“Building a Web Self-Service Portal: Keys to Success” Paul M. DooleyPrincipal Optimal Connections, LLC www.optimalconnections.com
Agenda • The Trend toward Customer Empowerment • What’s in It for You and the Customer? • Popular Portal Applications • Key Steps in Implementing Your Web-based Portal • Keeping it Going for Continued Success! • Q&A
The Trend Today:Customer Empowerment • The trend today is toward globalization, 7 x 24 coverage, and multi-channel support. Customers are asking for… • Choices – support how and when they want it • Convenience - right channel for the issue • Availability - avoid problems in the first place! • Empowerment - be informed • Return on Investment - to get the most from their system • People – rather than big media - are taking a big part themselves in creating and driving news and information (witness youtube.com and similar destinations) • Traditional media is rapidly migrating to an online formatand leveraging this “new media” • In fact, any business without a respectable web site is like a business without business cards – its just plain expected these days!
The Web is “Power to the People” • More than ever, its power to the people - with new web trends such as … • Wikis – where the people publish the content themselves under the guidance of a hosting organization • Blogs – web logs where individuals share their thoughts, opinions and advice via online journals • Personal websites – MySpace, Facebook, etc., are forming new communications platforms for people • For today’s IT organization, the need is for us to function more like a business • Where end-users are treated like “customers” and the emphasis is on minimizing costs, while maximizing productivity, customer and employee satisfaction • One important way to take advantage of these trends, and accomplish this three-fold purpose is to deploy an effective web self-service portal
What’s in It for Customers? • Access support anytime– a web support portal is available whenever customers need help – 7 x 24. • Better understanding of IT service & support – with easy access to SLAs, policies, and info, expectations are more accurately set. • Increased availability of solutions to known errors – customers enjoy increased and faster access to common solutions • Higher system availability – fast access to solutions leads to higher uptime and customer satisfaction • The ability to collaborate with other customers – a web portal can provide the ability for chat communities • Ability to influence service quality – by submitting feedback, requests for enhancements
What’s in It for IT and the Service Desk? • Makes it easy for customers to do business with you • Be accessible 7 x 24 • Publish services and set accurate expectations • Service catalogs and SLAs • Collaborate with customers as “support partners” • Empower them to get answers to simple questions, resolve low priority incidents • Make it convenient for customers to submit service requests • Planned activities, handled more cost-effectively via a portal • Facilitate Problem Management: inform customers so as to avoid problems • Status updates, advisories regarding solutions to “known errors” • Provide standard pre-approved changes • Reduce cost, increase customer satisfaction • By empowering users, raising productivity for the service desk and users • Reduce incidents through self-service, proactive problem management • Do more work with the same level of staff • Operate Like a Business: Market your value! • Display your mission, publish successes, and promote your value
Popular Web Portal Applicationsand Sample Portal • Automated Status Reporting • Web incident entry/update for customers • Answer “How to” questions and provide solutions to simple known errors • Process routine service requests • Provide proactive advisories • Download center for updates • Fast access to online documentation • Enable customer collaboration with chat • Publish service levels and a service catalog • Keep customers informed about policies
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsAutomated Status Reporting • Most help desks & service desks don’t do an effective job at providing status regarding incidents/requests in process • More timely status reporting is an opportunity for improvement in most support centers • By maintaining a ‘user profile’ and integrating it with your SMS, your portal can keep customers informed about their incident status • Report by number, location, date, and other criteria. • Summary information and drill down reporting should be available • Benefits: • Set expectations more accurately, and keeps customers informed • Maintains customer satisfaction levels • Averts incoming calls for status, lowering costs and ensuring higher productivity • Challenges: • Analyst writing skills • Quality incident logs to capture timely & accurate incident status • Web integration with your SMS to automate the process
