Kelly Doherty was one of our favorite sessions at HDI 2016 Conference and Expo last week. Her talk “Building a Winning Self Service Portal” just reiterated everything we’ve been focused on throughout the month of April. Self-service and decreasing the ever-flowing emails in your world are critical to the growth and success of your IT team. Allowing your technicians to step out of the routine, mundane tasks through automation not only gives them career growth opportunities, but allows the team to focus in on bigger projects. That’s basically a win-win for your organization, right?
Why is Self-Service Important?
“Users rarely give you all the information you need in an email; it almost always leads to a call back,” said Doherty. “Streamline, remove steps, automate, touch-less transactions.”
Not only is your team spending time (and quite frankly dollars) hunting down the information they need to complete a ticket, users are getting frustrated that they can’t just complete a simple task on their own. Not everyone wants to get on a troubleshooting call for a lost password or a printer issue. Self-service empowers users to resolve some of the basic issues on their own, while also giving them a one-stop shop for their technical inquiries.
Market the Amazing-ness
“They’re not going to use the portal unless there is something in it for them,” said Doherty.
IT isn’t necessarily known for the grandiose skills in marketing and communicating with the company. Determining who your internal and external champions are will help you drive the message about your self-service portal options. Give the users a clear description on the different ways they can use it. If they continue to call into the help desk for simple reasons, offer to walk them through the self-service portal over the phone.
Measure, Measure, MEASURE
“Once you have the data, be intentional about measuring throughout the whole lifecycle,” said Doherty.
How does anyone truly understand the success of your self-service portal if you aren’t tracking, measuring, and sharing? Understanding if usage is going up, what areas of the portal are most visited, and even what the most common ticket is, allows your IT team to adapt and change. If usage is low, how do you better promote it? If usage is high, what other tasks and projects has your team been able to take on? As long as you are tracking, the ROI and successes should be easily visible to the organization and executives.
Don’t Forget to Update
“Do not underestimate how fast your business changes — have a plan to update it,” said Doherty.
A self-service portal is great until it no longer meets the needs of the users. Keeping it fresh and up to date will allow for the IT team to continuously improve in other areas. If there is a new fix available or a change to a current process, utilize the self-service portal and the knowledge base to get that out to the users. The self-service portal is a living, breathing aspect of the IT organization, and something that should be ever-changing as the business scales.
Showcase the Value
“Touch less tickets and reduce call backs, after 4-5 voicemails there’s a hidden cost,” said Doherty. “Take this opportunity to route tickets directly to specific business areas and bypass the help desk.”
Incorporate other aspects of the business into your self-service portal. Every single department in your organization provides some kind of service (many of which are mundane and routine). Bring them into the fold and route tickets that require their input directly to them. Take the middle man out of the equation, not only will other departments appreciate the visibility they gain, your users will quickly begin to the see service levels go up, while the time is takes for a resolution will go down.
About Danielle Livy
Danielle is the Senior Director, Marketing, ITSM at SolarWinds. She has wide-ranging experience in content production, social media marketing, public relations, and brand messaging. Her happy place is sitting by the lake with a cold beverage in hand, with the occasional water ski session.
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