SELF SERVICE TECHNOLOGIES IN DIGITAL MARKETING – With the increase in the use of technology in the modern-day, it is no wonder why present-day businesses are leveraging online platforms to market their products as well as their services.
Statistics have shown that about 60% of the world’s population makes active use of the internet, which is one major application of technology.
In the coming years, as technologies continue to evolve, the numbers are expected to increase rapidly, as people more often than not turn to the internet to aid them in their daily tasks, connect with people from around the world, and access all forms of information.
Imagine how many people your business would be able to reach via the internet. That’s a lot of people!
In the modern-day, it is not unlikely to hear concepts such as online shops, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and other concepts relating to digital marketing.
This is because business owners, brand promoters, and the likes are realizing the immense advantage the internet provides and are actively leveraging on this, and as such, digital marketing is on the rise.
Digital marketing involves the promotion of brands, products, and services on online platforms and this cannot be overemphasized.
It allows customers to effectively connect with and influence potential customers. The only real difference is you connect and influence these customers online.
It is important to note that the concept of digital marketing has evolved over time and with this evolution comes the development of more sophisticated technologies that seek to enhance the consumer experience with products and services in the digital market.
One of such technologies, among others, is self-service technology. So much of the things developing in technology right now are aligning themselves towards self-service options, replacing many face-to-face service interactions for users as they find this rather satisfying.
This is mainly because self-service is associated with immediate results, hence making service transactions more accurate, convenient, and faster.
What is Self Service Technology?
Self Service Technologies (SSTs) are technological solutions that allow customers access to products or services autonomously.
They allow customers to produce services for themselves without direct interaction with front-line service providers. This essentially makes it easier for customers’ demands to be met.
Self-Service Technologies are referred to as solutions mainly because they effectively eliminate certain inefficiencies in sales or brand-to-customer relationships that may occur due to the presence of a front-line service provider and this ultimately brings about a maximization of customer experience with a brand or service.
Self-Service Technologies are offered either online or through dedicated kiosks.
Today’s self-service kiosks are seen as digital information centers that feature touch screens or non-touch screens that are considered interactive.
The technological interface of self-service kiosks is a fusion of high-tech communications and complex peripherals.
Such interactive kiosks can include Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), self-checkout lanes, e-ticketing, bill payment, vending, among others.
These kiosks allow users to access a set of automated services that ultimately allow them to interact with a company, product, brand or service, without requiring additional personnel like customer service agents.
To facilitate the use of Self-Service Technologies by customers, tools and information are actively provided which allows customers have a superb experience while interacting with your brand.
This experience could be the ease at which they can navigate effectively through a company’s web page or the ease at which they find answers to questions that they may have about a product.
Across industries, about 81% of all customers attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.
As a result, self-service tools are gaining popularity in various service-based industries such as the financial industry in the form of ATMs and mobile banking, the retail industry in the form of an in-store checkout, the travel and hospitality industry in the form of online booking, online check-ins for a flight, a doctor’s appointment or even a hotel room, etc.
In digital marketing, however, self-service exists in the form of FAQs, chatbots, self-service queries, video tutorials, amongst others.
Because of the nature of online services, it is very much likely to find that the various self-services become disjointed resulting in difficulty in customers navigating through them and this consequently terminates the purpose of self-service.
In a marketing method such as digital marketing, these problems are more likely to occur and as such, the use of self-service portals was initiated. A self-service portal is a unified location where a brand’s digital self-services reside.
Major Benefits of Self Service
Self-service is growing exponentially in digital marketing. It is increasingly rare to find online shops that do not utilize self-service technology even in its remotest form.
Self-service has been found to have immense benefits not only to customers but also to companies. Some of these benefits are explained below:
1. Less Cost
One of the key benefits of self-service technology in digital marketing is that it immensely save resources.
The reality is that even though you make a perfect product, people would still need help and advice while interacting with the product, and providing this support would incur the cost.
It is only natural for companies to seek out ways to eliminate or minimize this cost. Fortunately, Self-Service technologies have proven to be an effective tool.
In digital marketing, self-service technologies can help companies cut their support costs by providing customer self-help without support agent interaction, in the form of FAQs chatbots, and videos as well as using labor-saving automation for dealing with both issues and service requests.
This saves administrative manpower and valuable time that can be used for other tasks.
Since Self Service Technologies eliminates the usage of front-line service providers, customers have inadvertently been allowed to explore a brand without assistance.
Customers tend to feel a lot more empowered given such opportunities, they feel self-sufficient and this results in a sense of fulfillment.
When customers independently solve their product-based issues, they feel more in control, and businesses that use self-services would most likely have their customers come back (customer retention). This cultivates confidence in your brand and ultimately loyalty.
3. Attract more customers
Aside from customer retention in form of loyalty, statistics have shown that businesses that utilize the self-service option are more likely to attract more customers.
