Why spend time creating and delivering a catalog?
Simple – it will save you money. But that isn’t necessarily the reason you should do it.
As the pressure grows to digitise your business, you must consider the foundations for the future to ensure the viability of your technology function. That is the reason you should do it.
As a result of building service desk analytics, we know that up to 40% of calls to a service desk today are requests that could be handled without agent interaction. If you can remove even half of those, you stand to save money. To do this, you need to provide an alternative… and it needs to be a compelling one.
An engaging solution to counteract phone reflex
A large proportion of the workforce has what I call a “phone reflex” – the first thing they do is grab the phone because they know someone will answer. Even if that person is rarely helpful, there is the hope that they might have access to someone who is. You need an engaging solution to retrain that reflex, and it will take time.
The answer, is a catalog of services that a user can easily access in order to get what they require to do their job efficiently. The key elements the catalog needs to provide are:
- An engaging user experience, where the user is easily able to find what they are looking for
- An up-to-date offering in line with what the user needs
- Support on the journey to self-service – it isn’t just a destination
How will I develop an engaging interface?
- Become the user.
Imagine everything they are going through. It is easier than you might think if you forget the difference between ‘work’ and ‘home’. The ability to bring the user experience from home to work is actually very important because most people like the technology interaction they get at home and would happily adopt the same at work. How you achieve that however, requires thought. You can’t just take the Amazon site and rebuild it in your corporate colours. You need to solve the problem that at home you can have anything you need, within reason, and at work you are constrained. That constraint often frustrates users simply because they cannot find what they ‘need’. However, you need to look at it another way – you aren’t easily showing them what they are allowed to have or what is available to them.
Let’s say I want a headset for my phone and I want the same one as the person sitting next to me. I go searching for the ‘Jabra XXX’, and find nothing.
Frustration goes up from 0 to 3.
I change my search to ‘Jabra’. Still nothing.
Frustration goes to 5.
Before I pick up the phone I’ll try one last thing – I’ll search for ‘headset’. I get presented with headsets for mobile phones.
Frustration is now at 11 – the phone is grabbed, and the service desk get a call.
The problem is that you are asking people to keep searching until they find what they need. What you should do, is allow the user to see intuitively what headsets are available, and for which devices. They need the ability to browse those offerings, not guess what you might allow them to have. Search is only really effective if you could have anything you like.
- Real self-service
The idea is to migrate from requests being handled by a user, to requests being submitted into a tool, to them being done by the user themselves without any further action. It is a journey from one to the other. To be successful, the user needs to be abstracted from that journey. They shouldn’t even know when you move from one mode to another – everything needs to be the same. This means your portal needs to be able to cater to all the modes, at the same time, in the same place. You can’t direct users to one system for requests and another for self-help articles… they’ll just pick up the phone.
- Maintain a complete list
Make sure the catalog contains what the business is currently providing to the users. This means you need it to contain a reasonably complete list of everything… even those things that they need to call the desk to order. This way that phone reflex is curbed and retrained.
This is going to increase the size of your catalog, and consequently the maintenance required to keep it up-to-date. It is crucial to plan for this, as you need to be able to maintain the content after the initial project has wrapped up.
All too often the backlog of changes to the catalog far outstrips the resources available to deliver the changes. This means users can’t find things, and they reach for the phone again…
A development-free solution
You need a cheap and fast way of changing items. They should be treated like content on a WordPress site, changed at will and not through the rigorous change processes required of technology applications.
The items need to be owned by those that benefit from them being in the catalog in the first place – the team that actually fulfils the requests or runs the tool that does. Not having this in place is often what un-picks those important savings and leaves self-service projects to gather dust.
Once the catalog is in place it will form the foundation for the future. You can use it as the entry point for almost any future project to capture data from the user. The need for service will always be required for as long as people make up the workforce. So, it can save you money in the short term – but importantly, it lays the foundations for savings in the future.
Can you find what you need in your catalog today? Or is your phone reflex preventing your business from evolving?
James has over 10 years of experience working within the Financial Services industry. He has a wealth of knowledge using, developing and architecting on premise and SaaS products which improve IT Service Management by driving efficiency and cost reduction through innovation.
As Product Manager at TESM, James’ mission is to bring modern, efficient service management to the enterprise.