One of the biggest worries around launching new self-services capabilities is adoption. It is a well-found worry too, because so many IT teams of the past have failed to see their customers adopt self-service!

 

IT Self-Service adoption works when it fits into the existing patterns of work and behaviour of the end-users in the businesses. After years of seeing people try, fail and succeed with self-service, here are our top five tips for making it work all whilst keeping user experience high.

1. Observe customer behaviour directly

I have seen it happen way too many times, where IT have created so much distance between themselves and the rest of the business and interacting in anyway feels like a full-blown crisis. When IT finds themselves here, they end up using very jagged and irrelevant ways of trying to find out how users might react to new services or changes.

So, from making assumptions to sending out pages of customer surveys… the learning is often as useless to IT as it is annoying to the user! So, we always encourage to observe and not intrude on the customer, to find ways of seeing how they behave and interact with software and services, rather than trying to test them and simulate a response.

This can be done in a physical way, by simply sharing a working environment or through technology by using the likes of monitoring tools. However, you approach learning about your users’ needs of self-service, ensure it is done in a way that captures natural behaviour and doesn’t distract, interfere or infuriate!

2. Integrate into existing tools

People hate changing tools. From setting up new logins and remembering the URLs, to taking part in ropey training and not knowing what to do when it doesn’t “work like it used to”. So where possible, always aim to keep familiar tools in place and integrate existing solutions. This is particularly important with self-service, because if you want adoption to be high; the tools, the UX and journey to a resolution has to feel familiar from the outset.

The desire to upgrade or change tools rarely comes from the users. They may wish for something better, quicker, easier and simpler to use… But the actual motivation of wanting to purchase and replace, often comes from IT leaders who want to prove they can do it. If making changes to the tools behind the scenes adds layers of UX complexity and adoption challenges, look for easier solutions that involve integrating new and existing tools together, rather than brute forcing new self-service or ITSM software on to the business.

3. Don’t push big release deadlines

There’s an old techy joke, that if an IT Director had managed building the Titanic, it would have missed the iceberg by about 12 months! Many IT leaders live or die by their ability to offer a project completion date to a boardroom, then release ‘something’ by that date. But modern IT leaders are savvier and more iterative, they know that projects come with a wide range of targets and dates. And that, the promise of full blown success should come after testing and prototyping different solutions. This is classic Waterfall vs Agile stuff.

Self-service has the capacity to become monolithic, not just for IT but for the user. So instead of putting a date in the diary to flip the switch from ‘Contact the Service-Desk’ to ‘Use the Self-Service portal’… start small and scale it up. Trial it with one department then another, aim to drive 25 %, then 50 %, then 75 % of requests to self-service over time and always take time to learn and develop from each step you take.

4. Do it with the business, not ‘to’ the business

Like many services to the business, users typically complain that it feels like IT is something that is done ‘to them’ rather than with or for them. This is the product of non-collaborative and non-consultative service management.

Much of this comes back to a point made earlier, around IT being too hesitant to get involved with other parts of the business, then using overly authoritative and gate-keeper technics to mask that weakness. Having the confidence to build relationships between teams and individuals is not just a way of solving the overall objective of avoiding making users feel like your harassing them every time you want something. But also, the way to overcoming the internal lack of confidence that creates this culture of forcing IT upon the business.

The best way to begin with this style of improvement is to look for where the strongest relationships already exist and invest more into establishing those relationships as something more strategic. Then, look more broadly at the wider businesses and see where you need to achieve more influence. Leverage those existing strong relationships to reach out to those key people and departments. There are a number of basic BRM methodologies out there too, which can help you measure the success of this.

5. Remove as much friction from the technology as you can

This last one is a simple idea but takes a lot of hard work and smart thinking to do well. Self-service adoption comes down to two things. The first is how easy it is to use and the second is did it actually work as a means to solve the user’s problem? Ease of use comes down to managing the user journey, thinking genuinely and carefully about the amount of steps, clicks, windows and even how many different tools the user has to go through to engage with IT. More traditional IT teams often saw self-service and ITSM portals as methods of getting users to report less issues!

Today’s IT teams who are left with the hangover of that, might not have taken the opportunity yet to review how the tools and UX is setup to see whether any of that is still getting in the way. ITSM teams who are operating in large or multi-sourced environments may even be pushing users from one system to another in order for them to even access proper self-service. This is something which can be easily solved by creating more effective integrations between tools, rather than trying to replace one with another or half-baking a solution that makes one tool look and feel like another.

At Service-Flow, we believe in creating simple and seamless software integrations. Many of the large IT customers we work with, struggle to see how they can create better ITSM and Customer Experiences and leverage the benefits of real self-service when the current tools are so different or disconnected.

If this or any of the above sounds like a challenge you are currently facing, we’d love to show you how we can help. Just get in touch with our expert team today.