For the last few years, employee self-service access to IT services has been offered as up as a key way to reduce costs, speed up resolution/provisioning, and deliver a better service experience. According to both North American (HDI) and UK (SDI) data, over 80% of IT support organizations have already invested in some form of IT self-service technology. It all sounds great until viewed through the lens of benefits realization, when – according to SDI research – only 12% of organizations have realized the expected benefits from their investment in self-service for IT.
So, what can your organization do to increase the chances of self-service success? This blog offers up ten tips that will help.
1. Focus on your people, and people change, not the self-service technology.
Obviously, the technology needs to be fit-for-purpose, but this is not enough. Your organization needs to recognize that the introduction of self-service isn’t just the implementation of new technology. More importantly it’s a change in the way of working that needs the application of organizational change management tools and techniques to bring employees along with the change.
2. Make the introduction of self-service about a better customer experience not cost savings.
The simple application of logic is needed here. If a new solution is introduced merely to save money, then the likelihood is that it will not be something that employees will willingly use – and thus the limited use means the anticipated benefits will not be realized. However, if a self-service capability that employees want to, and do, use is created – the usage volumes will allow the anticipated benefits to be achieved. Ultimately, if self-service isn’t the easiest route to services and support, then why would employees choose to use it?
3. Don’t assume that employees will just use the newly offered self-service capabilities.
The assumption that employees will use corporate self-service capabilities just because they do so in their personal lives is a bad one. It misses the facts that corporate self-service capabilities might be a pale imitation of their consumer-world counterparts and the presented corporate use-case scenarios might be totally different to those in employees’ personal lives. Instead, any new capability will need to be marketed, remarketed, and remarketed again.
4. Still offer choice of access and communication channel.
Just because self-service is available, and one of a limited number of channels, doesn’t mean that employees will use it. Organizations need to realize that self-service isn’t going to be the best solution for employees all of the time and they need to continue to provide a range of channels. The key is to instead make self-service the best channel (in the eyes of employees) such that they proactively choose to use it (and help to realize the anticipated benefits). If people feel forced to use the self-service channel and it’s not fit for purpose, employees will either seek help elsewhere or simply suffer in silence.
5. Recognize that self-help is an important part of self-service.
While end users self-logging their issues is a help for under pressure IT service desks, the real benefits to both IT, employees, and the organization’s bottom line come from employees helping themselves, i.e. self-help. And this is amplified through the use of quality knowledge and automation.
6. Assess existing knowledge management capabilities and “reinvest” as needed.
Following on from the previous tip, the successful capture and reuse of knowledge requires cultural change. Knowledge sharing needs to be embedded into operational processes and employee recognition and reward frameworks. Plus, there needs to be a sufficient level of knowledge – in terms of both quantity and quality – for the self-help elements of new self-service capabilities to work. A technique called Level Zero Solvable (LZS) will help here.
7. Don’t assume that any self-service technology will do.
Unfortunately, not just any self-service technology will do. Instead it firstly needs to be easy to use and offer a good customer experience – otherwise why would employees use it when it’s easier to just call up? Secondly, it needs to be able to automate the remediation of common issues and the provisioning of common service requests. And thirdly, it should be easy to configure to meet specific organizational and employee requirements.
8. Don’t ignore existing corporate automation capabilities.
Great self-service capabilities have a great front end and a great back end – with automation leveraged wherever possible to deliver a better, faster, and cheaper solution. In terms of the latter, don’t seek to reinvent the wheel – instead, when appropriate to do so, use existing corporate automation capabilities to automate resolutions and provisioning.
9. When planning for IT self-service look wider than the IT use cases.
Your organization’s investment in self-service for IT will also be applicable to other corporate service providers such as HR, facilities, and legal. Whether this is done as an enterprise service management initiative or otherwise.
10. Don’t think you’ve finished in getting self-service right.
This applies to not only after introduction or the hitting of a key success milestone. Employee expectation will change over time (most likely as their consumer-world experiences continue to improve). As will the consumer-world self-service technologies that influence them. So never stop questioning the suitability of the self-service status quo and the opportunity to improve further.
So there you have it, our 10 tips for anyone looking to get started with self-service. Would you have included any others? Please let us know in the comments.