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IT Benchmarks: Customer Access Channels and Improving Service

By | December 10, 2013 in Service Desk

IT Benchmarks: Customer Access Channels and Improving Service

In this day and age we have access to a lot of data and information, but we don’t always necessarily know how to use it. In a recent presentation that I conducted at the itSMF UK Conference and Exhibition in England, I looked at real numbers and statistics (taken from our own customer-aggregated benchmark data) and discussed ways in which you could utilize the data to help improve basic issues faced on the Service Desk. As many of you would obviously not have been able to see that presentation, I’ve decided to turn it into my very own blog series of benchmarks and advice.

One message that I am keen to make clear with this blog series is that you don’t have to be a SysAid customer to benefit from it. The series will utilize SysAid data, but the advice given will be applicable to anybody within the ITSM industry regardless of which tool you are using. So please help share the advice given in these blogs amongst your peers and colleagues for the benefit of the entire ITSM community.

In the series you can expect to see statistics and advice on:

  • Incident Classification Categories
  • Knowledge Management and Reuse
  • Customer Satisfaction Surveys

If there is anything else that you would like to see addressed as part of this series then please leave a note in the comments section of this article.

Today, we start with looking at customer access channels and how to improve service.

The Benchmark

The average percentage of Service Requests opened via the End-User (Self-Service) Portal is 59.38%.

Service Requests Opened Via the End-User (Self-Service) Portal

This means that roughly 40% of incidents are still being submitted via phone and email. Reasons for this could be:

  • IT hasn’t activated the End-User Portal
  • End users feel it is easier to submit a ticket via email or call the helpdesk
  • End users don’t see any benefits to using the End-User Portal (which could mean that there is a breakdown in communication between the business and IT)
  • End-Users feel that it is too complicated

There are huge benefits to be had for both IT and the business by implementing an End-User Portal (and encouraging people to use it). At a corporate level it can help reduce costs and downtime (therefore improving productivity), and on a personal level it can improve the overall service that a person receives, for example they can report an issue or request a service even if the service desk is shut.

Implementing the End-User Portal is the easy part, selling its benefits to the business is usually where things can become difficult. You need to engender change via carrots, sticks, or carrots on sticks! People need to know why they need to change the way they currently submit tickets and the benefits of change. They need to know and understand both the corporate benefits and the personal benefits – the WIIFM (what’s in it for me).

It could even be that you need to make using the End-User Portal a corporate mandate. For example, “from the 1st of January 2014 everyone needs to use the self-service portal for non-critical incidents and service requests.” The way you encourage use really depends on your company culture.

The Advice

My advice to help encourage your end users to utilize the End-User Portal would be:

  • Communicate the value of the End-User Portal to the business
  • Create pre-defined forms that end users can select based on the most common problems, leaving blanks only if you require specific information (such as serial number); this simplifies the process of them submitting an incident/request
  • Give your users control and better service by:
    • Providing them with visible information on the status of their ticket
    • Enable them to close a ticket (useful in cases where they have solved the issue themselves before you have had chance to respond)
    • Provide Instant Message options within the End-User Portal to allow users to directly contact the Service Desk with simple questions
    • Make your End-User Portal a familiar place – don’t just utilize it for incidents tickets, use it for things such as HR or Finance queries
    • Offer an incentive to encourage end users to submit tickets via the End-User Portal (e.g. for any person who submits 100% of his tickets via the End-User Portal)

As mentioned before, there is great value to be had in using a self-service portal both on a personal and corporate level, and in particular if you are passionate about customer service, it’s really a no-brainer to implement.

Do you have an End-User Portal? If yes, do you know how many of your tickets originate from the End-User Portal? Are you below or above average? If you don’t have an End-User Portal, why not? Please do share your answers, stories and your questions with us in the comments section of this article. We’d love to hear from you.

My next IT Benchmark blog will be on Incident Classification Categories – their levels of use, the problems they can cause and the benefits of simplifying your classifications, so check back soon!

Please share your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook where we are always listening.

Sarah Lahav

About Sarah Lahav

As the company’s 1st employee, Sarah has remained the vital link between SysAid Technologies and its customers since 2003. Current CEO, former VP Customer Relations. Always passionate about customer service! Mother of three adorable children – she juggles work, family, and zumba classes with ease.

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