Web self-service is a type of electronic support (e-support) that allows customers and employees to access information and perform routine tasks over the Internet, without requiring any interaction with a representative of an enterprise. Web self-service is widely used in customer relationship management (CRM) and employee relationship management (ERM).
When the support is specific to online employee interactions, the practice is known as employee self-service (ESS). When it is specific to customers on the Internet, it is called customer self-service (CSS).
For employees and customers, self-service offers 24 hour-a-day support, and immediate access to information without having to wait for an email response or a returned telephone call. Ultimately, the success of Web self-service depends upon the quality and quantity of information available and the ease with which it can be accessed.
Deploying Web self-service applications benefits a company in a variety of ways. The most prominent motivation is the lower cost, as compared with telephone or email service delivered by a company representative.
A more controversial enterprise benefit of self-service is the ability it affords the company to gather personal information about the people who use it. Tracking and analysis software may be used to create a pseudonymous profile of the user for research and targeted marketing purposes.