By Stefanie Amini, Marketing Director, WalkMe
Self-service is becoming increasingly popular for many businesses nowadays as it helps them to save money in the long term. This is because customers can be served more efficiently, and the firm will be able to save on labour costs. Self-service has taken various forms in this day and age. Some of these include vending machines, automated retail systems, ATMs, self-checkout machines and internet-based self-service. Most customers have got used to such systems, and it has practically become a part of many people’s lives. For instance, many would not even dream of going into the bank so as to withdraw money as it is so much quicker and easier to use an ATM. Others would like to manage their internet banking with an online guidance system that can help them complete tasks in real time.
However, customers may occasionally encounter certain problems while making use of self-service systems. In such cases most people tend to panic, requiring help from somebody who knows what to do. If you are going to introduce a self-service system, you need to ensure that you back up the system with the necessary staff and functions that will reassure customers who encounter problems. Agents must also know the self-service tool well enough to help them get back on track. Essentially, the reason for self-service was to avoid calls coming in and costing more money.
One of the most important things is to never forget to create a bailout feature. If the customer gets stuck, they need to be assisted by knowledgeable personnel from the firm. It is a known fact that if a customer has experienced some sort of problem during the process, they are going to end up troubled and will not know what to do. Therefore it is extremely important that customers feel confident that if anything happens, they will be helped immediately and properly.
For example, if a card gets stuck in an ATM, the customer is going to panic. Hence, they need to be provided with immediate assistance by one of the bank staff. If the local branch is not located near the ATM, there needs to be a system which can provide the support required by that customer there and then. This could be a phone number or some sort of system that could provide support to the client as to what they should do. The same applies to other types of online self-service systems such as WalkMe. It shows the agent where the customer left off, and can assist the user based on the exact point they need help with. Step-by-step assistance is a great self-service tool but if you don’t have an exit plan, customers may be put off.
Therefore, a plan needs to be made and implemented carefully in order to ensure that a proper balance is struck between expenditure, efficiency and customer satisfaction. Many firms place a lot of importance on customer support as they are well aware that customers need to feel valued and get instant gratification. Hence, even though self-service is to be encouraged, it needs to be backed up with substantial resources for adequate customer care.
Stefanie Amini is the Marketing Director and Specialist in Customer Success at WalkMe, the world’s first interactive online guidance system. She is chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe