IT Service Management – What to Look for in an End User Portal

Did you know that, according to HDI, a support call costs $22 compared to self-service which costs just $2 per incident? With this in mind, it’s clear that there needs to be a push toward including self-service in all IT Service Management (ITSM) initiatives. To drive adoption of self-service, it’s important to have an easy-to-use, searchable portal. Many organizations struggle with self-service because their portals are complex and hard to use. Here are a few best practices you can follow to create robust end user portals that will save you time and resources while keeping your customers happy.

Make Sure Your Portal is Easy to Use, Own and Operate

If you want people to use your portal it should look and feel welcoming. Your portal needs to be easy to navigate, include graphical elements (i.e., branding, images etc.) that your users will recognize, and you should use jargon-free language to get your message across. For example, a button that says “Get Help” will likely perform better than a button that says “Submit Ticket.” Be clear and direct with all of your calls-to-action and messaging.

In terms of creating self-service portals, they should be easy to build and easy to maintain. This means no specialized technical skills like coding or scripting should be needed in order to get your portal up and running, and you shouldn’t need dedicated resources to manage it either. Anyone in your organization should be able to log in with their credentials and make changes, as needed, to better serve the users of your portal.

With a highly configurable portal, you can be strategic in your efforts as well—first focusing on frequently asked questions and those issues that contribute to a high volume of incoming help desk tickets. Over time, you’ll be able to grow and evolve your end user portal into a valuable resource that people will learn to turn to first, freeing up your IT staff to focus on higher priority tasks and projects. All-in-all, an engaging portal enables you to deliver on the promise of high quality ITSM.

According to HDI, a support call costs an organization an average of $22.

Build Your Knowledge Base

Along with being easy to navigate and written in clear, direct language, stellar portals also leverage a knowledge base (KB) within the portal that is highly indexed, provides quick links to the most accessed content, makes it easy to enhance content and is accessible on mobile devices.

But since a knowledge base is only as good as the content it contains, it’s good to follow industry best practices for creating and curating knowledge content in your end user portal. Knowledge Centered Service (KCS®) relies on the notion that content is generated as problems arise. While KCS started in ITSM, it’s now being adopted across the enterprise. KB articles are living assets that can be leveraged by both the users and technicians, which translates into a dramatic increase in first contact resolution (30-50%).

Focus on Accessibility

When creating an end user portal, it is important to be as accessible as possible, meaning it should be WCAG 2.0/508 compliant. Not only should the site be easy to navigate, but it should be made available to everyone. By not focusing on accessibility, you are likely alienating a portion of your customers or employees – making it more difficult for them to resolve the issues they may be having. You can read more about the accessibility featured offered by TeamDynamix here.

If you want to see a collection of stellar self-service portals, including portals that are WCAG 2.0/508 compliant, here are some examples from actual TeamDynamix customers.

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2019 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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