Self-service vs. telephone service

Posted by - Sophie Kynnersley on the 29th July 2020

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.

Businesses are increasingly looking for ways they can introduce a self-service system due to COVID-19 and the lower number of available team members to handle workloads and deal with customers.

Automation is playing an increasingly bigger role in self-service and for telephone answering services. Companies are now automating phone calls so you don’t have to speak with representatives which have proved popular in mobile banking where you can make payments and make payments all through an automated call.

You can order a customised meal from a fast-food chain without having to speak with anyone and pay for your weekly shop in a supermarket without having someone else touch your products and easily avoiding any conversation.

If by the end of this you’re wondering how an automated service such as a telephone answering service or managed live chat service could help you optimise your business while increasing your leads and improving your consistent customer service, please 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 inquiries.

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 will require less staff need to be employed at one time if a substantial majority of customers can serve themselves.

Weaknesses of self-service

Self-service and technology are almost synonymous. Although self-service is designed to be as simple as possible, without a basic understanding of technology it can seem difficult and often confusing. This can mean excluding an entire demographic of customers who are equally as valuable.

Typically, self-service can only handle simplistic inquiries therefore greatly limiting what it can do. If you have a complex order or multiple inquiries, 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 when there’s no one immediately available to sort it out for you.

Strengths of the phone

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 that they are being dealt with by the best person; completely taking the hassle out of processing it all yourself.

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

Weaknesses of the phone

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 our time could be better spent elsewhere.

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

What’s better?

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

For example, using IVR within a telephone system.

By using this, a customer can call a company and will be immediately greeted with a menu system, where 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 for creating a human connection cannot be underestimated.

Do you need help with customer service?

Whether you need a self-service method to deal with the influx of customers in your store or you’re looking to automate your business operation with a telephone answering service and managed live chat, 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 where a member of the team will discuss with you a tailored plan so you can meet your business goals.