When self-service technology, including self-service portals (SSPs), first came on the scene, company executives thought of it only as a way to save money and time. Over time, however, SSPs came to be known as a way to empower everyone involved in them, from the user right on up to the CEO of the company. Why? For numerous reasons, but let’s start by going over a few basics first.
The Popularity of Self-Service Technology (SST)
To let you know how important self-service technology has become to consumers, consider a recent survey by Forrester, which proved that a full two-thirds of all customers say that they consider services that value their time to be as important as any other measures a company can take to improve customer satisfaction.
Specifically, they said they’d rather use time-saving tools such as a website, mobile app, online chat, or voice response system than talk to a live human being, which is sometimes more time-consuming and troublesome than it’s worth.
Today’s tech-savvy customers are busy people and would prefer to interact with a company in a way that is fast and simple. They also want to be able to do this at any time of the day, even in the middle of the night if that’s what they choose to do.
This includes not just contacting a business for information, but also paying bills, signing up for classes, updating their accounts, uploading needed documents, and so forth. Today, they want the business they’re dealing with to accommodate their needs without having to call a toll-free number and wait forever to get a hold of a live agent, who doesn’t always have the answers they need.
This being said, most customers also want access to a live person in case they’ve contacted the company through a SSP but can’t get the help they need. Remember, customers want their interaction with the company to be fast and simple above everything else, and this is where digital options such as SSPs can be such miracle workers.
In the Beginning…
At the beginning of the digital technology age, self-service options were more of a burden than they were a convenience. They were a way for customers to get a little less but pay a little less and be on their way much sooner. Nowadays, however, SSPs are not burdensome but instead empowering.
It is empowering for them not just because they can quickly and easily do things that once took forever to do, but also because the business itself can see what the customer is doing and step in to help if it is needed.
In other words, businesses cannot hide behind a self-service wall but instead should look at it as a way for customers to start their relationship with this business, not as a way for the business to be completely uninvolved in the process.
With a retail business, for example, the business representatives can easily determine whether the customer used the SSP to understand features, look up shipping costs, or determine what sizes of a particular item are available. If they are held up at any point because of indecision or confusion, the business should be there to help them out.
Why Should Your Customers Feel Empowered by Self-Serving?
The best part of SSPs is their ability to make customers feel like they are more in control of the process, whether they’re dealing with a retail business, a corporate entity, or even a school or hospital.
Self-service technology offers three main advantages:
- It means that the business is available to the customer 24/7, 365 days a year
- Customers are happier because they are offered a bigger selection of products and services
- The automation process makes everything cheaper for everyone, including the customer
“Empowerment” is a big word, but essentially it means that everyone who uses SSPs feels more in control of the process, which can give them a sense of better control over their lives. And SSPs aren’t just being utilized by big organizations such as Amazon, Netflix, and others, but by a lot of small businesses as well. And the good news is that customers can now use self-service options to do everything from paying their bills to ordering fast food online, and a whole lot more.
While customer empowerment is a huge advantage of self-service options, these options also provide benefits for the business itself, including the ability to build up their customer base, establish a database with the customers’ information, and allow them to track their growth and therefore meet their goals over time. SSPs are fast, convenient, simple, and accurate, so everyone from the users themselves to the CEO of the company feels more empowered by them.If you’re considering utilizing any type of self-service technology for your own business, GroupLink has the tools you need to make it a reality. The tools are much easier to work with than you think and can have your business growing much faster in no time.