizing a form need to be put in the fast lane because customers don’t have extra time to scour a site or call a customer service agent to find the answers they need. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers will attempt to use SST before reaching out to a live human.
The Customer’s Value of Self-Service
- Time – Experts agree: an individual’s most valuable resource is time. More and more, having to search for information is a hassle, and that time begins to add up when the search takes place across a plethora of different company websites or service providers. Proper self-service options for customers can reduce time spent on these hunts.
- Convenience – Ah, the ominous call hold music. Each minute that it plays is another reminder of how painful it is to sit on hold. It’s almost as bad as the message, “There is no one available to take your call right now. Please call back between our regular business hours of 8:00-5:00.” Which goes along the same lines of sending an email that could be returned anywhere between five minutes and five days later. Self-service automation allows website visitors to answer their own queries in whichever way is easiest for them.
- Personalization – “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.” I know that I like being known by my name, not just as confirmation #458976, “Miss,” or “Hey, you.” Any business that makes me feel like a unique, special individual will have my repeat business, whether it’s my massage therapist, local burger joint, or favorite online store. It doesn’t matter. In the latter, self-service personalization that makes me feel remembered and easily connects me to a human when I need it will bring me back again.
The Company’s Value of Self-Service
- Customer retention – Happy customers are always the main goal. Because happy customers return, and they bring friends. 61% of happy customers will make an extra effort to buy from your brand over a competitor, and 60% of satisfied customers are likely or highly likely to tell friends about your brand.
- Resources – If customers can find answers to their own questions, then they won’t be calling you, emailing your help desk, or taking up social media channels to air the issue in the public eye. This saves you grief, time, and the costs associated with maintaining and managing agent resources. Self-service allows your customers the chance to do this work themselves.
Money – Once you make a customer feel like an individual, they become more inclined to remain loyal to you. “Loyal customers buy more often, cost less to serve, and have higher retention rates.” So, those customers are increasing your revenue and, over time, require less expenditure on your part.