It is an increasing trend among business practices nowadays to promote self-service. Self-service is strangely enough the practice of helping yourself, and, it is so popular nowadays, that you will barely find a business which doesn’t have some sort of self-service practice implemented.
The widespread practice involves businesses like supermarkets, retail checkouts, online purchases, banks, fast food kiosks and even online check-in when boarding your flight.
You can see why it is so important for businesses to have self-service. Some of these motivations are obvious:
- Improving customer satisfaction
- Letting the customer choose their own adjustments to the service
- Enabling 24/7 service availability
- Reduce the cost of business
But really its about the convenience of giving both you and the business more time to focus on more important stuff or to spend time on planning your weekend getaway.
Whether it be your grocery run or purchasing that Europe holiday. Whether it be filling your Centrelink claims form or withdrawing cash from an ATM or paying that online bill or ordering that lunch in Macca’s… you guessed it, it is all self-serviced. You as a client will DIY more and more.
The new normal
With the new generation growing up rapidly, with all possible exposure to internet, technologies, and the internet of things, they will not have time to wait hours in the phone to speak to someone, or simply will refuse to do so. Rather they will turn to Google and find the information or solution on their smartphone. Instead we turn to self-help Knowledgebase, online communities or head along to ‘YouTube University’ videos for self-service. So, if your business is not in this space then you probably are, or will be, missing out on a lot.
Self service in accounting and IT
Talking about the IT and accounting industries, in this context, they too can reap plenty of benefit from this practice. With the rise of the cloud-based accounting software, where all the data is stored safely in the cloud, with lots of security measures and disaster recovery plans, not only it is easy to access anywhere but it also enables easy ways to share the data with your bookkeepers or accountants.
With easy navigation and easy to understand terminology, even the smallest business owners with little accounting or IT knowledge can do their own invoicing themselves. With this, they will not have to wait for their accountants to do the entry for them, on their next appointment, probably weeks later. So, with faster invoicing, they will have faster transactions and this will not only speed up their cash flow but also keep their accounts updated with a more realistic snapshot of their business.
With the modular features of some of the accounting program like Reckon One, it has given the user even more DIY competitiveness. Like user can activate and deactivate the modules based on their need, monthly, and only pay for what they need. Such a pioneering Self-service implications make a significant difference in the balance sheet of the small business by saving them in their expenses.
So, it is like giving the control to the user of the system, so they can do things in the exact way they prefer. A plumber goes to a job, after finishing the job, he instantly sends the invoice to the customer using his smartphone, onsite and can make sure customer has received it. The customer can then open the invoice and pay him on the spot using the PayPal payment link from the invoice (ideally), so the entire process can potentially be completed in few clicks or I should say in few touches on the screen, safely and swiftly. No need for a plumber to go back to his accountant/bookkeeper, give them the job notice, ask them to enter the invoice, and print it mail it/email it and follow-up for the payment. This is now a thing of past.
Similarly, with all the data sitting in the cloud, the owner can view that cashflow report instantly from anywhere, anytime they like to make that crucial business decision. Cuts the wait time, where they used to ask this information to their accountant and wait…. possibly until it is too late to act.
You want your employees to enter their own timesheets? Or you want them to enter their own invoices, yet still retain the control to approve it? You name it, everything is self-serviced. With so many advancements in technology and cloud systems, you will be surprised to see what and how much you can do.