6 ways to increase IT self-service adoption
· 04 mins read
Self-service is everywhere. More and more consumers are using do-it-yourself stations to book movie or flight tickets, withdraw cash from ATMs or simply make other banking transactions.
Embracing this trend, many IT organizations have a self-service portal to the help desk to catch up with the increasing ticket volumes, to reduce efforts and costs, and most importantly, to automate routine incidents that don’t require a technician’s assistance. This is so organizations can handle more business-critical responsibilities.
However, contrary to other sectors, self-service in IT isn’t taking off as fast as you’d expect. Here’s an interesting observation from Gartner: By 2016, 20 percent of infrastructure and operations (I&O) organizations will incorporate consumer self-service practices into their IT self-service strategies, up from less than 5 percent today. Surprisingly, that’s still a low adoption rate! So, when your users are slow in adopting the self-service technology, what can you do to encourage adoption? Here are some self-service best practices that we follow to foster engagement and repeat visits by end users.
Build an Informative Homepage
The first impression is the best impression. Like the old adage goes, your self-service portal homepage can impress and get your end users on board and even make them stay.
It’s best to have an informative homepage that makes it clear how end users can access the self-service solutions. Make sure end users can raise and track an incident (and track progress along the way), raise a service request or even do a profile update.
A separate tab can be included for announcements that affect the end users. Key information like service disruptions, scheduled outages and product news can be listed under this prominent announcements tab. Keeping your end users informed of any service disruption will dramatically reduce the number of calls to your IT help desk. You could even integrate multi-channel support like live chat or forums on the homepage.
Create Templates for Faster and Effective Incident Reporting
Oftentimes, your end users can find it irritating to fill the overwhelming number of report fields while creating an incident, particularly for repetitive or commonly occurring types of incidents. If your end users need to fill in the same information again and again, such as category, priority, title, description, priority and so on, readily available incident and request templates can help pre-fill a number of these fields, consistently and automatically, for different types of tickets.
So, let’s say you build a template for the most common incident like password reset. Your end users can choose the password-reset template each time an incident needs to be logged, and all the necessary information relating to that particular incident is auto-filled. This will be a huge time saver for both the end users and technicians.
Ensure Easy Tracking, Navigation and Search
Your self-service portal should have more than just a pretty interface. What’s important is to make your end users experience the “easiness” of using your self-service portal with a user-friendly design and easy navigation, tracking and search functionalities.
One of the biggest time eaters of your service desk agents and end users is tracking help desk tickets. When end users log into the self-service portal, they should be able to easily determine what stage a ticket is in, which technician is working on it or its place in the queue. This keeps the end users informed and reduces the calls to the service desk.
Facilitate Seamless Login
Your end users have to access multiple applications in a day, which leaves more passwords to be remembered. It is no wonder that help desks have an influx of password reset calls. When you give your end users an easy single sign on (SSO), they’re more likely to use the self-service portal.
More than anything else, SSO enhances the end-user experience by making the login process quick and simple. With SSO, you can reduce the chances of forgotten passwords thereby increasing technician productivity and reducing help desk costs. The login screen is where the first interaction between you and your end user takes place. So it’s important that you give a great experience right from the start.
Create a Sound Knowledge Base
In most organizations, there is no knowledge base, or there is no knowledge in the knowledge base (no pun intended). A relevant knowledge base will allow end users to self-solve common issues by reading the solutions without having to pick up the phone or send an email.
For an effective knowledge base, the solutions need to be categorized in order to facilitate an easy search, a topic or keyword-based search can be included and potential knowledge base articles can be flagged. Further, your knowledge base solutions should have a consistent format; include hyperlinks for external references, relevant tags and keywords; and videos and images.
Get the Word Out
So you’ve rolled out your self-service portal with everything that matters most to your end users, yet the problem of low user acceptance persists. The culprit is usually not the technology, but the modus operandi.
One of the ways to maximize user adoption is to create an awareness of the recent developments in your self-service, convey the value of these developments, and most importantly, let your users explore the portal with minimal assistance.
It’s important that you get the word out through various channels like newsletters, social media, forums or support calls. For their part, your technicians can educate the users on the benefits of using the self-service portal, such as avoiding call waiting times, convenience on the go, easy templates to create incidents and your extensive knowledge base.
The results of self-service are undeniable — empowering your end users to help themselves means they get the service they need, on their terms and improved ROI. Following these best practices will not only allow you to tap into the full potential of your self-service portal but can greatly impact your company’s bottom line as well.
This article was originally published in Medium.
About the author
Meghna Reddy, Product Marketing Manager