Magazine article CRM Magazine

Putting the 'Self' in Self-Service 2.0: The Real Revolution Is Enabling Customers to Define Their Own Interactions

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Putting the 'Self' in Self-Service 2.0: The Real Revolution Is Enabling Customers to Define Their Own Interactions

Article excerpt

A SUCCESSFUL online customer experience allows customers to self-segment and to introduce their own variations--in language, color, font size, content, and any other element that, when you put the control in their hands, makes them feel like a more-integrated part of your company.

Allow customers to co-create the total experience: Let them select and design everything from how you communicate with them to how they communicate with other customers to the features and look of the product itself. This is Self-Service 2.0--self-personalization. Customers are still doing some of your job, but now they're taking over the personalization aspect of the experience.


If your self-service is going to work--for customers and for you--you must return to the core concept of self-service: "Make it my way." Such personalization creates happier, more-engaged customers, motivated to tailor your brand to their own desires. Self-personalization experiences give a consumer control over the look and feel of brand interactions. Self-expressive experiences put a consumer's individual stamp on your services and your brand--in essence, co-creating the value proposition you deliver to her. Lasting experiences evoke and preserve memories that lay the foundation of all future customer interactions.

Savvy companies are testing collaborative models in which customers can determine what they want and how they want it delivered, tailoring experiences to each individual. Airline customers checking themselves in can select from all remaining available seats--something that previously required (costly) employee intervention. Airlines were willing to cede power to customers in exchange for cost reduction and greater satisfaction. Capital One cardholders could select features important to them--trading off, say, a slightly higher interest rate for an increased reward rate.'s "Your Personal Shop" asks questions about a customer's shape, style, and fit preferences, then assigns one of seven body shapes so consumers can shop accordingly. Customers can have a personal photograph featured on a Jones Soda bottle. Steve Madden footwear customers can design their own shoes (a privilege that costs about 25 percent to 30 percent more than a similar, noncustomized shoe, according to USA Today).

Bank customers have long had the option of personalized check designs. …

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