The need to say goodbye to emails and spreadsheets for managing service and support in your organization is recognized. Now what? You’ve probably looked internally to obtain a high-level view of requirements for a service management solution. It’s also important to look at the features a solution will offer, with one of those features being the ability to have a self-service portal.
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. Fortunately, a well-designed self-service portal improves both end-user and IT service desk satisfaction, since both sides benefit. Here are 4 ways a self-service portal will save your organization time:
1. Automating Manual Processes
In the old days, someone would call the IT service desk and explain a problem. A service desk worker would then create (often manually) a service ticket that would be assigned to a service desk agent 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 or she 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. 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.
3. Reducing Ticket 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 support or service request. These people (probably a majority of your employees) like the idea of fixing a problem themselves, thereby getting faster response times to their issues by avoiding submitting a ticket.
It’s also important to realize that it can be time-consuming differentiating between incidents and other service requests. It can also be challenging prioritizing support tickets and responding to incident management requests efficiently. Letting users solve their own problems helps to alleviate the burden on service desk agents by reducing the number of incidents that will come to the service desk in the first place.
4. 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. Examples of such problems are resetting passwords, ordering bulk ink and new hardware (like a mouse or monitor). Think of the empowerment end users will feel taking care of problems themselves, when possible. In turn, that will be a boon for the support organization by freeing up service desk workers to tackle more pressing issues. An old proverb says it best: give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Give the users the power to solve their own problems and both parties will benefit.
About Chris Walls
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