A Self Service Portal to better support your internal customers

Today, everyone is a consumer at bol.com or coolblue. These organisations focus on optimising the customer experience. In addition, their employees, who are internal customers and purchase services from IT, HR, fleet, etc., expect the same kind of experience from their service providers.

A Self Service Portal is in fact a kind of website where your internal customers can register and follow up on requests and problems. Can a Self Service Portal enhance customer experience or customer satisfaction? Many customers value a personal approach during live support. They want to feel that their request is handled with the necessary care and priority. A poorly designed Self Service Portal therefore quickly leads to a poor customer experience. Read more about the advantages of such a Self Service Portal and the key success factors for setting it up.

Key success factors of a self service portal

In these times, where¬† remote working is becoming the new normal and employees are working outside office hours, support needs to be very flexible. For a company, it isn’t realistic to meet this need with a 24/7 service desk. Or at least without having to pay a hefty fee. However, the advantage of a Self Service Portal is that it is available 24/7. Customers can submit and follow up their requests here at all times. In fact, by setting up a knowledge management process, answers to frequently asked questions and/or problems become available to customers via the Self Service Portal. This way, employees solve their own questions and/or problems, without the need for human intervention by a support employee. This shift left ensures that customers are served even faster and more efficiently, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.

Finally, a Self Service Portal can also be used to give approvals related to requests. For example, an employee in your team requests a new laptop. Then it makes sense that you as team leader, whose budget will be used to pay for this laptop, must give your approval before ordering and installing it. The Self Service Portal then provides you with a clear overview of all your open and already processed approvals.

As already mentioned, the proper design and implementation of a portal is therefore a must if we want to enhance the customer experience. Some key success factors for a good Self Service Portal:

Make sure your portal is straightforward so customers don’t have to search for too long before they can request something. Avoid too many buttons and use a common language. Also make sure your portal looks familiar. For example, it helps if your portal looks like your company’s website or intranet.

In these days of Google, we find it normal to search for something and get related search results back. So it is very important to add some keywords next to the names of services, descriptions, requests and knowledge articles. This helps to increase the findability. Consequently, you can monitor the search behaviour, so that you can always fine-tune your keywords. For instance, you can make sure that knowledge articles about teleworking are also found when people search for COVID.
Always use the user’s language in your service names, descriptions, requests and knowledge articles. This ensures that the search results will be more positive, as well as enabling the customer to find his way around the portal more quickly, which in turn will improve the customer experience.

A Self Service Portal can be used by different departments. The idea is that customers can use the portal for IT-related questions and/or problems, as well as for HR, Facility and Fleet-related requests. So it’ s always clear to the customer where to go for all their requests.

Self service portal
Use the knowledge-centred service (KCS) principle for the knowledge on the Self Service Portal. This principle assumes that you only record knowledge that is relevant. In other words, knowledge articles should be demand-driven, i.e. they should be created when there is a demand for them. Furthermore, according to this principle, you should only capture relevant information such as words and phrases to describe the problem, the diagnostic process (if applicable) and the solution steps. All this should be as concise as possible and in terms used by the customer, even if the customer sometimes uses the wrong words. Think about whether you want to involve customers in the improvement process of the knowledge database. Usually, a customer can at least give feedback on a knowledge article, in order to improve the article.
Needless to say, it is essential to process and answer the incoming requests via the portal in a timely manner. Try to set realistic response and resolution times for the various types of requests such as incidents, information requests, service requests and complaints or compliments. Use the portal to communicate these target times, so that it is clear to customers when to expect an answer.
It is an absolute advantage if you also have a mobile application to access the Self Service Portal. The fact that you can quickly submit a request or respond to one of your open questions whenever and wherever you need some extra information will only speed up the adoption process of a Self Service Portal.
Jordy Mertens

This blog post about the Self Service Portal is written by Jordy Mertens, service management consultant at 2Grips.

Mobile self service

Do you have any questions, or would you like to know more about how to set up your self service portal? Do not hesitate to contact me!