Nearly Three Quarters of Brits Say Self-Service at Work Speeds Things Up

As self-service becomes more and more common in our daily lives, so it seems to be gaining in popularity; nearly three quarters of Britons say self-service at work speeds up getting things done, while two fifths say it makes their life easier.

These are the findings from a new survey launched today by Cherwell Software, a global leader in service management solutions.

The survey by Censuswide, which polled over 2,000 people across the UK and Germany, found that, despite demand for self-service being relatively slow to take off since its arrival in Britain in the 1950s, Brits* have now fully embraced its benefits.

Most say they have experienced it at work when accessing IT support (62%), Human Resources (55%) and Procurement (37%). However, nearly a quarter (23%) say they have never used self-service at work at all.

Self-service at work is slightly less popular than elsewhere – for example, 94% of people have used self-service checkouts at the supermarket compared to the only 62% at work for accessing IT support.

Most (76%) say that the experience of self-service overall was a positive one (based on those rating their experience of as either ‘positive’ or ‘highly positive’)., with interactions with HR (80%), procurement (78%) and IT (70%) all registering high levels of approval (experiences rated as ‘highly positive’ or ‘somewhat positive’).

Enterprise v Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Larger organisations are much more likely to offer self-service options to their employees than are smaller companies. For example, 70% of companies with a turnover of £10 million+ offer self-service IT support vs. only 58% of those with a turnover before £10million.

Brits Embrace Self-Service Slightly More Than Germans

In Germany, using self-service technology at work is slightly less popular than in the UK. The most popular usage is for IT support – 62% of Brits have used it compared to 48% of Germans – and in HR where 56% of Brits have used it compared to 46% of Germans. Twenty-three per cent (23%) of Brits say they have never used self-service technology at work ever, compared to 31% of Germans.

Benefits of Self-Service

Nearly three quarters of respondents said the main benefit of self-service was its speed (74%) while just under a quarter (24%) preferred self-service because of the lack of human interaction involved. However, when something does go wrong, help from a human being, rather than a machine was the most popular form of assistance (49%), followed by virtual chat (31%) and email support (26%). Social media was the least popular method (4%).

When asked how the self-service experience could be improved, the top response was ‘no errors’ at 70%, followed by ‘human availability’ at 54%, a more intuitive interface (44%) and the availability of more detailed instructions (29%).

Scott Breadmore, Sales Director, UK & Ireland, at Cherwell, comments:

“Our research shows that the British, by and large, have taken to self-service in many areas of their daily life. But understandably they still feel the need for the reassuring presence of a human being, rather than another automated device, when something goes wrong.

However, customers expect instant service and now seem to be willing to forego human interaction if it speeds things up – so in that way self-service machines can add greatly to customer satisfaction.

Broadly speaking, most people fall into two categories – those who have no problem with self-service, don’t want to interact with human staff and just want to be left alone to get on with their daily chores, and those who are wary or impatient when interacting with machines and who will only tolerate them up to a point. They then seek human assistance.

It’s also interesting that nearly 1/3 of Brits are happy to receive help from virtual assistants; so, while we like human interaction when something goes wrong, this person does not necessarily have to be physically available. With virtual support technology having come on leaps and bounds in the last few years, I would expect to see this figure get even higher over time.

It’s perfectly understandable that acceptance of virtual support varies from person to person, but our research shows that self-service can be a huge benefit to busy, time-pressed people.”
The research asked seven questions and was aimed at understanding more about people’s attitude towards self-service, their experience of using it (both good and bad), and where it can be improved.

For more information, please refer to the Cherwell report “Unexpected item in bagging area” which can be downloaded here.

Research Methodology

Cherwell commissioned independent research consultancy, Censuswide, to undertake this research. Censuswide polled 1,002 individuals in the UK and 1,000 in Germany respectively (2,002 in total) who worked in companies of 1,000+ employees. The research explored people’s experiences of self-service in both their personal and professional lives. The research consisted of seven questions using online surveys in December 2019.

* ‘Brits’ is taken to mean the sample of 1,002 individuals in the UK who work in companies of 1,000+ employees.

About Cherwell Software

Cherwell (@Cherwell) empowers organizations to transform their business through the rapid adoption and easy management of digital services. Cherwell’s adaptable platform has enabled thousands of organizations to modernize their business operations with customizable service management, automation, and reporting across the enterprise.

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