Are you building (or have you already) a sleek, self-service portal that nobody uses, because all of your customers still call the IT help desk instead of using the service? Some people take time to adjust to any new system, some simply want to speak to someone directly on the phone, and others just forget the portal is available. How can you get them to try out (and hopefully switch to) the portal, so that your help desk can enjoy that lighter workload they were promised?
1. Get the Message Out
2. Call It Something Catchy
3. Offer Incentives to Using the Self-Portal
4. Don’t Use Jargon in Your Self-Service Portal
5. Keep the Self-Service Portal Updated
6. Receive and Evaluate Feedback from Customers
Sometimes it’s not clear what the customer journey involves when moving from someone who always has to reach someone at the help desk to someone who is comfortable with accessing and using the self-service portal. Be sure you get the word out through every available avenue. Send out email announcements, and place a prominent message on your website. Be sure the portal is touted on your hold messages so that customers waiting to speak with someone knows that there is another option. Also announce the portal in your monthly paper or email bills and on any other printed materials you send out.
“Self-service portal” is kind of a boring name, and it’s not easy to remember for non-techies who aren’t used to such terms. Call it something catchy, like “The Gateway” or “The Answer Box.” If possible, use a name that’s got meaning in relation to your business name or industry.
For customers used to one-on-one time with your help desk workers, some extra incentive might be required to get them to switch over to a hands-off solution. Offer an incentive for using the help desk that they can’t get any other way. For example, offer coupons, discounts, or specials there that customers can’t get anywhere else. Or, begin a loyalty program that is only available or accessible via the portal.
In order for the portal to be useful to those outside your tech department, you have to make sure it’s written for someone who is not at all familiar with your jargon, technical terms, or other difficult-to-understand language. Write it so that it can be easily read and understood by those with little or no tech experience. Writing the entries in the portal so that it’s hard to understand won’t drive more people to use it, that will just prompt more calls asking the help desk what it’s saying.
Make sure the entries in the portal are current. If you are also building a knowledge base, make it clear which articles or entries have the most up-to-date information on any given subject. Modern help desk software makes it easy to enter new articles and information as things change, which will help your workers keep the content of the portal fresh and relevant to the most current status of the business, systems, and applications.
Create a place within the portal so that customers can leave comments and feedback. Also, make sure to assign someone to monitor that feedback for valuable insight into how to improve the self-service portal. By continuing to improve it, regularly updating it, making sure the word is out, and offering incentives to use it, your self-service portal will be a success.
About Chris Walls
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