Every year provides an opportunity to change business processes and technology within an organization. Business is moving faster than ever. We’re in a boom time for innovation in every sector.

Recently, there’s been a paradigm shift in the concept of SST—that’s self-service technology. Frankly, it wasn’t that long ago that self-service wasn’t that popular for either business or their customers. However, attitudes, preferences, and expectations have evolved. Self-service is one of those rapidly evolving expectations. Today, self-service is not only a solution offering enhanced efficiency and reduced costs for the business but a preference for many end-users.

At the same time, organizations are increasingly focused on the customer experience and making CX a priority. There’s a great opportunity today to use SST to provide cost-effective, reliable, and efficient services and enhance the customer experience. Customers want convenience and will do more business with the companies that are easiest to work with. And, they may even pay more!

Those of us in the construction space find ourselves as both users of SST and, in many cases, providers. We need to recognize that entire industries and some businesses are SST at their core. What are the essentials to be considered for effective implementation and customer acceptance?

  • SST needs to be convenient: A good portion of your customers want—and expect—a quick resolution to a question or problem. They no longer view phone calls, emails, or even travel as a solution. Reducing friction is key.
  • Make SST visible (and visual, when possible): If you’re offering SST to both solve problems and provide business benefits, it needs to be front and center. Are you in a sales environment? Consider adding additional components to make the experience more visual; e.g., an interactive kiosk. Kiosks provide an enhanced buying experience. Adding more visual elements to a web platform offers a more satisfying CX.
  • Offer features that solve problems: SST platforms are like any other product—the more they satisfy a customer’s needs, the more they’ll be utilized. Many organizations allow customers to submit problems through SST; can it be enhanced to become a two-way interaction with results, feedback, proposed resolution, as well?
  • Add personalization features: Customers appreciate business follow-up specifically focused on their transactions. Do you offer warranty service? Customers are enthused when businesses seem to know them. Use SST automation to create a customized experience with targeted follow-ups regarding timeframes and service callbacks, product tips, etc.
  • Get employees on board: Increasing employee buy-in involves showing how SST platforms create a better experience—for everyone. A phone call might resolve a specific issue for one customer; your employees should feel comfortable understanding how the SST adds customer value (such as allowing customers to submit photos illustrating their problem area) as well as business value (e.g., SST allows employees to focus on “value-add, high touch” tasks).

SST isn’t about doing more with less. It offers businesses and customers an accessible, consistent, and problem-solving process. How can you take advantage of SST power?

Troy Warr is senior product developer for Computer Presentation Systems.