Service desks are significantly stretched. Driving more from Self-Service and Automation can relieve the workload and provide a better customer experience.
Self-Service seems to be one of the latest buzz words in the IT service management space. It has moved beyond the Gartner Hype Cycle into mainstream. ITSM providers seem to be pushing the Self-Service portal concept, but does the expectation align to the reality of the current IT Service Desk needs?
IT Service Desks have developed massively over the years. They have improved their customer experience and engagement with the end-users. They are solving more problems on the first interaction, rather than having to pass them to other resolver groups and even partner teams. Advances in telephony technology and the integration with the ITSM toolset meant that when the recent crisis hit, many were able to carry on delivering service to their end-users, even while the Service Desk staff were working remotely, often from home.
However, whilst some Service Desks have adopted Self-Service for their user base, it is not as common as you would think. Nor is it as mature as other IT service offerings.
So, how can a Self-Service portal help the Service Desk, the end-users and the business overall? Let’s first look at some of the benefits for the successful implementation of a Self-Service portal solution.
- Reduced calls to the Service Desk: The obvious one, is if you put in place a Self-Service portal, end-users will be able to access the portal and resolve their issues and service requests without contacting the Service Desk via the phone.
- Service Desk Efficiency: The Service Desk personnel become more efficient as they are dealing less with repetitive issues and requests; instead they can focus on more complex issues and through up skilling and cross skilling, increase the first-time resolution rate at the desk.
- Staff and End-User Satisfaction: From a Service Desk perspective, the staff feel that they are more valued, that their skills are being developed and ultimately, it is a place that they want to work. From an end-user perspective, they feel more empowered to deal with their own issues and requests in their own time. Additionally, when they do contact the Service Desk, the improvement in the Service Desk staff morale is passed onto the users, through better first resolution and call interactions. A win-win all round.
- Economies of scale and value realisation: As you scale out the services that the Service Desk offers to the end-users, repetitive tasks can be passed to the Self-Service portal, meaning you do not have to increase staff levels. This volume and staff mix deliver real value to the business.
Below is a list of key areas you need to put in place to make sure your Self-Service solution delivers real value.
- Knowledge Management is critical
Good knowledge management is essential to the success of your Self-Service Portal service. Without good knowledge, well ordered, collated, and reflective of the issues you want your end-users to consume, whatever portal you put in place will fail.
You need to review your Service Desk knowledge base, along with other potential sources, so that they can be integrated with your Self-Service portal. This way, end-users can search for what they need and can find articles, tips and guides to help them resolve their own issues and service requests.
Integrating the knowledge base between the Service Desk ITSM platform and the Self-Service platform also means that there is only “one version of the truth” in terms of knowledge articles; saving time and effort to manage.
- Continual engagement with your business areas and end-users
It’s crucial to engage with your business areas and end-users to understand what they need from a Self-Service portal.
It is imperative to consider the impact Self-Service will have on the customer experience, both as part of the design phase, as well as an ongoing effort. The idea that you “build it” and they come, is open to failure, certainly if you are not constantly reviewing usage and user experience expectations.
- Future services
For future services you might be developing, leveraging the Self-Service portal to reduce workload on the Service Desk is critical. Redirecting common and repetitive tasks – password resets, user access to applications, increasing file storage – are just a few that are early candidates to be automated through the Self-Service portal.
Here at MDB Service Consulting, we have worked with customers at all stages of the development of a Self-Service portal; from concept and business justification; through early development and launch, along with facilitating the business changes needed; to reviewing existing services to identify and manage improvements to the services provided to end-users.
To find out how we can help you, please visit mdbsc.co.uk or get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your Self-Service questions.