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Building Success with Self-Service Portals

Customer service has changed dramatically over the last decade. Customers no longer want to wait in long queues to make a phone call, nor do they want to use email. They want easy access to the Internet using mobiles and tablets. Fast, personalized experiences on portals have enabled customers to get easy access to information they need using self-service. IT self-service support reduces the cost of IT services and support by resolving end-user issues at a lower cost. However, self-service works well only for specific services such as how-to requests, FAQs, and password resets.

Organizations need to understand that implementing self-service will only reduce the volume of services. Some issues will still need help from the IT service desk and/or assistance from a support technician. IT leaders need to understand the areas where self-service can be leveraged, and what benefits it delivers to end-users. Many users are aware of the existence of IT self-service support, but do not understand how it functions, how it can be leveraged, or its benefits. Popularizing self-service requires marketing efforts, specifically directed at such users or users who do not see the value of self-serve and prefer calling the service desk. Efforts should also be made to maintain a knowledge base where articles are continuously updated. Articles that do not fix the problem or are difficult to understand do not establish the credibility that IT self-service portals need. Also, the wider the range of services supported, the more difficult it becomes to keep these knowledge articles up-to-date.

IT self-service requires the right companion tools and processes for successful implementation. End-users want an IT self-service portal where knowledge is readily available, and the interface is intuitive. They do not care about the processes or roadblock issues that prevent the organization from providing correct and up-to-date information.

Password problems make up 20 to 30 percent of IT service desk volume, with most of the issues resolvable by password reset tools. Automating this function will save organizations the costs of supporting such requests.

There are many such examples across industry. In the travel industry, passengers who earlier used airport counters to check in now use self-web check-in from a self-service portal or airport kiosks — making the entire process paperless and timesaving. Banks that required physical presence and lengthy form-filling now provide options to open accounts online. Current banking trends include self-service options for credit card application, location of ATMs, money transfers, bill payments, and mailing checkbooks.

Self-service is imperative for organizations to improve customer satisfaction and lower costs. A customer portal provides self-service to employees, customers and partners. It has an easy-to-use interface that allows users to access information to address issues. It also helps to manage a healthy customer relationship and allows users to view knowledge base, invoice, quotes, products, services, documents, contacts, accounts, assets, and projects related to them or their organizations.

A consistent self-service experience across all services can be provided with the help of a single responsive portal that:

  • Enhances user experience
  • Improves efficiency and customer satisfaction through new capabilities and features
  • Enables users to spend less time searching

A self-service web portal must have the following features to be successful:

  • Role-based access: A user’s profile helps in capturing user defined attributes and roles 
  • Standardized onboarding and off-boarding processes for employees, contractors, and others
  • Only authorized persons must be allowed to request resources
  • One or more approvals must be required for each request

Self-service portals are important to successfully conduct business with customers, partners, employees and citizens. Today’s tech-enabled users interact with organizations through a web-based interface on a computing device or mobile. With employees increasingly using smartphones, tablets and cloud apps, organizations must think of ways to help them access resources remotely. In such a scenario, a self-service portal can be a valuable tool to ease the day-to-day operations of support teams.


Great to see NIIT Tech Blog Page!

Very good Article Ashish.

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