Self-service portals for the IT service desk are gaining in popularity. It works for the service desk, because it takes much of the stress of answering frequent and repetitive questions. Self-service also works well for the users, because they can get answers quickly and can choose how they access the help they need.
Yet a poorly designed service portal won’t benefit either — the service desk will have to field more calls from people confused about how the portal works, and users won’t get the fast, easy access they desire. Here’s how to design a portal that works for everyone.
Define What Goals Your Service Desk is Trying to Reach
What are your specific goals in developing a self-service portal? Perhaps it’s to reduce the number of phone calls to the help desk by 20 percent. Maybe it’s lowering the time to ticket resolution by 10 percent. State your goals and be specific so that you can assess whether the inevitable design you produce actually meets those goals.
Define What Goals Your Customers are Trying to Reach
You already have the data you need to determine what users want from the portal. Do they want more in-depth instruction? Faster access to help? Is there a particular work issue that users need more help with? Lean on your customer service data to guide the design process and develop a portal that meets users’ needs.
Create a Simple, Intuitive Interface
With customer goals firmly in mind, develop an interface that makes it instantly clear where users should go and what to do for the help they came looking for. Don’t give them a long list of services offered that they have to read through and decide on. Deliver the info via friendly icons that make it instantly apparent where their specific information is. Leave out any IT jargon that would confuse non-tech users.
Give Visitors Lots of Options
Allow the user to select how to get the information they need. Give them instructions for self-help, but also provide options like a community forum, social media help, email to your service desk, a chat feature and a phone number to call. Make the portal accessible to all the popular web browsers and mobile devices. Include a variety of help, including written instructions or explanations (like a whitepaper or ebook), diagrams, video tutorials, podcasts, and other means of communicating the information.
Accept Feedback and Use it to Improve the Service Portal
Don’t look at the self-service design process as a one-time thing. You should constantly be evaluating the portal via the feedback you receive from users and making changes as suggested. If a specific icon keeps confusing them, change it. When the same question comes in multiple times, tweak the portal to make it easier to understand. Revisit the portal as you add new services, take on new software, or change procedures. Don’t forget to remove information that becomes outdated, because old information can easily confuse users.
With a well-designed customer service self-help portal, your service desk will be free to focus on other tasks, such as network security and budgeting for systems upgrades, instead of spending all their time answering the same questions.
About Chris Walls
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