In Between the Numbers: Self-Service That Works

April 5, 2012 - 1 Comment

  I happened to pause last week at a pile of newspapers in my father’s house in Atlanta.

 The reason: A feature article about Cisco on the front page of the March 25th business section of the Journal-Constitution.

 The article was interesting. But best of all, it jumped from the front page to the inside pages of the section… which is why, on page D2, I stumbled across one of the best, common sense advisory articles on retail technology I’ve read in a long time.

 Entitled “Building Self-Service That Works,” it was written by customer service and marketing strategist Micah Solomon, a fellow that, by the looks of his web site ( is both plenty busy and pretty damn smart.

 Smart in that it’s clear, for Micah Solomon and his clients, self-service is not about the technology.

 It’s about anticipatory customer service, the type that aims (like the Ritz-Carlton) to address “even the unexpressed wishes” of guests. It’s about positioning (and delivering) self-service as one of many customer service channels. It’s about offering customer escape hatches along the decision journey – and about constant monitoring and regular review and revision.

 And most of all, it’s about respecting usability as a science – one with a knowledge literature, one requiring hypothesis-driven iterative testing, one with time-proven and replicable results.

 Bottom line: in Micah’s world, it appears that technology is not the destination, but the path.

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  1. Dear Mr. Stine, I am so grateful you enjoyed my article so much, and shared your thoughts with your readers. If anyone is interested in learning more, consider having me come speak to your event, or get a free chapter of my upcoming book (which includes more on both self-service and traditional customer service) I’d be more than pleased to hear from you at or

    Many thanks!