You’ve probably heard by now that IT self-service portals are all the rage. But is it all just a fad or is self-service the direction that every IT service desk needs to be taking?
If you’re sitting on the fence about whether or not your IT department should adopt self-service, please take a look at these 10 reasons why I believe self-service is here to stay and how it will benefit your organization (if adopted correctly).
Your IT service desk is all about providing awesome customer service – this should be the basic first goal of any service desk. And part of providing a service that wows customers is giving them what they want and expect.
Without running any customer service surveys, I can confidently tell you that your customers definitely want and expect speedy service, speedy resolutions, and answers probably before they’ve even asked their questions. Why? Because we’re living in a fast-paced world where we – as consumers – can often get what we want, when we want it. This kind of living is making us impatient and any time we can’t get an instantaneous response we’re likely to get annoyed quickly, particularly if something is wrong and we need it fixed.
The art of waiting is lost, and IT departments need to catch on to this if they hope to continue achieving high-level customer satisfaction scores.
Customers want quick and easy, and self-service can deliver.
In our personal lives, it has become the norm for us to look online – usually using our phones – to find answers to our issues within seconds. So why should this be any different for an end user with an IT query?
Self-service gives your customers the power to find their own answers – they feel empowered, because they can begin resolving their own issues, and they don’t get impatient waiting for one of your busy service desk agents to pick up the phone.
If they do need a ticket opening, they can log it themselves, get regular and accurate updates, and even close it if they no longer need it. It’s all about more efficient communications and actions, and self-service can enhance these for you.
Do you look at your weekly service desk stats and see the same ticket subjects cropping up again and again? Tickets that all your end users seem to log, tickets that are easy to deal with but collectively take up significant service desk agent time, and tickets that, if they didn’t exist, would make those service desk stats look so much better?
The best example of this kind of repetitive tickets is the dreaded password reset. End users get annoyed because they have to phone the IT service desk, agents get annoyed because resetting a password is boring (and they seem to be doing it all the time), and IT management might get annoyed because they “ruin” the weekly stats.
With self- service, your customers can reset their own passwords. Huzzah!
Fewer tickets, better stats, happier customers. Cool!
Self-service can help your IT department to become more efficient by acting as a one-stop shop. Whether your end users need to log an incident, a request, a change, or simply find an answer to their query, they immediately know where to quickly find help.
And when your customers serve themselves – whether they’re solving their own incidents or logging their own tickets – it means that there’s less work coming in to the IT service desk. Such that the service desk agents have more time to do the work that can sometimes get forgotten about (for instance, updating process documentation).
If you’ve got a great IT self-service portal you can also use templates to ensure that your agents are getting the exact information from your customer at the point of logging their incident. This stops any “toing and froing” that can be caused when technical teams can’t work on an issue, or request, because they don’t know enough about it.
Because your service desk agents aren’t dealing with repetitive tickets anymore, the work they’re doing feels more meaningful and they’re able to concentrate on the more difficult technical issues. This means that they feel like they’re really helping people while also building on their own troubleshooting skills through more meaningful work. Ultimately, taking on more challenging tasks is far more satisfying than repeating the same fixes every single day.
Another effect is that their workload gets reduced too because your self-service portal is reducing the number of tickets and phone calls to the service desk. This leaves your agents more in control of incoming queries and existing tickets, and the more in control they are, the less stressed they’re going to feel.
When you implement self-service, you have the ability to begin reducing the resolution time of your tickets.
You can collect all of the information required at the start of the ticket’s journey and ensure that it’s triaged (automatically) to the correct resolver team who can begin work right away. This cuts out those often-unnecessary steps that can cause service level agreement (SLA) breaches.
When self-service is really working for you, it prevents tickets from even being logged because it guides end users to helpful knowledge articles that will resolve their queries for them.
Self-service can help you to improve your major incident communications within your organization.
During a business-affecting outage you should look to automate your major-incident communications as much as possible while ensuring that they’re accurate and provided consistently until the outage is resolved. Having a self-service portal for customers to go to means that you can display outage banners with the relevant information that often take only seconds to implement and read. You might also be able to customize your self-service portal to contact key stakeholders via their preferred method to alert them to the issue.
The same can be done when your organization has a maintenance window planned and there will be known downtime. Here, using the self-service portal as one of the channels to issue your communications, will ensure that the relevant people are advised, or reminded, with plenty of notice.
It’s true that implementing a self-service portal can be viewed as costly, in terms of the design and delivery, however, there’s certainly the potential for costs to be saved in the long run.
Your self-service portal (providing that it’s set up correctly) works much quicker than any service desk agent, which means more work gets done and costs are saved. Self-service can also be far more accurate too, and by eliminating human error you can avoid the sometimes high costs of fixing such mistakes.
Finally, when your end users are serving themselves, and resolving their own issues, you’re able to save on support costs.
Self-service will work for your end users around the clock, long after your service desk agents have shut down shop and gone home.
With self-service, if a customer has a query, then they don’t need to wait until the morning for an answer. They can either self-help or, if they want to log a ticket, they can use the self-service portal and the ticket will be with the resolver group (which might be operating 24/7) instantly.
End users can thus be opening, updating, and even closing tickets 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Looking back at the other nine reasons – would you say this sounds like a win-win for all involved?
Self-service can improve your provided customer experience (CX), make your IT service desk agents happier, bring efficiency to your IT department, and help you to cut costs.
Happier customers, happier employees, happier management. I’d say that’s a definite win-win!
One final point to consider here though is that while it’s true that a self-service portal can bring your IT organization all of this (and more), it’s also true that it requires a lot of work (please check out Joe the IT Guy’s helpful tips here) to get it right and to maintain success levels. A self-service portal can become outdated pretty quickly – both in terms of content and the offered capabilities – if people don’t keep on top of it, and an outdated portal isn’t going to do your organization any favors.
If you’re willing to put in the work needed you can be sure that self-service will work for your organization.