A self-service portal gives your organization’s end users the power to solve simple IT problems for themselves, without calling the help desk or submitting a ticket.
And just for that moment, they feel like anything other than a file clerk.
Most end users take enthusiastically to a self-help portal, because they’re used to Googling IT symptoms to gain understanding before submitting a service desk ticket. The benefits of a self-service portal as part of your organization’s IT service desk include lower costs, more satisfied end users (and tech help workers), and significant time savings.
Delivering a great self-service portal experience requires effort, but think of it as a great opportunity to turn your end users from passive IT “customers” to empowered fans who can gain a better understanding of not only how common IT problems are solved, but the point of view of the tech service workers, who can sometimes be isolated from the rest of the workforce. Here are 5 secrets to ensuring that your self-service portal is successful.
1. Know Your End Users
How much hand holding do end users in your organization require when you walk them through IT fixes? Are they comfortable submitting help tickets via email or social media? How conversant are they in IT terminology? The self-service portal for a law firm employing mostly middle aged professionals will be very different from the self-service portal in a young start-up company full of workers under 35 in a BYOD environment. It may be worthwhile to select a handful of end users before creating your self-service portal and talking to them about what they need, what they understand, and what they can and can’t handle themselves.
2. Review, Test, and Analyze
Consider rolling out a very limited self-service portal before deploying the whole thing to get an idea about how receptive people are and what they have problems with. Collect analytics on both the self-service portal and the help desk with regard to specific solutions available through the self-service portal. Do people readily follow the procedure on the self-service portal to reset passwords, or do they still submit help tickets for it? If they’re still submitting tickets, it could mean the self-service procedure is unclear, or simply that they don’t know the option exists. Be prepared to publicize your self-service portal adequately.
3. Get Feedback from End Users
“Hi, this is Sue in Marketing. Can you offer ‘Institute Your Own Pay Raise’ as an option on the self-service portal?”
Suppose 10 random end users mention 10 different things about the self-service portal when you ask for their feedback. Chances are, you’re doing it right. On the other hand, if seven of those 10 complain about a specific aspect of it, you should investigate and try to determine why they’re having problems. A helpful tool you can implement in conjunction with your self-service portal is a feedback poll at the end of the self-service session where end users can say what they found easy or difficult, or features they would like added to the self-service portal.
4. Be Social About It
If you have a companywide social network, use it to promote the self-service portal and encourage satisfied end users to make mention of it when they interact on the network. While you don’t want the service desk’s social account to be an endless string of harangues ordering people to use the self-service portal, you should mention it occasionally, because some people may forget the option exists if they go for long periods without problems. To celebrate the roll-out of the portal, you could even hold a contest where you draw a name of one of the first 20 users of the portal for a prize.
5. Realize That Your Self-Service Portal Must Change Over Time
There can be a certain amount of sitting back and relaxing after your self-service portal is deployed, but the portal will require maintenance. You may want to add other services to the portal, or delete some services when they become obsolete. It’s good to solicit continuing feedback from end users, because they may think of services that are perfect for self-service that IT may never have considered. Like most things IT, your self-service portal should evolve in order to serve end users optimally.