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsLog or Update Incidents • Customers enter/ update incidents by themselves for lower priority incidents. Higher priority incidents phoned in (guidelines) • Tip: enforce a search of the KB first before allowing entry! • Otherwise you risk unnecessary incidents (a solution may already be available) • Key: if no solution, then allow electronic incident entry • Route incidents and requests to your normal queues • Avoiding the need for special monitoring • Establish metrics for service requests as well as incidents! • Benefits: • More cost-effective way of handling low priority incidents and requests • Convenient access and empowerment for customers • Forms-based entry provides superior formatting over email • Challenges: • Web integration to SMS • Metrics, monitoring and reporting for quality assurance
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsProvide Answers and Solutions • Provide fast answers to the top Frequently Asked Questions • Access to simple, re-usable solutions and answer common questions • Through easy, fast access to an integrated, effective knowledge base (KEDB) • Facilitates Problem Management • Benefits: • Quick answers to common questions, users resolve simple repetitive incidents • Empowers customers, lowers avg incidentcost according to HDI 2008 study • Challenges: • Integrating KEDB to your Service Mgt System & web portal • Effective processes (Knowledge Centered Support (KCS), Problem Mgt and Incident Mgt) • Providing access to only “customer ready” solutions • Knowledge Monitoring
Providing Answers and SolutionsSample Screen Top Solutions
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsReset Passwords • One of the biggest sourcesof repeat incidents! • 30-50% of calls, in fact, indicates a recent IDC study *. • A significant potentialcost saving for many help desks • Since many end-users could easily reset their own passwords if equipped. • Deploy one of the many software solutions through your web portal to enable customers, freeing your staff for more pressing incidents • Benefits: • Empowers customers to resolve these simple service requests faster, while freeing up your staff for other work. • Lowers costs and improves staff productivity • Challenges: • Integrating password reset tool to your web portal • Providing for security policy compliance • Encouraging, educating and training users to use
Reset PasswordsSample 3rd Party Password Reset Tool • Sample apps: • P-Sync
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsEnter Service Requests • 7 x 24 support for routine service requests • Reserve valuable phone support time for processing higher priority unplanned incidents • Position the web as a vehicle for Request Fulfillment, and optimize your handling of routine service requests • Examples: Standard change requests, requests for upgrades or upgrades, documentation & media requests, enhancement requests • Benefits: • Conserves valuable analyst phone time for handling incidents • Can be an integral part of implementing ITIL V3 Request Fulfillment • More cost-effective, automated handling of service requests • Convenient 7 x 24 hour access for customers and users • Challenges: • Monitoring responsiveness to the channel for efficient service request processing, so as to meet customer expectations • Service catalog integration, automated fulfillment on back end
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsDeliver Proactive Advisories • Keep customers informed about known errors and ways to avoid potential problems through timely “service advisory” bulletins • Timely bulletins describe reported known problems, and include advice on how to avoid the issue • Can link back to support web page for next steps • A component of proactive “Problem Management” • Benefits: • Supportive of ITIL Problem Management, this practice helps customers avoid problems in the first place – ensuring higher productivity, uptime, and customer satisfaction • Also lowers support costs by avoiding incidents in the first place • Challenges: • Implementation of a supporting Problem Management process • Standard forms and supporting procedures, automation
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsProvide Standard Pre-Approved Changes • Leverage your web portal to cost-effectively provide access to pre-approved standard changes (minor updates and upgrades) • Avoid sending out CDs or DVDs, and reduce costs • Provide updates or upgrades to software cost-effectively via a “downloads” center. • Benefits: • Reduces cost for the service desk, while providing convenient 7 x 24 access to popular updates and upgrades. Relieves the administrative burden of processing standard change requests. • Challenges: • Only use for pre-approved, low risk updates and upgrades. • More complex or critical software updates require Release Mgt assistance to ensure trouble-free installation and configuration.
