Learning Guide

Customer Self-Service Learning Guide

This guide introduces the fundamentals of customer self-service technology and strategy. Find out about implementing customer Web self-service software, as well as employee self-service programs. Learn more about using self-service applications in your organization and online customer interactions and customer service. Drop us an email to

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Table of contents:


Introduction to customer self service
Overview of self-service vendors
Self-service vendors in the news
Evaluating and implementing self-service technology
Self service and the customer experience
Self-service case studies
More learning tools

 

  Customer self-service introduction from expert Allen Bonde  

 Timing is everything. Helping customers help themselves is a relatively old idea -- but one that has become a growing business priority. Self service as a model and a market has been gaining momentum as consumers increasingly accept and even prefer the idea, and businesses look to not only reduce costs but also improve customer satisfaction.

Self service works when there are benefits for both users and the business. A recent survey by J.D. Power shows that 38% of airline passengers now use self-service kiosks, and wait on average half as long for their boarding passes. A leading wireless provider not only saved money by deflecting calls to its Web site, but also discovered that its customers who preferred online support were also the most profitable.

The benefits can be clear; yet challenges remain like where to push information and systems to users without getting pushback, and how to make sense of an ever-changing marketplace. At once both an extension of CRM and an evolution of e-commerce, the market for self-service application software is close to $1.5 billion, according to the latest ABG research.

Among the leaders in our 2005 vendor scorecard are well-known companies like RightNow Technologies, Knova Software and Art Technology Group. Yet as these and others like BroadVision, KANA and even Siebel jockey to be the self-service platform of choice, many companies are still assembling solutions from components for search, knowledge management, etc.

While continuing vendor consolidation, new on-demand solutions and better integration with voice self service are creating more turnkey approaches, leveraging self-service models is likely to remain both an art and a science. The resources assembled here should prove invaluable, no matter where you are in the planning or deployment process.

 

About Allen
Allen Bonde is senior vice president of strategy and marketing at eVergance, a management consulting and systems integration firm focused on CRM optimization and Web self service.

 

This was first published in May 2007

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