Service portal adoption can be one of those never-ending goals service desk agents and SysAdmins have. Whether you already have a service portal implemented or are just exploring the benefits, they can be a critical piece of your IT service management strategy.
In this post, we’ll start with the basics – a few simple benefits of self-service portals you can take advantage of today to create an experience employees will love.
1. Minimized Involvement by Service Lines
A self-service portal not only simplifies employee service requests, but it also enables employees to find solutions and information independently.
Your team drafts really great answers to various issues, but are you saving these well-documented answers for other agents to use? That’s where building out a knowledge base can really help not only requesters, but also other agents responding to similar incidents.
The knowledge base component of self-service is crucial to any service desk by helping to minimize the involvement of IT technicians or employees in other service lines that otherwise would get flooded with emails or simple FAQs.
Responding to emails or Slack messages from employees all day can be time-consuming and inefficient, and one of the main reasons for implementing a service portal is that it is easy to use and efficient.
2. A Branded Experience for Maximum Usability
Not all service portals are created equal, and many leave room for aesthetic improvement.
Too often an internal service portal feels like a third party site, and an employee is going to assume that their ticket is just going to go into the abyss, never to be answered or addressed. Adding an attractive on-brand banner image, company logo, custom favicon, and brand colors are a few ways to provide employees with a familiar look and feel. This way your employees know that someone internally (possibly in the same office as them) is focused on their issue or request.
These easy-to-implement customizations can help you achieve a consistent brand experience from your website or application to the portal, and they give admins the flexibility to highlight the information most important to users.
3. Company-wide Announcements to Keep Everyone on the Same Page
Company-wide emails or chat alerts are common methods organizations use to make employees aware of important information. The service portal can serve as yet another touchpoint for providing important notices or alerts to employees, helping ensure they don’t miss these updates.
Setting an announcement on your service portal homepage can serve as a simple option for providing even greater visibility. Consistently using the service portal to post announcements is also a good way to encourage employees to use the portal as both a go-to source for issues and requests, as well as for pertinent updates from IT.
In SolarWinds Service Desk, these types of announcements can appear as a ribbon on the homepage of your service portal. Whether there is planned downtime coming up, an unexpected email outage, or other issue that impacts the broader organization, the portal announcement gives your IT team an easy way to say “this is happening, and we’re on top of it.”
4. Easy to Access Resources
Whether it’s your menu bar, a banner image, or simple text links, making the user experience as intuitive as possible from the moment employees first visit the portal is key for making it a place they feel comfortable using again and again.
The Impact of AI-powered Search
The search bar is critically important to the service portal in the modern service desk, since it is much more than what you might expect with a basic search function.
Using the power of AI, requesters can easily view multiple recommended articles generated from search data that has already been collected. Using autofill functionality, content like knowledge base articles or suggested service requests allows requesters to find the information they need as quickly as possible.
Over time, the service desk becomes smarter in regards to user intent, improving the experience for requesters as it collects and analyzes more and more user data.
For more information on other areas where AI and machine learning are making the service desk smarter, check out our post What Makes a Smart Service Desk to learn 5 key areas that could be saving you time.
Categorizing Content in Sections
To make things even easier, one idea that you can implement is to divide sections of your service portal into sections users are likely to frequent.
While the search bar is an obvious place to start for most users that are looking for specific solutions, organizing content into sections below the fold can make it easy for users to know where to look in the future for their active requests, for example.
Pointing users in the right direction using quick links and menus can provide helpful articles or setup guides users may not have thought of when first visiting the portal.
5. More Complete Information When Tickets are Submitted
While a key benefit of a self-service portal is customizable forms that make it easier for technicians (whenever requests are actually submitted) by asking for more complete information.
Artificial intelligence has made it easy to complete these forms by suggesting categories or subcategories likely to complete the request, kicking off workflows that get certain requests routed to the right person or department.
By asking for categories, subcategories, and other form fields up front, you can help eliminate back and forth communication technicians may need to ask to complete a request – like whether this is a hardware or software issue.
Take Advantage of the Service Portal Today
Whether you need to provide a better portal experience than what you already have, or you are starting from scratch, it’s never too late to take advantage of a self-service portal created with ITIL best practices in mind.
To learn more about what the service portal offers, start your free trial of SolarWinds Service Desk today.
About Baxter Overman
As Marketing Communications Specialist, Baxter helps create content that addresses the challenges IT leaders face everyday, and how IT service management can make life easier for those involved.
Read more articles by Baxter