3 Key “Ingredients” for IT Self-Help Adoption: A Recipe for Success (just in time for the holidays!)
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The key to accelerating success, and ultimately ROI, with IT self-help is really no secret – It’s user adoption. If more end users engage self-help, feel empowered and are successful at solving their own problems, then you should have less tickets coming into the service desk. Less tickets for your service desk staff means more efficiencies, lowering the cost of service delivery. And as a bonus, your service desk can focus on more pressing issues and new innovations.
All of this makes logical sense but what do you need to do to improve user adoption of your self-help initiative so you can ensure this success and realize ROI? In the spirit of next week’s Thanksgiving holiday, let’s look at some success criteria from a pie baking perspective. I’ll examine the tools and ingredients you should use to entice end users to your self-help solution like they are drawn to the dinner table at Thanksgiving.
Before we get into these ingredients, if you are unsure of the difference between IT self-service and self-help, you probably want to check out one of our blog articles written by Stephen Mann called IT Self-Service vs Self-Help – No They Aren’t The Same for some background on the differences between these two solutions. It will help you understand how they work together to contribute to the success of your IT organization.
3 Ingredients for IT Self-Help ROI
1) Consumer-Grade Features
Think of consumer-grade features like the foundational ingredients of a pie crust such as flour, salt, butter, sugar, and water. If you skip one of these items, you are likely to end up with a mess of a pie that nobody wants to eat…and a pie that nobody will eat is a waste of time and money.
So how do you make sure what you’re serving is gobbled up by the masses? Your users must feel comfortable navigating their knowledge options and have confidence in the tools you provide to them. Otherwise there’s no hope of them coming back for seconds and returning to self-help as a solution for solving their problems without assistance.
Two features that are mandatory include strong search capabilities and a modern user interface that works on any device. These are both foundational “must-have” features because it allows end users to interact with self-help as they would interact with any other app in their personal lives. We all prefer powerful search engines to locate possible solutions and we want to access this information anywhere, any time and from any device.
2) An Intuitive and Integrated Portal
Your self-service portal can be considered the completed crust of your pie. It’s what holds everything together and gives the end user their first impression of the quality of your dessert. As the saying goes, you eat with your eyes first. If your portal is not intuitive or is lacking integration at first glance, no one is going to want to use it.
HDI (US) and SDI (UK) survey’s report that over 80% of organizations have now invested in some form of self-service technology but roughly only 17% of organizations think that they have realized the expected benefits.
We have already established, via Stephen Mann’s blog above, that self-service and self-help are different solutions that deliver different solutions, but they are implemented in a similar fashion and require similar conditions to yield the strongest ROI. Integrating both solutions in one place allows you to point your end users to a single point of interaction where you can consolidate your self-service and self-help investments.
For example, if an end user searches for “iPhone Email Issue” in your self-service portal, the search should return results for both submitting a service request for assistance and knowledge articles that could help them to resolve the issue themselves. If integrated fully, the end user should be able to try the knowledge article first but still have the option to submit the service request afterward, if they are unsuccessful.
3) More Accurate and Engaging Knowledge
The delivery of knowledge is often overlooked when implementing methods for end-user self-help. Most organizations struggle to maintain knowledge without giving a second thought to if the knowledge is accurate, useful or interesting.
However, you must take knowledge seriously if you are to be successful in implementing self-help. This is your filling and it’s the ingredient that can really differentiate your pie. The quality of the ingredients and taste of the content will ultimately determine if end users feel that it is worth their time and effort to come back for another slice.
If you want end users to continue using self-help, you must ensure that you are providing real solutions in a way that they can consume and understand. You should make sure you have a sound process for evaluating the accuracy and success of your organization’s knowledge and explore tools that allow you to track usage of knowledge in your organization. You should also implement knowledge in a more dynamic way than traditional knowledge articles housed in a document repository of flat instructional guides. Explore knowledge flow software where you can take instructions from knowledge articles and “mind-map” them into workflows where end users can interact with knowledge in a more logical, branching, question and answer format.
Although there are many factors that can play into the success of IT self-help adoption, these are 3 key “ingredients” you should focus on to ensure your end users will “help themselves” to many more servings of knowledge, deflecting tickets from your service desk for years to come, after you have implemented your self-help strategy.
Justin has over 10 years of experience in the IT industry including roles in IT support, IT operations and technology sales and marketing. He has spent the last several years in the ITSM field developing expertise in Service and Asset Management, among other passion subjects such as Agile Methodology and Software Integrations. Outside of work, Justin spends all of his time with his family, improving his golf game and rooting for his favorite college and professional sports teams.
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