Monday, April 21, 2008

Best Practices: Where Has All The Help Gone? - Self Service Options

Michael Fogarty forwarded an excellent article to me on Self Service entitled "Where has all the Help Gone?" which was done by the writers over at MSN. The article explains how self service strategies have transformed the service industry for the better, changed customer behavior, and how these strategies have improved a company's bottom line. To put this in perspective, just think about how business was conducted before the invention of the ATM, or the Vending Machines that you see in nearly every mall or movie theatre. The examples and case studies referenced in the article range from Self Service Kiosks to check out systems at your local grocery store that are now very popular with consumers. The article puts it in perspective as follows:

U.S. consumers scanned $137 billion of merchandise at self-checkout lanes in 2006, a 24% jump over the previous year, according to research from IHL Group. Consumers spent an additional $300 billion at self-service kiosks, with the combined dollar volume expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2011.

Almost all of us check ourselves in for flights, either online or at a kiosk (86% of leisure travelers in 2006, according to Forrester Research). About 40% of us do our banking online, Online Banking Report says. We don't even flinch before rolling up our sleeves to make copies, print photos, book travel or research that new stereo

As we move forward on Customer Segmentation, we will be identifying what Solutions and applications lend themselves to a Self Service and Support Model utilizing technologies such as Online Web Support, Online Knowledge Management, Chat, and Ticket submission and status over the web.

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