The lens of Self-Service is exactly as it sounds. This principle is usually applied as follows:
1. Make an object serve itself by performing helpful auxiliary functions
a. i.e. A soda fountain pump that runs on the pressure of the carbon dioxide that is used to “fizz” the drinks. This assures that drinks will not be flat and eliminates the need for sensors
2. Use waste resources, energy, or substances
a. i.e. Use food and lawn waste to create compost
In other words, Self-Service implies that either the customer or the product serves itself. For instance, the Google algorithm used to generate search results applies the Self-Service lens. The algorithm is a type of Self-Service because the program is constantly updating itself.
Diapers, Diabetes, and Daddies
Medical supplies are a great example of Self-Service. Consider the home pregnancy test. Couples can find out whether or not they’ve conceived a child without ever leaving the comfort of their own home.
Diabetic testing products are also Self-Service. Blood sugar monitors, insulin pumps, test strips, and meters work to measure insulin levels in the blood stream so that the patient can adjust their medication or insulin supply to keep their levels normal. This self-serve aspect of the testing supplies allows diabetic individuals to lead a more normal life, without having to make constant visits to their physician.
One new product, a do it yourself DNA test, allows parents to establish the paternity of their children. The Identigene, sold by Sorenson Genomics of Salt Lake City, lets users answer paternity questions in the comfort and privacy of their own home. The company expects to sell about 52,000 tests this year .
Fast-food restaurants are another application of this lens. When you visit a McDonald’s or Burger King, you are your own waiter. You walk to the counter to place your order, fill up your drink, gather your condiments, and pick up your own food. When you are finished eating, you put away your own trash. Fast-food chains rely on this self-service element to keep their prices low.
Look at the recent advancements made in Self-Service centers at grocery stores and home improvement centers. The self-check lane used to be a huge pain for customers. However, in the last year and a half or so, the reliability of these service stations has greatly improved. Customers like scanning and bagging their purchases themselves, rather than having to rely on a cashier – and as consumers continue to flock to these Self-Service centers, more improvements will follow.
Self-Service has also made its way into the airline industry. Fliers can swipe a credit-card at a self-check-in kiosk and get their boarding pass without ever seeing a human agent.
Is there an element of your product, service, or business that could be made Self-Service?