Self-Service for the future

Implementing a successful Self-Service portal takes time – both from you and your customers, so ensuring its success long term is key. Once you have implemented Self-Service to your customers, it is crucial to measure your success and take the opportunity to publish your achievements to the business via the portal, to give weight to your proposition.

Often the reasons for implementing Self-Service is to reduce the amount of customers calling the Service Desk, so it is important to draw comparisons from before and after implementing Self-Service. You can review what areas are working and which areas need improvements and continue to build on the functionality that you offer your customers. We have seen many successful Service Desk’s whereby they start off offering a small amount of functionality to customers and over time grow this portal so that it becomes a go to area for incidents around the business, not just in IT.

One of our customers, leading top UK law firm, measured the changes that occurred over a 2 year period. Before implementing Self-Service, they found that 63% of their incidents were coming in via the telephone, 32% were via email and the remaining 5% were in person. Since implementing the Self-Service portal, as of January 2015, they had found that only 23% of incidents were coming in via the telephone, 36% via email and 28% were now being logged via the Self-Service portal. This is a 40% reduction of incidents coming in via the telephone!

 

How can you maintain & improve customer engagement with Self-Service?

Getting your customers to use the Self-Service portal is hard, but once you have gained their buy-in it is crucial to maintain & improve this level of engagement. Some of the ways that you could do this include:

Monthly customer reviews – once a month look to see which of your customers are not using the Self-Service portal and take a moment to speak with them. Try to understand why they are not using it and take the opportunity to help them with how to use it. When they call in, ask them to try the portal first.

Voluntary training – offer your customers training on Self-Service through voluntary sessions held either at your offices or theirs to help a wider audience on how to use the portal. Also use these sessions to train on new functionality within the portal to ensure those that were using the portal continue to make use of new functionality available to them.

A good reason for both of the above approaches is that slowly but surely more customers will use the Self-Service portal and one of our customers, Trowers & Hamlins, found that they “never had a customer use the portal and not repeat it”. This mixed with positive word of mouth was also very effective at promoting the portal and ensuring customers continued to use the portal and that new customers used to portal too.

Don’t stand still – look for more opportunities for customers to use the portal – when you have customer buy-in to the portal and they are comfortable using it, take the opportunity to review what additional support requests could come through the portal. Perhaps you could log facilities requests or give access to suppliers to view work orders that have been assigned to them.

Don’t forget about the poster – when introducing new functionality to the portal remember to promote it the same way you did with the portal originally. If a customer doesn’t know about the functionality, they are not going to be able to make use of it. Take the opportunity to create a new launch, get people talking about the new functionality and encourage them to try the portal first when they call in.

Overall remember that the Self-Service portal needs to be continually reviewed and improved, using customer feedback and your customers need to be kept engaged with your continued promotion and support.

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