There are many advantages to a self-service portal, both to the service desk and to the users. The service desk can be freed from endless hours on the phone or email, answering largely redundant questions. In short, self-service reduces repetitive tickets.
The challenge is helping users understand advantages available to them through self-service. They can get fast, easy access to the information they need without having to place a call, wait on hold, or wait for response to a ticket. Old habits die hard, so you’ll need to make the portal so great that it can’t be denied. Here are some tips to help make your self-service portal a resounding success for all parties.
1. Make It User Friendly
If users have trouble understanding the portal or getting the information they need, they won’t use it, and those calls/emails will continue to pour into the help desk. The portal should open to a well-designed, attractive, informative home page that makes it clear how to proceed. The search function should be prominent. Modern solutions will suggest knowledge articles for simple troubleshooting or service catalog items for common requests. Users will immediately appreciate the benefit of a “smart” solutions feature, quickly answering their searches with ways to address the issue themselves.
2. Make It Mobile Friendly
Most businesses aren’t just catering to office workers on desktop PCs. The help desk software needs to accommodate mobile workers. A simple, easy to understand portal will translate better into a mobile interface. Be sure to test the mobile interface thoroughly. If your workforce is BYOD, or makes use of a variety of devices, test for each type of device, operating system, and browser in use.
3. Make It Dynamic
No self-service portal is designed perfectly the first time for life everlasting. You need to build it to be dynamic, so that it can be altered and added to when new software is in play, when hardware is updated, or when the company invests in new applications. The look and feel of the modern portal is largely customizable, so make sure you always give users a portal that feels like home.
4. Make Reporting Features Robust and Informative
Since users won’t be in communication personally with the IT service desk as often, it’s important to include features that will report important information back to IT. This will alert the help desk early when there are networking issues, problems with the system, or important security issues going on. Decide what your help desk needs to know, and build in ways to generate those reports when designing the self-service portal.
5. Give Users Options for Getting Help and Connecting With the IT Service Desk
In order to serve all users with all technical skill levels, offer them a variety of options for contacting the service desk. Common communications include providing email and/or chat help features in addition to the old phone call. You can also consider including a forum-type method for users to help other users with frequent issues, as well as social media-type interfaces that allow users to communicate with users as well as with help desk workers. This is a great way to monitor how the new self-service portal is being received and make necessary tweaks to improve functionality, usability, and overall user satisfaction.
This post has been updated from its original publish on 4/24/15 to address some recent developments in self-service.