Self-service refers to any task that a person accomplishes without the help of someone else. Although it can be understood in other contexts, this term is generally applied to commerce or retail industries. In this scenario, self-service describes the process of empowering customers to purchase something without the help of employees.
Today, self-service is a common part of everyday life. Grabbing a plate of food from a buffet, purchasing items through a self-checkout machine, or using an ATM are physical self-service tools. In contrast, chatbots, interactive voice response (IVR), and online banking apps are illustrations of digital self-service tools.
Other examples of self-service tools include:
- FAQs (frequently asked questions)
- Shipment tracking apps
- BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store)
There are many benefits associated with a self-service mindset:
- Reduces the burden on customer service
- Tasks can be accomplished at any time (24/7)
- Provides a more consistent experience
- Empowers customers and makes them feel valued
- Saves time and streamlines daily tasks
As businesses strive to save on costs and increase efficiency, self-service systems will become even more popular in the future.