One of my recent consultancy projects was working with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), increasing Self-Service portal uptake. And did we!? Within the first three months, Self-Service went from 3% to 40%, and recently to 70%! How did we do it?
LSHTM were looking to create a customer-centric portal to alleviate some pressure on the Service Desk. Our main success metric was customer satisfaction: we didn’t just want to meet quantitative goals (number of calls logged) but also take the Helpdesk customer experience to the next level.
We started the project by working with LSHTM defining services and layout of the portal. We challenged assumptions from the language used to how services were grouped – tearing everything apart and starting from scratch. We then used customer focus group for design-tweaking and approval. If you really want self-service uptake, you need to give users a reason to come back to your portal; so listen to their opinions!
In a few days, we had a customer-approved portal design. We then moved on to creating templates for services and knowledge items to help maintain a consistent look and feel.
With the portal in place, we went live. LSHTM were tireless in following up on initial feedback - reviewing anything that someone considered substandard. This dedication really paid off and the continuous work they do on following up on feedback even now, more than a year on, helps keep the portal fresh.
Once everything was live, it became easier to identify tasks that could be shift-left, and find new ways to improve processes and workflows. We created smart forms to provide customers with quick-fixes, depending on the options selected, which took a lot of pressure off of the operators.
We also made sure the portal looked professional throughout. Service pages clearly outlined each individual service and terms of supply; knowledge items linked to services gave detailed instructions, etc.
Remember I said we cared mainly about customer satisfaction? Well, within a month, 91% of calls are rated at least 4 stars out of 5, with 4.7 on average. Job well done!
Step 3: Promote
While planning your portal, do also take time early on to map out a clear promotional strategy. Promotion not only makes your users aware of upcoming changes, it’s also a great way to open communication paths and invite for opinions. With LSHTM, we did the following:
Incorporating a “coming soon” preview in the newsletter
Putting up posters and informing people about the upcoming portal at close of a call
Presentations at staff meetings about the upcoming portal and it's benefits
And more. All to not only inform people about the portal, but have people interact with it on a more personal level. Just prior to launch, LSHTM made a launch plan for some extra promotion – like sending out a reminder email the day before the launch and handing out flyers on the day with clear instructions for use.
Alongside this, they invited customers to drop in-sessions and ran a prize draw with calls submitted via the portal as the way of entering. In the end, 40% of calls were logged through the portal on the first day – and we celebrated with some cake.
It can be tempting to stop promotion once the portal has launched. After all, you have other tasks to worry about. But additional publicity is incredibly beneficial. A huge part of promoting something is to keep repeating the message. LSHTM continued to promote the benefits in customer emails and meetings and provided demos of the software during support calls.
The passion and enthusiasm with which the Service Desk team spread knowledge about the tool within the university and with other service departments is the main reason for the increased uptake. It has not only improved teamwork and morale for the university, but also stands as an outstanding motivational story!