It’s hardly news that working for any big business these days is a global affair. Many readers of these pages will be more than familiar – and probably fed-up with – airport lounges and check-in desks, and have carefully honed their ability to shepherd three separate plastic trays of their belongings along a conveyer belt in the security check.
More often than not, managers arrive at an airport jet-lagged and trying to prepare for their next meeting, and so want to do everything they can to make the endeavor as easy and simple as possible. For example, they will almost always check in online the night before the flight, or at least head straight for the self-service check-in kiosk on the day, ignoring any actual human airline representatives with a miniscule queue at their booths.
People may want to use self-service to choose their seat or find an earlier flight, and they also want peace of mind that everything was taken care of. In other words, they want to be in control.
The Lure of Self-Service
And often, when they do have to speak to someone – when the self-service kiosk isn’t working, for example – people don’t want to explain themselves to a person. They think it will be quicker and easier if they do it themselves. CEB research shows that a customer’s first stop when they need service is increasingly the company’s web self-service platforms, and that these customers actually rarely find additional value in talking with a live person.
Providing customer service by phone – a much more expensive channel than self-service – doesn’t always produce deeper customer relationships. Customers (mostly) don’t want to talk to companies – they just want the fastest and easiest way to resolve their issue or get their answer and get back to their lives.
So it’s the job of the service organization to provide a “guided web self-service experience,” so that customers can find what they need in a low-effort way, and in a way that is also low cost for the company.