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Innovating the Service Portal: Why it’s Critical Now

Service portals have been suffering low adoption rates in many organizations.

  • A good enterprise-wide service portal can allow employees to make a support appointment at a concierge desk for immediate support.

  •  A good enterprise-wide service portal can put employees in contact with the organization’s providers, from HR and IT to Facilities, Legal, Mailroom, and printing support.

A well-designed enterprise-wide service portal is a communication hub for proactive support by offering self-service capabilities like immediate computer self-help, employment verification letters, shipping labels, and more.

The Problem with Service Portals

The problem with the Service Portal is that technical experts have designed many organizations’ portals to scale IT support rather than designing them for the end users who access them. This results in using technical language that employees don’t use or understand and difficulty finding things. Some designers scale down the number of items in their service catalogs to make it easier, but this leads to more issues finding things and filling out complex forms. Others leave it and keep directing employees to use it. An even bigger issue is that support for tickets logged via the portal lags, driving people to their phones.

The end result is seen in a survey by Happy Signals indicating that the service portal offers the longest support turnaround times and the lowest employee experience (or happiness).

Portals Are Here to Stay: It’s Time to Solve the Problem

This isn’t how it needs to be. Portals designed with their human end-users in mind, with an appropriate support practice behind them, can be game changes. There are several ways to achieve this:

  • Portal redesign: Many of today’s portals are designed to offer access to multiple provider’s service catalogs, organizing them by silo. This old practice needs to be replaced with a functional design that reflects how employees think about support. For example, where does a request to onboard a new employee belong? Under IT, HR, Facilities? Managers often look under HR, but this request is often found under IT. It might be easier to use a category called “Employee Changes.” Working with end users to define a service catalog taxonomy that makes sense to them makes it easier for them to find things. 

  • Automation: Solve the delay issue by automating as much fulfillment as possible. Every provider has items that can be automated. While IT is the ripest for automation, HR has a number of processes that can be fulfilled automatically or automated to occur in the background. This speeds up service to employees and also helps scale provider support.

  • Use AI: Artificial intelligence is often used to answer simple questions but can also solve common problems. AI is generally run through a chatbot within the portal but can also be integrated with corporate IM channels like Teams and Slack.

  • Improve support: Investigate incident resolution times across channels. If it’s slower via the portal, dive into why. It may be necessary to develop a queue that helps escalate self-service submissions, putting them in front of the most experienced level one technician or pushing some directly to level two. See if the issue is a lack of information in submission forms and look for ways to improve/automate the submission process. Add remote control and device management capabilities to help technicians troubleshoot and repair without reaching the customer.

The Business Value of an Improved Employee Portal Experience

Portals are here to stay. When designed well, they can offer huge benefits to the organization:

  • Fully automated onboarding capabilities can improve the process, enabling employees to finish all their paperwork before they start and ensuring they have everything they need on their first day. This improves their overall satisfaction with the company. 

  • The ability to interact with providers through company chat integrated into the service portal is often a game-changer by making the portal more accessible and improving the employee experience. 

  • Reduced fulfillment times due to higher levels of automation further

  • improve the experience.

Consider this: an organization with a blended hourly employee rate of $65/hour that resolves 100 user-impacting incidents daily in 2 hours rather than 3 saves $6,500 in lost productivity time each day! If they automate the resolution of just 50 of these, that saves $9,750. The portal is the key to making this happen when designed and implemented in a modern, innovative way!


About the Author

Phyllis Drucker is an innovative and experienced thought leader in the service management industry. Winner of the HDI Lifetime Achievement award, she is also the author of Service Management Online: Creating a Successful Service Request Catalog and creator of the new class Innovating the Service Portal. She uses her 20 years of experience supporting end users at Blockbuster and AutoNation and a highly inquisitive mind to look at new ways to deliver award-winning support. Not one to sit back and relax, she recently announced upcoming dates for her new class Innovating the Service Portal.

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