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Service without peer – the future of self-service

The services industry is a tricky one, especially if you’re providing services directly yourself.  Businesses that rely heavily on a service component are equally fraught with risk.

A lot of success depends on reputation and effective delivery and only on the rarest of occasions are ones’ services so sought after that one has some degree of guaranteed custom.

Some industry segments and even businesses have the luxury of having exclusivity. For example in a restaurant, you can only be served by a server that works in that restaurant. If the restaurant that you frequent however has a buffet, you pretty much don’t get any service at all apart from table bussing.

Although you are unlikely to have a gourmet meal or have a luxurious fawned over experience, this is an effective way of servicing diners.  It works on a simple principle, having wait staff adds overhead and offering menu choices a la carte represents a potentially significant burden to the kitchen.

The trend these days is being pushed more and more to self service and this is a cost containment measure as well as a recognition that service levels are amongst the hardest things to maintain because service largely comes down to individuals and how they personally perform.

83% of shoppers surveyed by industry magazine The Grocer which reported “no problem whatsoever” for consumers using self service checkouts at Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Another of the magazine’s surveys found that 65% of shoppers wanted more  self service checkout, finding them faster!

As one contributor suggested – this is a fourth industrial revolution and it is heavily impacting retail as physical, digital and biological technologies become heavily entwined.

Make sure that if you are targeting service as all or part of your offering that you recognise that without exceptional service and without a unique service offering, you can be easily displaced or replaced.

Also recognise that as an individual you are only able to provide service to the power of one, i.e. yourself. Unless  you are prepared to continuously coach, mentor and manage others, your effectiveness at being able to provide peerless service is constrained to your commitment to your audience or customers.