In this age of streaming, same-day delivery, and instant downloads, time is king. Consumers often base their decisions on which company can get the job done the fastest. When speed is a key determining factor, it makes sense for businesses to adopt self-service tools. Once implemented properly, these tools can reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction. Here are four ways your business can reap these benefits.
1. Verifying Information
Whether a customer wants to buy a new home or car, lenders need to confirm what borrowers can afford. Thanks to advances in technology, there are multiple ways to confirm whether a person qualifies for a loan or not. Additionally, there are many ways customers can check for themselves.
One of the easiest ways for customers to get an idea about the likelihood of their approval is by checking their credit score online. The higher the score, the more likely it is that a loan application would be approved. That’s because it’s based on payment history, amounts owed, credit mix, length of credit history, and new credit.
After a credit check, lenders can have customers use self-serve tools to provide verification of income. They would enter their social security number, employer information, and other such details. Based on tax returns, paystubs, or W-2 the system pulls up, you get proof of income quickly. This saves time for everyone involved and can get your borrowers approved faster.
2. Phone and Online Customer Service
Businesses and customers both save time with self-service tools. It would be great for a customer with a question to immediately speak to a live human being. However, that’s not realistic. Even if a company bears the cost of manning a call center 24/7, the problem isn’t solved. There can still be a considerable wait time before customers speak to an agent. And no one enjoys that.
Self-service tools like chatbots and a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on your website are great solutions. They can help eliminate a large chunk of phone calls. In fact, around 4 out of 10 millennials check FAQ pages, as they prefer independent problem solving.
Most common queries include checking an order status and tracking info or asking how to make a return. These things can easily be answered by artificial intelligence. This can free up customer service staff to focus on more complex issues, which helps everyone in the long run.
3. In-store Customer Service
Self service doesn’t have to be limited to online shoppers. Nearly every grocery store has self-checkout lanes. They are ideal for customers with fewer items who want to get in and out quickly. Self checkout also saves stores money. Instead of one cashier at every lane, one employee can oversee multiple lanes at one time.
Another way self service can help businesses is with placing orders on-site. If a customer doesn’t find a size or color in-store, they can use a self-serve kiosk. This reduces the number of staff needed to complete a simple task. Customers can find out if that particular size is available at any other location. Often it can be shipped to their home for free when they order from the kiosk.
With kiosk orders, businesses benefit because they don’t lose a sale to a competitor next door. The customer benefits as their trip is not completely wasted, and they’ll get the item at home. It’s a win-win and an easy way to empower customers.
4. Mobile Apps
Businesses and consumers can also both benefit from self-service options offered by mobile apps. For almost everything you do, there’s an app that can make your life simpler. Apps are a multi-billion dollar industry. Companies, big or small, should capitalize on this and let apps do some of the work for them.
For example, if you run a pizza parlor, an app can allow customers to place an order online. They’re given the freedom to customize everything, and your business wouldn’t need to hire someone to answer phones and take orders. If they enable notifications, you can send them reminders about deals too.
An additional perk is that once they have your app on their phone, they’ll be more likely to order from you. Google’s mobile app marketing insights have found that almost half of consumers will use an app again if they’re given a discount code for their next purchase. This gives customers a level of independence when they’re ordering, but it also contributes to improved brand loyalty. It’s unlikely that someone would have five different apps to order a pizza. Once they pick their favorite shop, saved orders and promo codes often lock them in as a regular customer.
Will Self-Serve Make Humans Obsolete?
When technology can do so much, the question arises if this is the last generation to experience human interaction. It is true that computers and artificial intelligence can replicate a myriad of tasks. However, humans can not be completely replaced.
Businesses should use technology to run more efficiently and empower their customers to be more self-sufficient. They should develop apps and processes to speed things up and eliminate unnecessary steps. However, there will always be some complex issues that need the unique aspects of a human touch.