Don’t Trick Your Customers With Self Service

I’m a huge fan of self service.  Like I haven’t said that a thousand times.  But, it’s worth repeating.  Give me the power.  Give me control.  And, then get out of my way.  Sure, I might call you on occasion.  But don’t make me call you because your self service stinks.  And in some cases, I actually prefer the human touch.  The point is that I want to decide.  I want the choice.   

That being said.  I am not John Q. Public (thank God for the public at large).  I am unique.  I’m an individual.  So, when you’re creating your customer engagement and channel strategy, make decisions for the right reasons, not because its easier or cheaper for you to stand up an IVR.  Do it because some segment of your customers want it.  And, certainly don’t take a page from banks who forced customers to use ATMs in the early days – a channel that was far inferior to the branch teller back then. 

When I was trick or treating with my kids on Halloween, it hit me that many of my neighbors have in fact followed down that misguided path. 

The richness of trick or treating extends beyond just collecting candy.  If that was the extent of it, I could go to Target on November 1st and get my kids all the candy they could stomach, and then some.  No, the experience is made whole by going door to door, ringing the bell, seeing the door open and yelling proudly “Trick or Treat!”

As the deliverer of the candy, there is joy in that experience as well.  Seeing what creative ghouls and gobblins, princesses and pirates show up on the door step.  That’s trick or treating.  The value of that experience seems to be lost on a growing population. 

More and more of my neighbors are deciding to either not be home or to not answer their door; replacing that with the self service bowl of candy on the front door step.  The whole point of the night seems to be lost on these folks.  Its not just about the candy.  Its about the mutual experience.  Forcing the kids to self serve robs them of the experience that makes the night so much fun.

Call it what you want.  Customer intimacy, customer relationship management, customer centricity.  Whatever.  Just do us all a favor.  Spend the time upfront understanding your customers.   Thoroughly understand the impact your channel mix has on your customers’ experience.  And treat them to the experience they desire, via the channels they prefer.  No tricks.


  1. Hi Barry, interesting article! Your blog has great content on customer service and beyond.

    Would you be interested in sharing your articles with other like-minded customer service/ engagement professionals? If yes, please email me at with "Loyalty" in the subject line.

    I am starting a community focusing on loyalty and rewards (and key areas that surrounds this topic). Would love to have you on-board! I can email you more details.


  2. reinforcing the positive attributes Customer Service Cashier CV

  3. I enjoyed your article and how you used Halloween as an example of what has gone wrong with our lack of service society. I, like you, enjoy being in the drivers seat and using the self service lanes. However, interaction with service providers does create interesting conversations, especially at the grocery store.
    Have a great day, and I look forward to reading more of your blogs!

  4. this is so true!

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  6. HAHA Yes someone who understands! This article is great because the company who will remain anonymous that I work for is all about teaching the customer how to "do it themselves". Its ridiculous!

  7. hello nice blog there great post and some information is so helpful thanks i enjoyed reading..

  8. so true dude .. i even experience this haha..
    nice post 😀

  9. I already did this.

  10. This is my first time on reading blogs of note. I wonder how a customer services daily thought can be a great story like this. :)

  11. its really possible costumer service is always like this

  12. wow great blog :)

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  15. nice blog

  16. hey bro you got it right 😀

  17. this is it less talk more in action

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