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The role of Web self-service

What are your thoughts on Web self-service? It is commonly assumed that when a customer performs a transaction...

on the Web, it costs less to process than if it is performed by other more traditional means. While this is true under most circumstances, if it is not done properly, enabling Web self-service will increase a enterprise's service costs. This is not a contradiction. Transactional costs are lower on the Web than on any other channel. When assessing how a company will transform its service delivery model, its business case must consider customer usage patterns to ensure that a multichannel strategy accounts for appropriate usage patterns. The Web cannot be assumed to be an appropriate tool under all circumstances. Web transactions are less expensive than transactions in other forms, so increasing the number of services offered via the Web has the potential to make dramatic improvements in the organization's efficiency and productivity. However, achieving overall cost savings can only be achieved with a strong Web strategy that is supported by the transformation of other customer contact channels, and by back-office systems that support the Web and other channels. Without a comprehensive strategy, implementing Web self-service will likely result in higher aggregate costs.

This was last published in May 2003

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