In the world of IT service management, there are considerable advantages to allowing users to resolve issues on their own. It harkens back to that old saying about the difference between giving out fish and teaching people how to catch fish all on their own. For the average users - either customers or employees utilizing a website, application or SaaS, self-service affords them capabilities that in the past were exclusively the realm of IT technicians and or service desk support operators. Today, more than 7 out of 10 consumers expect self-service technology from the companies they do business with, according to an SSI survey. But why do they expect it?
What makes self-service so effective?
The service desk has an obligation to get problems solved quickly and efficiently, but let's face it; achieving high performance in IT service support is often easier said than done. Long waiting times, bringing a help desk operator up to speed, communication missteps, etc. all contribute to longer resolution times. Sometimes the best way to solve customers' problems is to give them the tools to find the solutions for themselves. Self-service skips the trouble of bringing another person into the mix and empowers end users to quickly find what they need and execute on a solution all on their own.
For the average IT technicians behind the scenes, self-service deflects low-level incidents that would otherwise consume a majority of their time. Users get the help they need while the IT department saves resources and frees up its schedule for high-priority tickets. Everyone stays productive. Furthermore, self-service cuts back on training sessions for new workers, focusing instead on more complex problems planning strategy.
However, standard service desk offerings could leave users and technicians wanting. One Nuance survey found a majority of "static" self-service options like Frequently Asked Questions pages only hold their audience's attention for about 10 to 30 minutes before most users give up. Obviously from a user perspective, this could mean a drop in engagement with the solution and overall satisfaction with the product itself. But technicians stand to lose the most, as users may turn to "shadow IT" alternatives that are difficult to manage.
With these issues in mind, IT managers have a responsibility to provide the best, most engaging self-service solutions to their end users. Consider using these self-service optimization tips:
1. A Well Kept Knowledge Base
Self-service ought to run semi-autonomously. Technicians will want to peruse historical incident management data to see what sorts of tickets people repeatedly send in. This will get them started on building a valuable self-service knowledge base. What do your users want to know? Equally important: Do you have an intelligent ITSM service desk solution that tracks and analyzes past tickets from your own organizational history? These are the questions you must ask when defining the best practices your staff will follow to maintain an effective knowledge base solution.
Even the most powerful self-service information is worthless if users can't locate it or are sent all over creation to receive it. Again, these troubles decrease efficacy, and put more pressure on tier one support staff as they opt to reach out to representatives or technicians via email, phone or social media. When all self-service knowledge resides in a single, consolidated library, it makes things much easier for the end users to find what they're looking for.
3. Intelligent Search
Continuing from our last point, if users can't find knowledge base resources vital to their needs as quickly as possible, they're likely to abandon their search. Remember: The sweet spot for users, from problem to resolution, should not take more than 30 minutes. With new tools like intelligent search, end users can take advantage of predictive, type-ahead search functionality so that they can find the answers they need quickly and without headaches.
4. Smart Automation
Why steer users to a solitary, high-functioning knowledge center only to then redirect them to a static FAQ, hotline busy signal, overflowing email inbox or an under-monitored social media account? If self-service seeks to mitigate IT service desk workloads while actually helping users, technicians should leverage automation to perform most, if not all, the work.
Leveraging email automation, for example, is a great way to reach out directly to the end user regarding their recently submitted tickets. With the power of machine learning intelligence, smart-enabled ITSM solutions like ChangeGear can immediately follow up with an end user, and deliver the estimated resolution time specific to that ticket as well as relevant resolution suggestions pulled from the knowledge base. This system gets smarter over time, learning from each and every user interaction.
5. Virtual Chatbots
Perhaps one of the coolest new things to innovate on IT self-service in recent years is the addition of virtual Chatbot assistants built right in the web portal. Using the latest natural language processing technology, these "humanlike" agents act as AI-powered surrogates for low-level support staff so customers can get more engaging support without waiting or using up tier one resources. The end user simply provides details about an incident or issue they're having in a natural way, and the Chatbot intelligently processes their request, fetching helpful resources or knowledge articles that are related to their problem. If the end user incident still hasn't been resolve, the Chatbot can automatically create a ticket based off the details from the conversation text. It's that simple!
The data already shows that end users love interacting with Chatbots when it comes to getting IT assistance. The Nuance survey stated that as many as 71% of consumers prefer a virtual assistant over static web pages when it comes to self-service. It's no secret that customers want to be engaged, and virtual Chatbots are the perfect technology to take self-service to the next level.
Self-service helps those who help themselves, but without an intelligent system in place for grooming knowledge management, ITSM software will suffer just as much as customer experiences. With the launch of ChangeGear 7 and the addition of Service Smart Technology, you can leverage powerful AI-driven intelligence to redefine self-service, so end users can quickly find what they need fast, allowing your support staff to have more time to be strategic.