Efficiency is the most important word in the IT industry. It therefore comes as no surprise that customer service trends continue to move away from the traditional time-consuming phone queue system.
These days, there has been a significant shift towards local self-service systems, in which solutions have been simplified and streamlined in such a way that most types of technology users could solve a common problem within an hour’s time. These types of common issues needlessly clog up productivity and patience for both the users experiencing them as well as the help desk experts responsible for resolving them.
- As high as 40% (Source: gartner.com) of IT service desk contact comes from end users in need of account password resets. This unnecessary load could easily be prevented through automated self-service systems.
From 2013 to 2016, market experts have come to recognize the practice of self-service as a mutually beneficial vehicle both for end users and for businesses alike. Not only is it more cost-effective, but also more time-efficient in comparison to traditional solutions.
- It is no mystery why 67% (Source: gartner.com) of respondents preferred self-service over speaking to a company representative through phone or email. Most people simply desires a quick and easy way to help themselves.
The reliance on ineffective phone support, 1000-page manuals, 48-hour email response, and browsing through obscure online forums may still be the norm for many, but those methods belong to a different era; one that is now becoming more disconnected from the age in which self-service IT repair solutions have reached their current maturity. Swift, easy, and concise information right at their fingertips is what professional consumers really want, and fortunately for them it is here today.
Who, then, are the primary customer types to target when offering a self-service IT repair solution?
1. Startup Companies
Fresh on the market and with a limited budget, yet eager to build their empire. It is perhaps in the interest of every new and modern startup company to streamline their IT team’s list of unresolved tasks with a tailored and cost-effective solution. Certainly, they would rather focus on the development and growth of their business rather than trying to patch a rickety ladder of inconveniences.
This holds especially true for a recently successful startup. With limited manpower and budget, the delivery of quality assistance may not yet have been appropriately fulfilled. Self-service is the most convenient and cost-effective solution to cover potential loss of time due to computer bugs or failure.
“Self-service is both cost-effective and scalable. The 2013 average IT service desk cost per agent-handled contact was $17.88. Comparatively speaking, the costs of building, maintaining and administering IT self- service portal to manage contacts are much lower than the costs of people to support the same contacts. The cost to build, maintain and administer an IT self-service portal can manage contacts at a fraction of the agent cost. Done well, the investment in IT self-service can be offset by the reduction of routine contacts, and better positioned IT support to manage non-routine issues more effectively. Furthermore, IT self-service can scale by providing 24/7 support availability.” (Source: gartner.com)
2. Multinational Corporations
For international enterprises, it is crucial to maintain a flexible and reliable IT infrastructure. The regional time difference between office branches across the globe should never have its flow of operations limited by simple obstacles that could have been dealt with by the end users themselves.
When the support tools are unified and standardized, self-service becomes the most logical and convenient way to handle the lag between regions. The fact that it is more efficient and cost-effective than alternatives on the market just happens to be an advantageous byproduct.
Another good benefit of self-service in this category is how it teaches employees to be self-sufficient and more tech savvy for their mission, it provides a sense of empowerment. Employees no longer need to wait to receive assistance from IT support teams from abroad for simple issues. Furthermore, it cuts down on workload for the IT Department, allowing them to focus on the more important matters of their business.
3. Online Enterprises
Nothing is infallible, especially not when companies like Amazon are in the business of delivering such a vast multitude of services. Yet they would not be a market leader had they not adopted self-service early on in their business strategy. This type of key business component is not only limited to clientele services, but also covers their business partner platform.
As a company with its main presence structured around an online market platform for both businesses and consumers, it is crucial to retain current and prospective clients through the service portal. In particular, factors that should be considered to keep stakeholders happy include competitive pricing, smooth operations, and ease of accessibility. All of this can be accomplished through a self-service IT system for all involved parties. Businesses will be able to provide more competitive pricing as they have lessened the burden of passing on these types of costs to their clients.
Smooth operations provided by the business will allow clients and employees to be productive and efficient, minimizing opportunity cost and maximizing profits. With a self-service IT system always accessible, users will be able to find solutions to their problem and enjoy a more positive working experience in general.
Of course, none of this would work unless the self-service system is both easy to understand/use and comprehensive, with a seamless end user experience. Though not a massive game-changer, this sort of positive effect on the working environment would only serve to attract more clients along with highly skilled professionals eager to work for a modern and progressive company.
“IT organizations that fail to deliver effective IT self-service will struggle to increase agility and demonstrate value to the business. The idea of using consumer-oriented, self-service support is part of a larger strategy to create a more consumer-like workplace environment, which Gartner calls the Engagement Initiative.” (Source: gartner.com)
4. Governmental Sector
Unlike other customers benefiting from self-service systems, governments do not need to worry about attracting customers or introducing new cutting-edge services in the marketplace. They do, however, have myriad government-services, such as education, health care, law enforcement, transportation, etc..
Governments have a monopoly on their end users, both locally and nationally, yet rising costs and legislative requirements constantly put pressure on their daily operations. It is therefore imperative for these types of bodies to find a cost-effective and flexible self-service system that will not only provide internal relief, but also provide their end users with the kind of IT support they really need.
To learn more about the subjects addressed in this post, Softthinks is pleased to make its 2015 Gartner survey available to the public.