The self-service economy isn't a new phenomenon. It started with ATMs to avoid teller lines at banks. Then, it expanded to pay-at-the-pump gas station service, and now can even be found at department store check-outs and airline ticket counters. The era of self-service has arrived, and the benefits are clear. Self-service is fast, convenient and economical.Customer self-service is also being embraced via the Internet, which today provides companies with an information infrastructure that continues to grow in functionality and bandwidth.

As a result, Web-based self-service has significantly helped to increase customer satisfaction and lower transaction costs. Gartner claims it costs 24 cents for automated service on the Web versus $5.50 to service a customer on the telephone.

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