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Definition

customer self-service (CSS)

Customer self-service is a type of electronic support that allows end users to use technology to access information and perform routine tasks without requiring the assistance of a live customer service representative.

CSS offers end users with 24-hour-a-day support and immediate access to information without having to wait for a customer representative. Ultimately, the success of a customer self-service initiative depends upon the quality and quantity of information available and the ease with which it can be accessed.

A more controversial enterprise benefit of customer self-service is the ability it affords an organization to gather personal information about the people who use it. Tracking and analysis software may be used to create a pseudonymous profile of the user for research and targeted marketing purposes.

Once the technology is set up, a self-service interaction can cost much less than a similar transaction with a live customer service representative. Customer self-service technologies include:

Web self service - the customer can access information and perform routine tasks over the Internet by searching a knowledge base or reviewing an FAQ.
Interactive voice response - the customer can interact with an automated telephony system to perform specific tasks, such as reporting a power outage.
Apps - the customer can interact with a software program on a mobile device to carry out specific tasks, such as check an account balance or transfer funds from one bank account to another.
Kiosks - the customer can perform specific tasks such as checking in at an airport by interacting with a small physical structure that houses a computer and display screen.
Self-checkout - the customer can scan, bag, and pay for purchases without human assistance.

See also: customer experience management

 

This was last updated in August 2013
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