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Self-Service | The Downside to Do-it-yourself



Self-service exemplifies something that just about everyone believes in one way or another: I can do it on my own.  In our current era of technology and connectivity, things keep getting easier and easier. The notion of simplicity means that tasks which were once difficult have become everyday occurrences that don’t warrant so much as a second thought. Whether you want to buy something online and have it at your door the next day, or if you simply need to fill up at the gas pump without speaking to an attendant, most things are pretty simple, and you can do them on your own. Even though we have progressed exponentially in the last few decades, I am going to argue that things could still be much better. Aside from how easy most everyone’s lives are, there are still times when anything even remotely complicated is met with disbelief and frustration. For the most part, I’m talking about self-service processes that used to be operated by people instead of technology.

Automation is a fantastic thing – it helps us do things faster, easier, and more efficiently. However, when that automation process is not streamlined as well as it could be, that is where problems arise. For example: if one were to call customer service for a large company, nine times out of ten they are met with an automated voice asking them to choose an option. This is great for the business because it saves them time and money, from a consumer perspective this is a less than ideal situation.

Bad self-service typically has too many prompts that try to accommodate a customer’s need when one or two prompts would have sufficed. That’s not to say that all automation is bad, of course not, but when automated self-service is not executed correctly it is a hindrance to everyone’s existence.


Too often, not enough attention is paid to the customer and the problems that they face. Instead of creating an automated process that is easy and pleasant to go through, many ‘self-service’ processes typically only elicit frustration as the common emotion that is felt by users or consumers. An example of someone who implements great self-service would be Amazon. They are constantly trying to raise the bar with things like Amazon Prime shipping and one-click checkout. That is on top of the fact that they have fantastic customer support. Amazon is a fantastic example of a company that has the self-service and customer service processes nailed down.


One of the ways to provide a guaranteed, positive customer experience is to be certain that your self-service solution always has a few options. Not every customer is alike, and options allow various methods to institute self-service when the default doesn’t customer-experiencework. For example, if a customer cannot figure out how to institute one-click ordering for overnight shipping, they can follow
the original process to accomplish the same thing without needing assistance. Other considerations would be to provide a
simple, usable self-service support option for customers to access. This could take the form of an FAQ section on a website, or a dedicated customer support line to deal with common issues and complaints. An important thing to keep in mind is to have a
cohesive customer experience throughout each process to ensure that you are creating the best possible experience for a client or user.


Password Reset has similar issues when it comes to self-service as well. Too often it is difficult to use a password reset service for a website or application because there just aren’t enough options. The primary reason that someone uses password reset is most likely because they forgot their password – after all, that’s the whole point. When that’s the case, it can be pretty easy to forget the answers to challenge questions as well. That scenario is why it’s important to make sure that the process in place to authenticate users can be accomplished by various means. That’s what PortalGuard tries to do in order to create a positive customer experience – provide simplicity through flexibility without sacrificing security. We want to make sure that your information is secure, but we also want to ensure that if for some reason you turn out to be human and forget your password…you have a really good chance of getting into your account quickly, easily, and securely. Self-service is a gift, not a curse, so why settle for anything less than the best?


Have your own thoughts? Feel like sharing a self-service nightmare of your own? Sound off in the comments below!


Learn more about the gift of self service in this free technical brief!



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