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsDeliver Online Documentation • Customers want access, and we want them to be informed about how to use the services we provide • Examples: • Publish your service desk support policies. Set customer expectations. • Your analysts need the customer to refer to a user guide, manual, or other set of instructions from time to time – why make things difficult? • Provide HTMLandPDF access • HTML enables search, and PDF provides easy download • Benefits: • Speeds incident resolution and lowers cost – no searching for the right manual! • An easy way to ensure the customer always has the proper manual for the job at hand! • Challenges: • Integration with a document management system • Timely updates to ensure accuracy
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsEnable Customer Collaboration • Enableinteractive, real-time two-way chat with customers • Extends self-service web portal to assisted service • Some audiences prefer this method (ie, gaming) • Can be integrated with Click-to-Talk, making it easy to transition to phone • Analysts can handlemultiple sessions simultaneously • Benefits: • Positions you as flexible, ‘customer-centric’ • Decreases cost per incident*, as someincidents transition to chat • Can boost analyst productivity through multi-tasking, ‘canned’ replies • Ensures self-service experience is successful • Challenges: • Lacks ‘tone of voice’, handling emotions • Integrating witha SMS to log, track sessions • Requires that analysts have typing, multi-tasking skills HDI 2008 Survey
Enable Customer CollaborationSample Chat Screen • Sample apps: • LivePerson • InstantService
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsPublish Your Service Levels • Negotiating and documenting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) doesn’t do anyone any good if the contents of those agreements aren’t communicated to customers, end users and the help desk! • Customers and users need to know what to expect • Staff need to know at what level to deliver depending on the customer • Provide a link to “Your Service Levels”, informing users about the contents, terms and conditions of their SLA. • Benefits: • More effective communications of SLA contents • Expectations more accurately set, enabling higher customer satisfaction • Service Desk staff better positioned to deliver accurately • Challenges: • Be sure that any changes to SLAs are reflected in a timely fashion • Empower Service Level Management/Catalog Management to make changes and updates as needed to reflect agreements and service levels in force • Integration with a complete, web-based Service Catalog
Popular Web Portal ApplicationsDeploy a web-based Service Catalog • Go further than just the SLA: let customers know about your services! • Start with basics: listing the various services you provide and informing customers in business terms • Describe services not in “IT Terms”, but in terms customers understand • Include name, description, typical user, features/benefits, availability • Include other helpful information with your service catalog to help customers in deciding which services they need • Providing pricing information if appropriate(value) • Link in the relevant supporting SLA detail • Eventually provide links so that once a customer has selected a given service, they go directly to automated service request entry! • Benefits: more customer and business centric – making it “easy to do business” with the service desk and IT • Challenges: planning your catalog; defining and documenting your “services”; building, deploying, promoting and maintaining the catalog
Provide a Service Catalog • Sample apps: • newScale
5 Key Steps to Implementing Your Web Portal
Step 1: Develop and Present a Business Case Before You Do Anything! • Why? Sets expectations for management on what to expect (and not expect) • Defines a mission, clear goals and objectives, a time table, and milestones in the development and deployment of your portal • Lays out projected costs with a Cost/Benefits Analysis, proposed investment (people, hardware, software, etc.), a projected Return on Investment (ROI), an Action Plan and a projected timeframe for roll-out. • Defines Key Success Factors, so you’ll know when you’ve arrived! • Simply good business practice – reinforcing the notion that you “run your support center like a business” • 1. Complete a situation analysis • Document the current situation with respect to customer self-service • Establishes a “baseline” for later evaluation • 2. Define your Goals and Expected Benefits • Identify and prioritize the key goals for your portal. Identify the biggest quick “wins” – prioritize these, and implement those features first to gain early successes in the rollout
How to Develop and Present a Business Case • 3. Summarize your proposed solution: • Provide an overview of the design, features, and functions. • Summarize costs and project timeline • List assumptions and risks, with contingencies • Spell out goals and benefits • Provide cost justification, with ROI projection • 4. Quantify cost savings expected to be realized • Provide projected estimates of cost savings, based on achieving the expected goals and realizing the benefits • Convert each projected benefit – performance improvement or cost reduction - into a dollar figure. Include a simple table to illustrate your assumptions and estimates • Example: • Reduce incoming incidents for simple repetitive incidents users can resolve themselves (“How to” FAQs, simple solutions). • 50 calls per week, x 52 weeks = 2600 incidents, • 2600 incidents x average cost of $12/incident = $31,200 savings/Yr
How to Develop and Present a Business Case • 5. Estimate Development and Deployment Costs • Itemize project costs; compare total projected costs to estimate savings Examples of costs to factor in: Projected support team costssoftware costs, hardware costs, annual hosting costs, professional services, on-going admin and support costs • 6. Assemble Your Business Case • Assemble the output and document a logical business case, with supporting and information. Include costs, benefits, and savings over time to illustrate ROI • 7. Moment of Truth: Present Your Case to Management • Secure management commitment, support and funding Next Step? Lay the Ground Work!
