Self-service portals for IT service management are becoming more common as budgetary and staffing demands require that IT service desks do more with less.
The three top drivers for self support, as outlined in a report by Cherwell Software, are budget concerns, staffing requirements, and demand for 24/7 support. Fortunately, a well-designed self-service portal improves both end-user and IT service desk satisfaction, since both sides benefit. Self-service portals save time, and time savings lead to money savings. Here are 5 ways a self-service portal saves you time.
1. By Automating Manual Processes
In the old days, someone would call the IT service desk and explain a problem. The service desk worker would then create (often manually) a service ticket that would be assigned to a service desk worker for resolution. This method of ticket creation is inefficient and error-prone. When an end user logs into the self-service portal, by contrast, he is able to take care of simple fixes like resetting a password without ever having to create a service desk ticket. If an end-user logs into the self-service portal and discovers that no self-service option is available for her problem, she can create a service desk ticket then and there, eliminating the time involved in reporting problems by phone.
2. By Reducing Mistakes
If you have ever had to help someone reset a password over the phone, you know how error-prone this technique can be. Over the phone, “f” sounds like “s” and “b” sounds like “v” and it’s very easy for a caller to misunderstand what you’re saying. Other problems can happen when your company has two employees with the same name, or when you have a multi-lingual workforce. A self-service portal helps ensure that the right Bob Smith gets his password reset, and that you don’t think they said “Excel” when they said “Accel.”
3. By Allowing End Users to Track Tickets
Without end-user ticket tracking, the IT service desk worker turns into the office version of the parent driving on a long road trip, constantly hearing, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” When end-users can easily track the status of their service desk tickets, call volume drops significantly, allowing service desk professionals to spend their time actually resolving problems rather than reassuring end users that their problem is being worked on. And speaking of call volume …
4. By Reducing Call Volume
There will be a few end users who won’t embrace the self-service portal and stubbornly insist on calling the help desk for even the most trivial problem. However, most end users will flock to a well-designed self-service portal because it’s faster and easier. People are used to dealing with all sorts of things online in their personal lives, so they’re comfortable using self-help tools rather than submitting a help ticket. These people (probably a majority of your employees) like the idea of fixing a problem themselves and avoiding submitting a ticket if possible.
5. By Empowering Users and Freeing Up the Help Desk for Bigger Problems
Many “Level 1” help desk problems can be addressed using a self-service portal. It’s almost like that give a man a fish / teach a man to fish parable. Show José in Marketing how to reset his own password rather than resetting it for him every other week, and both parties benefit. Teach Jane in Graphics how to order bulk ink and you both save time. Generally, end users want to be empowered to take care of problems themselves when possible, and this frees up service desk workers to tackle more pressing problems.
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