FAQ: How Do You Get Your Customers to Use Self-Service?

HDI members are a group of community-minded problem solvers. They take their jobs of managing people, process, and technology quite […]

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HDI members are a group of community-minded problem solvers. They take their jobs of managing people, process, and technology quite seriously, but they also love to help each other excel in their careers. HDIConnect is a one-stop destination where HDI members gather for peer learning, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. Today, we’re sharing a recent discussion from Connect about getting customers engaged with self-service.

Q: We are trying to enhance our self-service portal to get our internal customers to submit their own tickets as well as search for answers to their issues/questions. We have a lot of information out there, but people don’t like to read. I’m interested in learning what others do to get their customers to use their portal. Thanks for your time.Donna D.

A: I force my members to use it, even if I know the answer. When they call and something is out there, I’ll walk them right where they need to be or go. If they email me, I send them links where they need to access. Honestly, it can be quite a repeatable process until people are used to doing it.

On top of that, we try and either post information on our home page about use (we just did this for self-service account lockouts).

I’m not going to lie. It can be a tedious process. But in the end, they will learn. Or more importantly, if they do find it useful, they will want to go out there vs. calling.Josh S.

A: At the beginning, it is not easy. You have to consistently send users to go back and read the self- service portal and knowledge base. It is also important to make the self-service portal user friendly. Make sure that the portal has a search engine for users to easily find what they want. The ticketing system can also be configured to ask users whether they have first checked the self-service portal or knowledge base.Ayele S.

A: Our organization has made efforts to get in front of our internal clients to make them aware of the knowledge out there and how to use it. We have run contests and awarded the top cost center or top individual who has used knowledge to try and draw people to the content. We also socialize the benefits of our knowledge base and the cost savings.

With relation to self-service, we have done this in our chat space, too. We force a legitimate search to occur before being able to submit a ticket or contact through chat. We did hear some noise at the beginning. But within the first month of the change we saw a significant increase in knowledge usage and a decrease in direct contacts to our service desk.Heather A.

A couple of tips: You said, “People don’t like to read.” Knowledge articles do not have to be written documents. Instead of telling people how to do or fix something, show them with a short screen capture slide show or a video. (Think about all the how-to YouTube videos.)

Also, make sure people can find what they are looking for in the words they are searching onthe language of the customer. This short article explains how and why.

Does your organization have a marketing department or group? If so, remember that those folks are professionals at getting things noticed and making them interesting. Marketing your servicesincluding self-helpis part of your mission, so take advantage of all the resources you have.

Whether you are doing the marketing yourself of having marketing people do it, it’s helpful to have some information about how people see things and what makes a user interface (UI) useful and attractive. See this excellent article on ThinkHDI.com for a detailed look.

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