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Cost Savings Customers Actually Want

I’ve recently gone on a bit of a traveling spree to visit our clients around the world.  In the last three weeks, I’ve been to Sydney, Melbourne, Chicago, Washington, DC, London, Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Paris.

And while I’m pretty lucky that I get paid to go to fun locations, all this non-stop travel does mean a lot of time either in planes or waiting in airports to board a plane (which is also why I am now a proud owner of the following: a fancy watch, a bottle of scotch, a handbag, and a stack of magazines ranging from the Economist to Paris Match). 

Often arriving at the airport rather jet-lagged and prepping for my next meeting, I wanted to do everything I could to make sure my experience was as easy and simple as possible.

So, do you know what I did?

Like many world travelers, I usually checked in online the night before my flight.  Or at the least, headed straight for the self-service check-in kiosk, ignoring the live airline representatives who often had no line at their booths.

Why did I self-serve, rather than let the airline rep do all the work of checking me in?

Well, I wanted to choose my seat (or maybe try to find an earlier flight).  I also wanted complete peace of mind that everything was taken care of and I knew what to expect.  In other words, I wanted to be in control.

In fact, the one time that the self-service kiosk wouldn’t let me check in without talking with a live rep, I wasn’t happy. I just didn’t want to have to explain myself to a person - I wanted to do it myself because I thought it would be easier and quicker.

This mindset - wanting control over my interactions and wanting to help myself - it’s not just my personal preference.  Turns out its part of a step change in how customers prefer to be served by companies.

At CEB, our research has found that a customer’s first stop when they need service is increasingly the company’s web self-service platforms, and that these customers actually rarely find additional value in talking with a live person.

The often exponentially higher cost service channel - the phone - actually doesn’t always pay dividends in terms of deeper customer relationships.  Customers (mostly) don’t want to talk to companies - they just want the fastest and easiest way to resolve their issue or get their answer and get back to their lives.

So, it’s the job of the service organization to provide a guided web self-service experience, so that customers can find exactly what they need in a low-effort way (in a way that is also often low cost for the company!).

Join my CEB colleague Pete Slease and I at Session 302, “Reduce Customer Effort and Operating Costs by Optimizing Online Service,” for an interactive & educational session to learn why:

  1. The large scale migration to web self-service has already largely occurred.
  2. Not all issues can (or should) be solved in all service channels.
  3. Web self-service failure points are more important to understand than success stories.
  4. Customer guidance is more important than customer choice in web self-service.
    We look forward to seeing you there!

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