The Top 5 Reasons Self-Service Fails

November 7, 2016
Written by anjalimittal

The benefits of Self-Service have been a subject for discussion for a number of years now.  It is widely understood that introducing Self-Service to your service desk can reduce costs and time as well as improve the customer experience.

The Service Desk Institute (SDI)* reported that 67% of service desk teams predicted that 2016 would see a greater use of Self-Service, even though adoption rates were still a huge concern and a major source of frustration for many desks, with 32% of desks struggling with adoption of their Self-Service portals.

With the same report highlighting that 47% of desks were committing to making Self-Service a success, it is clear that the challenges service desks are facing with Self-Service are far outweighed by the benefits that will be delivered once it has been done well.

This raises the question, why is adoption such a struggle?

There are a number of reasons that Self-Service could be struggling to achieve the levels of adoption that a company has been looking for. Here are our top 5.

One: Lack of awareness

Are your customers actually aware that the Self-Service option exists, and why it could benefit them to use it?  Whether you had a great ‘launch’ of your portal or not, if you do not continue to communicate the availability of this option people will soon forget that it is available and they will revert back to their usual methods – especially if they are not in contact with your service desk on a regular basis.

Two: Difficult to use

Quite simply, if your Self-Service portal is clunky and difficult to use, people just will not use it.

Take the time to look at your portal from your customers’ perspective. A benefit of Self-Service is the improvement of the customer experience, but without looking at it from where they are sitting you are never going to provide a portal which is what they want and need.

Three: Poor quality or lack of knowledge articles

If you do not have the knowledge articles that provide the right answers your customers will have no choice but to use another channel to find their answer.  Spend the time to provide content that will allow your Self-Service users to find the answers for themselves.  (And if they can’t, make it easy for them to log a call via the portal!).

Four: Lack of response and changing perceptions

In the modern age we all expect instant answers – or at least some acknowledgement that we have been heard.  Make sure that any requests logged via the portal get an immediate automated response and an approximate time when they will be contacted – or the means to track this themselves.

Then adhere to these timeframes.

If your customers feel that they are receiving a sub-standard service through this channel, they definitely would not make it their preferred option.

Many people will have the perception that the quickest way to get a response is to call, so if you want to change perceptions then you have to start by proving them wrong…

Five: They have options

Sometimes it is best to ‘the force the hand’ and take away the various options available.  Yes, you want to provide choice, but there are ways to limit the options in order to encourage your customers to try something new.   Ultimately we are creatures of habit and reluctant to change, but by being ‘forced’ to log specific call types in a certain way can encourage those more reluctant users to try something they would never usually attempt.

Getting your customers to adopt to new ways of doing things can be difficult, what other reasons have you found? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter.

*Source: Life on the Service Desk, 2015 Report, Service Desk Institute