Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Self-Serve is Better Than Bad-Serve

From Pat Mcgraw:

Some People Don’t Want To Talk To You

Posted: 04 Dec 2010 09:42 AM PST


Recently, I wrote about the importance of creating a unique, valuable experience that can be consistently delivered to the customer in order to improve your customer acquisition and retention efforts.

Today, I am going to tell you that sometimes your customers don’t want to talk to you – they just want to take care of their own needs and move on.

That might explain why Norm occasionally tried to pour himself his own beer. Alright, probably not…but you get my point.

In our research on this topic (which we discuss in our recent HBR article “Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers“), we’ve found that corporate leaders dramatically overestimate the extent to which their customers actually want to talk to them. In fact, on average, companies tend to think their customers value live service more than twice as much as they value self service. But our data show that customers today are statistically indifferent about this — they value self-service just as much as using the phone. And guess what? By and large, this indifference holds regardless of their age, demographic, issue type, or urgency.

When I first read this article, my reaction was ‘Wow!’ But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Heck, I would rather take care of my own needs rather than subject myself to some untrained 16-year-old employee at the local retailer.

But as the article explains, it’s more than just an aversion to poor service. I like to take care of myself. It’s about pride. It’s about ego.

So when you start looking at your business, look at it from the customer’s perspective and design processes that allow them to handle their own needs if that’s how they would prefer to do business with you. Offer them the option to self-serve or be helped by your staff – and make sure both experiences are simple, fun and effective.

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