How Technology and Innovation Have Changed Service Delivery

January 23, 2020

When the world welcomed its first automatic tailored machine (ATM) on June 27, 1967, no one would have guessed this brainchild of Scottish inventor Shepherd-Barron would form an essential part of customer service many years down the line. Today, together with automatic vending machines and interactive kiosks, ATMs form the core of the global self-service technology.

Self-service technologies have become the norm as each business eyes automation. Most companies are gradually letting their customers interact with direct services without the help of employees. All thanks to automated devices and wireless communication, which has enabled remote management, there is widespread adoption of self-service technology from rural areas to urban centers.

In a document dubbed State of Global Customer Service Report, Microsoft found that customer service plays a critical part in determining customers’ choice and loyalty to a brand. In the report, 74% of consumers have used a self-service support portal. This data doesn’t come as a surprise as what most people seek is convenience. People want instant services, and that’s why automated devices, which enhances overall customer satisfaction.

Customer Service Innovations & Technology

A lot is going on in the field of self-service and automation.  With the avalanche of digital information and activities and a generation of digitally-informed customers, most customer service innovations now revolve around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to facilitate and enhance customer-controlled digital experiences.

Self-service a norm now, with customers increasingly demanding effortless experience at scale. Some

a. Self-service booth

Technologies allow customers to access services independent of front-office employee assistance. In brick and mortar stores, providers often deploy this technology as a free-standing interactive kiosk. The purpose of these kiosks includes providing directions, issuing tickets, scheduling information, and much more. The long and short of it, these self-service kiosks offer all the customer services typically provided by officers, only that it now does it faster and at a single, cost-effective unit.

b. Barcode scanners

Retail stores now incorporate self-service technologies in their shops to cut down the cost of operations. Customers can walk around in-store scanning every item they pick up. The shoppers don’t need scanners but instead use their well-designed smartphone app. At the end of their shopping, they don’t need to queue, which also means such outlets employ fewer customer service staff.

c. Chatbots

The use of AI-powered bot in self-service to meet customer expectations is the new normal. Now service providers anticipate customer needs and quickly respond in a personalized way. Plus, they help agents during customer interactions, apart from the fact that they are always available all around the clock, regardless of the time zones.

The Future of Self Service

ML and AI is the future of computing, and for self-service too, they are going to play a significant role. Today, the burden of managing and supporting self-services has shifted from support staff to the customer, but we foresee it moving from the customer to the customer bots.

Most customers now embrace a brand that allows them to interact easily with consumer-controlled touchpoints, like interactive displays, smart speakers and VPAs. However, today’s customer is a digitally informed individual with endless digital activities. They won’t keep up with the level of self-service required to manage their digital lives, and we look into a future where they delegate such tasks to their bots. So, we are moving from DIY to bots doing it for you.

It’s already happening. With most people already assigning virtual personal assistants, and other self-service tools to help with tasks, we can’t expect less in customer service. We are, therefore, looking into a full-scale adoption of customer-owned bots doing things on behalf of the customer.

Why is self-service right for your business?

The integration of AI and ML has enhanced the automation of self-service. Adopting self-service solutions not only help you in terms of cost but also attract the new generation of consumers, generation z, who will make the most extensive consumer base in the next decade. Incorporating these technologies make their lives easier. The same goes for millennials who have grown up in the internet era and are enamoured with the convenience of these self-service tools.

When you talk of customer services, the first that comes to mind is convenience, which is what automated self-service technology delivers. To inspire hope and confidence in your brand, you need to attract the younger generation of consumers by implementing a self-service strategy that promises to meet both parties’ needs.