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Once synonymous with "second-rate," digital self-service, done right, actually outperforms traditional, higher-touch customer experiences. Just ask an Amazon customer (or shareholder).
And the benefits of digital self-service extend far beyond cost-cutting. A recent McKinsey study found that consumers who resolve issues on a purely self-service basis have 19% higher customer satisfaction rates than “traditionalists” (those who only interacted with call centers)—and better service leads to improved retention, high Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), and even higher margins. According to PwC research, 43% of consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services when paired with convenient customer service. Digital self-service is particularly critical for capturing Gen Y and Gen Z consumers, who expect ubiquitous digital access even more than their Gen X and Boomer peers. And as the COVID epidemic revealed, it is also a valuable tool for reaching underserved populations—from the disabled to low-income working families—who lack the time and/or resources that in-person transactions require.
Of course, the cost-saving potential alone remains one of the most compelling reasons to provide this functionality. According to Gartner, all-self-service transactions can cost businesses as little as 1% as much as transactions that require live support. Just consider the cost of supporting the customer journey to purchase insurance online versus supporting the same journey using a team of highly skilled live agents.
Despite these advantages, organizations in many highly regulated industries are still playing catch-up. "Customers' willingness to adopt—and firms' willingness to invest in—digital remained inconsistent across players, markets and continents," explains Deloitte analysts.
However, COVID has changed the equation. According to a 2020 McKinsey report, the pandemic accelerated the digitization of customer interactions, as well as internal operations and the supply chain, by three to four years. And the rate of change was even faster among digital laggards, including healthcare, financial services, and professional services organizations.
Still, much work remains to be done. Gartner recently found that 70% of customers use self-service channels at some point in their resolution journey, yet only 9% achieve full resolution with self-service alone. Traditional app-building environments have not helped. Large-scale digital transformation initiatives, which typically take 12-to-24 months, entail massive upfront costs, operational disruption, and significant project risk.
Fortunately, the advent of enterprise-scale no-code application platforms like Unqork remove critical roadblocks on the road to digital self-service. The all-visual development environment enables developers—Unqork calls them Creators—to quickly build customer-facing apps and seamlessly connect them with backend systems. The platform seamlessly embeds enterprise-grade security deep in the DNA of self-service apps. And up-to-date regulatory and enterprise rules engines are rigorously tested for security and compliance vulnerabilities, so that Creators can simply apply features repeatedly, without risk of creating new vulnerabilities.