For many organisations, how to make self-service work has been on the agenda for years.
And that’s hardly surprising. The benefits are supposed to be huge, ranging from cost savings to higher user satisfaction.
But if you’ve ever tried to implement ITSM self-service, you’ll know it’s far from easy.
In this article, we’ll explain why ITSM self-service is worth your time, what benefits you can expect to see, and how to implement it in the real world… without alienating your user base.
Why Implement ITSM Self-Service?
The key argument for ITSM self-service is simple: logging issues by email and phone is slow and resource intensive.
It wastes time for users, who often need their issues resolved before they can return to work. And it wastes time for IT service desk teams, who spend much of their time dealing with simple queries (e.g., password resets) that could be solved in a few moments if the user had access to the right information or functionality.
Worst of all, when all issues must be raised as a call or email, users with serious IT problems can’t get the urgent support they need. Meanwhile, service desk teams are overwhelmed, leading to poor job satisfaction and high churn rates.
ITSM self-service portals solve these problems by giving user access to the information and functionality they need to handle basic issues and queries. For example, a self-service portal could allow users to:
● Quickly log non-urgent issues and have them automatically routed to the appropriate team.
● View and track the status of open tickets.
● Complete basic tasks like changing or resetting passwords, or ordering IT equipment.
● Find the answers to common IT questions.
For most organisations, this simple functionality is enough to drastically reduce the number of issues that need to be logged by email or phone.
The result: lower costs, happier users, and more satisfied service desk teams.
Tips to Make ITSM Self-service Work
If you have ever tried to implement ITSM self-service, you’ll know it’s not as easy as you’d hoped. While the benefits of effective self-service are clear, convincing users to actually use self-service portals can be tricky. It requires finding a way to change the behaviour of busy end users, and that’s far from easy.
So how can you bring about the cultural changes needed to make ITSM self-service a success?
1. Engage with users through marketing
The words “IT” and “marketing” rarely go hand-in-hand. Nonetheless, using marketing principles and tactics is an excellent way to get users on-side and show them how self-service can make their lives easier.
One proven approach is to use roadshows and/or site visits to build relationships with your user base and promote your self-service launch. This — and other creative engagement methods — will give you an opportunity to demonstrate the benefits of self-service while showing the human face of IT.
2. Think about how self-service can improve the user’s experience
It’s easy to get caught up looking at the IT benefits of self-service and forgetting about the end user. A self-service function should aim to provide a range of services that add substantial value to the end users’ experience of IT.
So ask yourself: what services can you offer beyond the basics to make self-service truly worthwhile for end users? Some things to consider include:
● A truly comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge base, including multimedia tutorials where appropriate.
● Social and communication tools like forums and chat functionality.
● A high-quality user experience and functionality that’s intuitive to use.
● An effective search function.
● Real-time issue tracking.
Always keep in mind that if your self-service portal isn’t easy and intuitive to use, users will resist using it.
3. Show users “what’s in it for them”
Business benefits are great, but what users really care about is how self-service will benefit them. If your self-service portal is comprehensive and well implemented, there will be plenty of benefits to communicate, including:
● Faster issue resolution.
● Shorter wait times for serious issues that require calling.
● A more responsive IT service desk.
Make sure these (and other) benefits are featured prominently in all of your messaging, workshops, and conversations with users.
4. Keep the knowledge base up to date
Nothing will frustrate your users faster than a knowledge base that isn’t kept up to date. In the early days, if a user looks up a query in your knowledge base even once and finds an outdated or unhelpful resource, they are likely to conclude that self-service is a waste of their time. That means more phone calls, more emails, and more irate users.
Keeping a knowledge base up-to-date isn’t easy, but it’s far less time consuming than dealing with thousands of unnecessary phone and email queries. Make sure that maintaining the knowledge base is included in your resourcing plan, and that there’s a formal process in place to promptly identify and update outdated resources.
Real World Success in ITSM Self-Service
So, what does self-service success look like in the real world?
Food wholesaler Bidfood adopted self-service as part of a move to bring its IT service desk back in-house. The company implemented a policy of “only call if you can’t work”, while ensuring all the components of an effective self-service portal were in place.
The result: call volume dropped from 150+ per day to around 30, while customer satisfaction remained above 98% in the 12+ months following implementation.
“Success on day one always meant that our customers should be able to log calls via Self-Service — and that also meant making it easy for them to use and for it to match our brand. 100% positive feedback in our latest customer survey shows we’re listening and getting it right.” — Matt Wilsher, Head of IT Services at Bidfood
Read the full Bidfood case study here.
One company understood the importance of marketing when launching its updated service desk and self-service function. The IT team used a host of marketing tactics to win the support of its user base, including:
● Workshops and open meetings.
● Desk drops of credit card sized ‘how to contact IT’ cards.
● Competitions for early users.
● Cake and other celebrations on launch day.
The result: first week statistics showed close to 60% of issues logged via self-service.
Become the Next Self-service Success Story
Implementing a powerful self-service portal doesn’t have to be hard. With Sunrise, your users can interact with your IT service desk using an intuitive browser-based, self-service portal.
Sunrise makes it easy to implement critical functions like raising incidents and requests, searching for knowledge base articles, and tracking issues or outages.
To find out more, visit our self-service ITSM software page.