Self service can help brand profitability

The other day, one of our computers froze. This is a scary moment for most companies and it was even more scary for us as we use Apple computers and it was the first time this happened in 7 years. More worrying, this particular PC is running some expensive design software and auto-save was off!

We had two options call tech support and wait 24 – 36 hours for them to come in or check out the Apple support site and see of we could solve the problem ourselves. We chose the latter and 20 minutes later the PC was up and running.

Enabling prospects and customers to answer their own questions is nothing new, but few Asian brands use it effectively. Yet it can have a significant impact on profitability. Forrester found that the cost of a customer sales or support call cost as much as US$33. The same report found that even email support can cost as much as US$10 per response. Yet Web-based self help averages US$1.17 per incident. And this doesn’t take into account the impact on reputation due to lost productivity by the customer.

Customers benefit too. In our case, we work to tight deadlines, sometimes spending the whole weekend in the office. If this had happened on a Saturday night, with a Monday delivery deadline, we may have lost the account.

One word of caution though. Self-service is not an excuse for avoiding service.

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