I just finished reading an article from the October issue of CRM magazine called "Self-Service Is Just Less-Than-Full Service." As the title suggests, the article examines the flaws of wide-spread self-service -namely that customers see diminished values provided by companies and make more price-motivated decisions. Towards the end of the article, Lior Arussy, the article's author, poses this question: "Do you think customers favor self-service over high-touch, high quality service?" He says no.
But I'd like to argue that sometimes I do. For example, when I run out of milk at home and need to run to the store for a replacement gallon, do I wait in line to be served by an uninterested teenager or head to the self-service lane? Um, self-service lane, please.
Or when I'm at a gas station to fill up the tank, do I swipe my credit card at the pump or run inside to carry out that transaction? It might sound a little lazy, but I'll pay at the pump.
I use ATMs. I use vending machines. Willingly. For me (and I venture to guess a few of you too), it's all about convenience and simplicity. If the transaction is an easy one, I'll take self-service whenever it's offered ESPECIALLY if it means I can get it done faster. But if it's a more difficult process, I'll gladly seek out some help.
Weigh in on the debate: think self-service is the end of the customer service world as we know it? Do you loathe it? Love it? We'd love to hear about it.