5 Powerful Self-Service Features That Will Shift Your Service Delivery into High Gear
Posted by on April 04, 2019
Matt Klassen is the vice president of product marketing at Cherwell. He is passionate about enabling enterprises to accelerate their digital journey through better software and better service. Matt has 25 years experience in developing, architecting, selling, and marketing enterprise software solutions for IT and product teams.
Your IT team is critical to advancing your organization’s digital transformation. But if they’re spending too much time on routine tasks—like password resets and other mundane help desk requests—you’re stuck in low gear. Despite your best efforts to be responsive to your organization’s needs, you don’t have the horsepower to lead its modernization initiatives.
“Shifting left” is the first step to fast forward your service delivery. By moving problem resolution and other activities as close as possible to the end user, you free up resources for higher-value work—like digital transformation initiatives.
Your self-service portal provides the greatest opportunity to shift left. By enabling end users to submit requests and track their own issues, you empower them to solve their own problems, so you don’t have to.
But if your portal fails to deliver the experience and features that your users expect, they’ll continue to rely on more resource-intensive channels. And you’ll stay stuck in the slow lane.
If you’re ready to shift your service delivery into high gear, you need to soup up your self-service portal. Here are the five areas to focus on to gain the speed and agility you need.
1. User Experience
Today’s consumers are your end users. They’re tech savvy and accustomed to researching and solving problems on their own. They expect self-sufficiency, and your self-service portal holds the key. But to unlock its power, you must provide the experience your users expect.
Get out of your users’ way by providing an intuitive portal. Make it easy for them to resolve issues from anywhere—whether on a smartphone in Times Square or a desktop computer in your London office. To deliver a strong experience, your portal should provide:
- Easy access to the most common issues and questions
- Single search functionality to quickly connect users to what they need
- Adaptive and responsive design to accommodate any device
- User-friendly features like localization and intelligent search
This isn’t the place to skimp, so invest in a UI/UX expert or consultant if you don’t have this talent in-house. An exceptional UX will pay dividends in the form of cost savings and efficiencies that result from increased portal utilization. For ideas, view this gallery of IT self-service portals.
2. Knowledge Base
Delivering a great experience also means providing your users with 24/7 access to problem resolution. Your knowledge base can satisfy this need. A well-curated knowledge base will provide your users with a wealth of helpful and up-to-date information, whenever they need it.
Those organizations with the most utilized knowledge bases make knowledge everyone’s job. With the support of people throughout your organization, you’ll have a consistent flow of fresh and relevant content. Some ways you can involve others include:
- Assign coaches to train and guide your users
- Enlist service desk techs to contribute workarounds for commonly reported issues
- Request HR’s help to identify frequently asked HR questions and responses
- Showcase subject matter experts by recognizing them and leveraging their experience
- Tap into marketing’s creative resources to produce engaging content
In addition to providing sufficient content, be sure your knowledge base includes a variety of content types, including articles, videos, long and short pieces, and step-by-step tutorials. By supporting a wide array of learning styles, you’ll help your users grasp what they need, so they can quickly return to the work that sent them looking for answers in the first place.
To really put the pedal to the metal, build your knowledge base around the concept of knowledge-centered support. This approach can help you pick up speed by handling tickets faster, enabling self-service, and optimizing staff resources.
Faster service delivery hinges on helping your end users quickly resolve issues, so your IT team can move the needle on higher-value work. Automation is a high-performance vehicle that will help you do both.
Self-service portals with automated back-end technology help your end users address common requests and resolve standard issues themselves more quickly and efficiently. Start by identifying the low-hanging fruit in your organization. Look for productivity-killing processes that can easily be automated. Some easy places to start include:
- Password resets
- Software downloads
- Status notification and updates
Once you get rolling, you’ll see that the opportunities for automation are everywhere. You’ll not only free up resources to respond to higher-value initiatives, but you’ll likely see significant cost benefits, too.
4. Dashboards & Reporting
Reporting is often overlooked in portal implementations. Yet, it holds the informational power you need to continually improve your service offerings and identify opportunities to operate more efficiently.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) can provide essential information about the adoption, use, and effectiveness of your service portal. And near real-time dashboards and historical reporting provide visibility into this data and enable related analytics.
You can present specific dashboard content in the portal, configured for different users or roles. Your dashboard might highlight:
- Today’s top three issues
- Current call volume
- Tickets in process
The right metrics will go a long way toward improving customer service. When you’re able to identify bottlenecks that are slowing down your team or hindering responsiveness, you can remove them and get on the fast track to better service delivery.
5. Enterprise Service Management (ESM)
Once your self-service portal is operating on all cylinders—delivering a great experience, a purpose-built knowledge base, time-saving automations, and dashboards and reporting that drive efficiencies and service delivery—you can shift into overdrive.
Fast-moving organizations experience the greatest speed and agility when they extend their self-service portals beyond IT. There’s no reason why you can’t do the same. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why you should.
When you extend your portal to other areas of the business, like HR, Facilities, and Security teams, you create a single system of record that simplifies and streamlines processes for your users, and also helps your entire organization go faster.
Ready to Go Faster?
Your self-service portal holds the key to greater speed and agility. When you put your users behind the wheel of a high-performance self-service portal, they’re remarkably competent at managing their needs and resolving their issues. You’re able to give them the self-sufficiency they want, and you’re freed up to go faster than you’ve gone before.
Are you ready to go faster? Read our playbook: 5 Ways to “Fast Forward” IT Service Management.
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