Self-service has become a huge part of everyday life. It’s fast, simple, and keeps us in control. From self-serve checkouts at the supermarket to automated calls with your energy supplier, the option for self-service is everywhere.

Thanks to COVID-19, businesses have lower numbers of staff available to handle the workload and deal with customers. As a result, they are increasingly looking for ways they can introduce a self-service system.

Automation is playing a bigger role in self-service and telephone answering services. Companies are now automating phone calls so you don’t get to speak with representatives. This has proven popular for mobile banking where you can even make payments through an automated call.

You can order a customised meal from a fast-food chain without having to speak to anyone now. You can even pay for your weekly shop in a supermarket without having someone else touch your products. This has the added benefit for some of avoiding conversation with others.

By the end of this you might wonder how an automated service such as a telephone answering service or managed live chat service could help you optimise your business. To find out more about how they increase your leads and improve your customer service consistency, contact a member of the Cymphony team today.

Strengths of Self-Service

The most obvious attraction to self-service is the speed at which we can process our own transactions and enquiries.

Time is valuable and it’s natural for us to want to speed up often arduous tasks. The act of self-service is relatively simple and stops us from relying on anyone else. It also means fewer explanations and less repetition; giving us the control to get the job done straight away in a more efficient manner.

From a business point of view, it can also be a great cost-saving strategy. It requires less staff as a substantial majority of customers can serve themselves.

Weaknesses of Self-Service

Self-service is a form of technology. Although self-service is designed to be as simple as possible, without a basic understanding of technology it can seem difficult and confusing. Therefore, you risk excluding an entire demographic of customers who are equally as valuable as those who do understand it.

Typically, self-service can only handle simplistic enquiries; greatly limiting what it is capable of doing. If you have a complex order or multiple enquiries, it is unlikely that self-service will be the most appropriate avenue to go down. Similarly, if something goes wrong during the process, as a customer you’re stuck as there’s no one immediately available to sort it out for you.

Strengths of a Phone Service

Traditional telephone communication is still one of the most popular ways to process an inquiry, service or order. It allows the customer to discuss their specific requirements in detail and be reassured by a real person. They will also know if their enquiry is being handled effectively, and it takes the hassle out of processing it all yourself.

It also gives the person an opportunity to ask several questions – possibly resolving multiple issues in one phone call. This can be cost-effective for the company and also helps to build a more positive customer service reputation.

Weaknesses of a Phone Service

Calling a company can be time-consuming, often with long holding times. It can be frustrating to be passed to various departments and people when your time could be better spent elsewhere.

Many companies are still providing expensive premium rate phone numbers which add up to high telephone bills if customers aren’t careful.

Which is Better?

There certainly isn’t a definitive answer to this. The best solution is a combination of the two.

For example, using IVR (interactive voice response) within a traditional telephone system.

By using this, a customer can call a company and be immediately greeted by a menu system. Using this, they can route themselves to the most appropriate person or department.

They’re then connected with an actual person who can answer all their questions and build that all-important customer relationship. Although self-service is an extremely valuable tool for any business, the importance of the phone in creating a human connection cannot be underestimated.

Could Your Customer Service be Improved?

Maybe you need self-service technology to handle an influx of customers in your store. Perhaps you’re looking to automate your business operations with a telephone answering service and managed live chat. Either way, you should now have a better understanding of how each one can help.

If you’ve still got questions on how an automated service could help your business add more value to your customers, please contact Cymphony today. A member of the team will discuss with you a tailored plan so you can meet your business goals.

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