Many IT departments end up answering the same questions over and over again. This is very time-consuming, and it’s a waste of staff labor. Having users consult a self-service portal before contacting IT with their questions can reduce the number of inbound service requests by up to 70 percent, our internal data suggests.
Creating a self-service portal requires building a knowledge base of IT support articles. While this requires an up-front investment of time, it can pay off tremendously down the road.
Here’s how this works: Every time you have an incident, you document what the problem was, what the person was doing when the problem occurred, what technology they were using and how you resolved the problem. Then, you post this information online, so the next time somebody has that same problem, they can find the solution for themselves. We’ve seen organizations go from a handful of articles to thousands in just three or four months.
One of the best ways to develop a solid knowledge base for self-service is through the use of Knowledge-Centered Service® (KCS).
The principles of KCS stipulate that the creation and maintenance of knowledge must be fully integrated into the most important support operations.
Here are a few reasons why Knowledge-Centered Service can be so powerful:
- Helps to continually lower inbound call volume.
- Increases customer satisfaction.
- Provides customers with the answers they need now.
- Crowdsourcing knowledge helps maintain accurate content.
- Offers opportunities for professional development and career progression.
By adopting KCS, you can not only improve customer satisfaction but dramatically reduce the per-incident cost incurred by IT (from about $22 for a level 1 support call to $2 for self-service); and reduce the volume of issues and requests coming to the help desk, allowing IT to reallocate technicians to higher priority tasks and projects.
The Impact of Self-Service and KCS
The University of South Dakota (USD) struggled with knowledge residing in silos across various departments as well as poor communication, leading to inefficiencies when delivering service.
Katharina Wymar, head of Project Management, said “We lacked that one platform, that one mindset that allowed us to share knowledge.”
That’s when they turned to the solution of a knowledge base so that all of their information could be in a single, easily accessible location.
After building out their knowledge base and implementing KCS they quickly saw an 18% reduction in time logged to service tickets, and after six months there were 31,000 users, 262,000 page views, and 5,000 knowledge articles being included in the base.
In addition to a self-service portal, you can implement conversational AI as part of your self-service strategy. When you combine automation, self-service and conversational AI – you can have a positive impact on IT resource drain and improve the experience of your customers and end-users.
Conversational AI chatbots are intelligent software applications that can simulate human conversations and perform tasks such as answering questions, providing information and performing transactions.
Conversational AI leverages natural language processing and understands intent. While they do need to be trained, with conversational AI you can facilitate more complex conversations and resolve issues through actions vs. the traditional chatbot’s question/answer limited dialog path.