Self-service close at hand

At the office, we all work long hours in order to meet fast approaching deadlines. The last thing we want is for our basic programs such as Outlook, Word, or Excel to provide us with yet another obstacle to overcome. We do not have the time to contact the service desk for simple tasks. It takes time to contact the service desk, and it can even be a bit embarrassing to ask these questions. I mean, I do not want to be that person that makes the service desk sigh and laugh about. There has to be a better way, right?

Self Service close at handGoogle is a great option for finding answers, however Google can be either a blessing or a nightmare. Employees can find a lot of answers using Google, but these answers are not verified nor approved by the company itself. Also, a lot of the answers we are looking for may be internal solutions not to be shared with the public.

For this reason, many companies have their own knowledge base for their employees. This enables the company to only offer verified and approved answers to help answer reoccurring questions.

Having the answers available in the self-service knowledge base is not always enough though. These days we want the answers presented to us as they occur. Below are a few great ways to encourage employees to use self-service:

Anchor the concept with management

Getting the management to approve and support the concept will help motivate the change in behavior for the employees.

Clearly visible links to the knowledge base on the start page of the intranet

The intranet is a common reference point and a source of information for many employees. This is a good place to start promoting self-service.

Provide an icon on the desktop, or in the Microsoft Office suite

We want answers right away. Making the knowledge base available directly on the desktop start screen or as an icon in the Office programs will help reminding the users that they are “one click away” from help.

Refer to the knowledge base from all outgoing communication from the service desk

Reply e-mail or informational e-mails from the service desk should always provide the link to the knowledge base. Keep promoting it when you have their attention.
This even applies to automated replies when users register a new ticket in the ITSM tool. The telephone waiting line is another great place to inform callers that they can also find their answers in the knowledge base. Nobody wants to sit and wait for someone to answer, this is a perfect place to promote the self-service tool.

Integrate the knowledge base with the ITSM tool

There are many areas within an ITSM tool where a knowledge base really helps. For example, as an employee navigates to register a ticket, provide suggestions from the knowledge base as the employees log in, fill out the form, and before they submit it. All users may not like the option of self-service at first, but keeping the content relevant and providing answers to the most common questions will help encourage many employees to put down the phone and give self-service a try.

These are a few of the ways to encourage employees to start using self-service. Please comment and share your experiences.

Sebastian Teeling, Knowledge Specialist, ComAround

Related links:

KCS – Evolving content based on demand and usage

The hero is the king; not content

KCS – The Hive Mentality (The Collective Experience)

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