The Self Service Conundrum

August 30, 2017

Self-service is a volatile topic in customer service circles. Everyone believes there is a place for it but that’s where people’s agreement stops.

How a company implements Self-Service is a direct correlation to how they view their customers. There is no better measuring tool to see how a brand measures the importance of its customers from the service model.

The wrong reason for self-service in my opinion is strictly for cost savings. This was all the rage when IVR’s were first being implemented. Just set up a bunch of machines and you don’t need any agents! If this is the MAIN reason for your implementation then you are making a huge mistake. One that will cause problems with your customers and start to brand your organization as one that does not pride itself as a great service organization.

Self Service needs to be another channel in your multi-channel service platform. No doubt it is a very important channel and when done with your customer in mind is a very powerful tool that in the long run will still save you money but more importantly will make your customers happy.


The following examples are two models that I believe show a misguided use of self-service. One that tells everyone that service is secondary to upfront costs. We would argue that companies that do this are actually being penny wise and dollar foolish.

“On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase ”

Hide the 1800 number game: This is a very painful and annoying attempt to push customers to a specific online self-service channel. Most of the time you will see an online help site that has a truly painful and rudimentary flow that makes sure that we have an object plugged in, turned on, or set up properly even though it has worked for years. This is a blatant attempt to save call center personnel and costs while thoroughly irritating a customer.

Painful IVR’s: Why are companies still making customers put in the account information and SSN numbers, making us channel through 5 or 6 voice prompts to then get us to an agent who asks us for our account information and SSN again!! The technology to pass information to an associate has been around for over 10 years. IVR’s are a great tool when used properly. They become a nuisance where they keep being added to by different departments, have bad flow, prompts that are much too long, and do not serve the purpose of why most customers are calling in.


This is SOO easy to do. It blows my mind how difficult companies make this. Self-service cannot be your main customer service platform. It needs to be an option that customers choose to use. Now that does not mean we don’t push these channels but you cannot force it down a customer’s throat either.

Chatbots/Texting AI: The technology is here to be able to use Chatbots as a great self-service model.  Most everyone now has a smartphone and everyone texts.  Chatbots are a natural way to save money, time, and add to your customers’ experience.  Want to change your bill date or check your account balance?  No need to dial that 800 number, just text the question and have the bot do the work.

IVR-Self Service: There is still a place for the IVR but it’s getting less and less.  Many customers just want to check their account balance, make a payment, checkpoints, or make a transfer and like the IVR process as they have been trained to use it for many years. Either has a self-service line or allow your IVR to transfer quickly to an agent without going through 17 prompts.

APP:  The banking sector has done a great job with their mobile APPs which allow you to do anything you want without an IVR or an agent. This is where the technology is going and is cheaper, quicker, and more convenient than previous forms of self-service. The AWESOME thing about an APP is that as the customer is working it if they have any questions most have the ability to do chat, click to call, or now even one and two-way video. The technology is there for the customer to choose self-service and if they need help to provide for an in-store or in branch-like experience with video. This can be done for a very lost cost now as well.

What would your customer rather have?

Do you think customers appreciate the companies that hide their 800 number deep in their webpage trying to force customers to use online help sites?  Finally, when when the customer fined the 800 number they are forced into a drawn-out painful IVR that forces self-service.  Is this really what customers want??


Have a self-service model where the customer can choose to dial your IVR for simple issues or use a well-designed APP from their smartphone or smart chatbot if they just want to text on a busy commute (bus or train). One that has the ability to click to call or Video service if there is an issue.
You tell me…which company cares more about their customer. Which company is making evangelists out of their customers? Which company is more likely to have a loyal customer that will become repeat buyers? The competition for customers is fierce, stop irritating your customers!

We will leave you with this:

After a positive customer experience, 69% of Americans would recommend that company to others.

Following a negative customer experience, 58% of Americans would never use that company again.

Is poorly thought out self-service really worth it?

If you need some help setting up or reorganizing your customer service model, talk to us at Expivia.  Visit our site at and download a free corporate overview.  We can set up a full customer engagement model that incorporates, Chatbots, and IVR’s and the latest in APP technology into your 100% USA contact center giving your customers a truly world-class experience.

1 thought on “The Self Service Conundrum”

  1. Pingback: 7 Reasons Why USA Customer Service Is Terrible...And How To Fix It | Expivia Interaction Marketing Group

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