According to a recent survey, about 53% of consumers actively abandon purchases from companies without self-service technologies (and then patronize other brands) before they even allow customer support agents (CSAs) a chance to provide satisfying customer service.
The reason for this can be attributed to the control and reassurance that self-service provides from customers being able to access information and find answers to their queries themselves, 24 hours a day without having to wait.
This is due to the fulfillment it brings to the customers as well as the elimination of wait times.
A problem that customers have when using the traditional route of assisted service is that they must go somewhere to use it and have to wait in line to get the service they need because the traditional route is manually managed.
Therefore, there is a limit to how many customers can be served at a time. But with self-service technologies, convenience is optimized and this improves customer experience.
People are more likely to gravitate towards things that do not compromise their comfort. Consequently, businesses that utilize self-service technologies are more likely to attract customers.
4. Reduction in error
Another problem associated with the traditional route of self-service, being a manual route, is their susceptibility to error.
Customers resolving their queries or meeting their needs with self-service have the opportunity to find the exact solution to their queries they were looking for, given all the essential tools.
This way, customers are taking charge of how they are using a service and they are less likely to make mistakes while doing that because really, no one knows what you want better than you do.
This means that much fewer errors would be discovered and complaints lodged by the customers would be far lesser.
5. Boosts Brand/Company’s Site Traffic
As more and more customers start seeking answers to their issues themselves, they will inadvertently find their way to your website as well as your self-service portals that points to your brand and your services for information.
This works as a great advantage as it will help in boosting your brand’s site traffic. Moreover, your audiences will keep coming back to refer to the knowledge base that you’ve created. This will also increase the brand’s visibility.
6. More Revenue
As more customers are being served at a time, as customer loyalty is being built, as errors are being reduced, as more and more traffic is being driven to the brand’s site and as more customers are being attracted to a brand with the implementation of self-service technologies, these customers are more likely to become brand advocates who bring in more customers through suggestions or online reviews.
This signals a turn up in a brand’s revenue in so many ways.
It reduces employee stress, allows manpower to be channeled towards other areas of the business, thus allowing the brand opportunity to scale faster and stay ahead of competitors consistently.
7. Manage Customer Experience
One amazing advantage of self-service is that it allows brands to manage their customer experience with their services.
The business structure for every organization is changing rapidly with customer needs and requirements evolving rapidly.
This has forced organizations to develop means through which they can keep up and stay updated with the continuously evolving needs of their customers.
Since self-service technologies have allowed a more flexible utilization of self-service queries, organizations can easily adapt this tool to enable them to keep up and remain updated with the rapidly evolving needs of their customers.
This then allows them to deliver the right experience for customers. This is achieved by analyzing these queries and utilizing the insight from them to quickly fill in gaps and address issues in the customer journey. This is generally known as customer intelligence.
Maximizing this tool could enable organizations to remain in tune with consumer needs, now and in the future, and consequently improve their customer satisfaction.
8. Employees develop new skill sets
The benefits of self-service technologies are also buttressed in how it enables employees to develop new skills sets.
It gives them room to take a deeper dive into the internet of things, and saddle themselves with tools that would allow them to be helpful to their customers and/or potential customers.
It would be rather detrimental to limit helping customers to just providing them with answers or guidance.
Businesses that utilize the self service technologies digital marketing tool is have allowed their employees to develop problem-solving skills and this skill is a rather a necessary one as there is no guarantee that they may have no queries at some point in the future, and so, being well-equipped with the company’s knowledge base or other software is always an added advantage.
Types of Self Service Technologies
Self service technologies in digital marketing is divided into two main categories: assisted Self-Service and unassisted Self-Service.
With all the interesting benefits that can be derived from using Self-Service Technologies, certain limits still exist.
Customers could have complex issues which they may experience difficulty resolving on their own. In situations like this, assisted Self-Service is utilized.
Assisted self-service occurs when a live agent assists the customer. This assistance can be provided through chatbots, online chat, video chat, email, instant messaging, SMS response systems, and social customer service.
The customer is provided with additional information through this means after which he proceeds to meet his need autonomously.
This type of self service technologies in digital marketing is mostly utilized when less complex customer issues are involved. Here, the customer can complete a transaction without the assistance of any live agent.
In this case, he utilizes Self-Service tools such as FAQs, billing information, tutorial videos, IVR (Interactive Voice Response), and aggregators to perform things such as online payments, placing orders online, among others.
There is no limit to the evolution of technology. As new trends are introduced it is imminent for companies; large scale or medium to inject these trends in their system of operations to improve productivity in form of better output and better service rendering as this would improve the reliability of the company and improve quality assurance boost quality assurance.
The effect of self-service technologies cannot be overemphasized, over time it has proven to be very efficient in marketing as customers become directly involved in the production process.
Customers are given the leverage to make specifications on the product demanded or even request a change in product or make additions the lists of demanded products, they could even go as far as canceling the request and in addition, the location of delivery is also defined by the customer.