Step 2:Lay the Ground Work!Assemble Your Team & Plan • Like any other strategic initiative, this one deserves.. • A focused cross-functional team of Subject Matter Experts • Budget commitment of people, time and resources • A project lead & well defined project plan • Incorporate Team Best-practices • Engage your Marketing Department • Don’t ignore your marketing dept! • Usually responsible for the “image” to the business, customers and marketplace • Can be a valuable source of expertise and resources, plus ensuring your initiative is in line with corporate policies and standards • Involve Your Web Team • A valuable resource for technical support, resources, and on-going maintenance • Make them part of your team so you can work together to make the portal a reality!
Lay the Ground WorkEnsure Quality Processes • Provide for Quality in Your IT Support Organization • For a web self-service portal to be successful, you must have solid supporting processes in place within your support center • These must be positioned to effectively support the customer portal (foundational) • Otherwise you seriously compromise your success • Key elements for support within the center include: • Service Desk function, with adequate resources & capabilities • Quality support processes (Incident, Request Fulfillment and Problem Management) • Knowledge Management process, system and repository • Business style writing skills • Quality logging of incident and service request (standards, QA process) • A Service Mgt System that supports web integration • The ability to budget supporting resources – tools, people, technology
Step 3: Develop Based on Best Practices • Align it with Your Organization’s Web Site • Should have the same “look and feel” • Your portal is your image – make it look professional! • Make it FAST! • Why users are going to your site? Searching for a solution. • Response and resolution time are key customer satisfaction drivers • Beware of fancy features which slow performance! • Emphasize fast display, fast loading, and fast response • Integrate it into your systems to minimize manual updates • To manage, establish metrics & tools to measure and report on: • Number of page visits, unique visitors, repeat visitors • Most popular pages, least visited pages • Knowledge base effectiveness; % growth in solutions; % of visits successful; solution re-use; most popular authors • End-user satisfaction levels with portal • Identify “gaps” and address in a continuous improvement program
Develop Your Portal Based on Best Practices • Keep it Simple and Easy to Use • Be compatible with the parent site • Pay attention to easy navigation and usage • If you can “personalize” it, so much the better • Make it Engaging! • Keep all critical resources 1-3 clicks away • Like your analysts, your portal should greet the customer! • Make it Easy to Find via the Search Engines! • “If you build it, they will come”. Not true. • Most people arrive at a web sites through a search engine – about 80%; only a small percentage by knowing the URL. • Make your web support site easy to locate! • Optimize your site so that search engines rank your site at the top of the list when someone types a relevant search phrase
Step 4: Treat RolloutLike a Product Launch! • Once you’ve designed, developed and tested your new web self-service portal, you’re ready for roll-out. • This is “the moment of truth”, so we suggest managing your rollout just like any important new product or service. • Done right is can be very effective and successful. Reduced costs, increased productivity and customer satisfaction. • Done wrong, and you end up with disappointed customers, and a difficult recovery (first impressions matter!).
Treat RolloutLike a Product Launch • Establish a “Product Manager” and support team • Develop a Release Plan • Rollout it out in Phases to ensure success • Internal rollout in the Support Center first • Beta phase (to key customers and users) • Early adopters • Full rollout • Consider “branding” your portal • Position it properly as an “expansion of services” • Assess feedback as you go, and communicate successes early and often!
Step 5: Keeping it GoingEnsuring Continuing Success! • This is now one of your key support channels - don’t neglect it! • Market it on an on-going basis • Play a recording to promote it while customers on are ‘hold’ • Promote its use via your analysts (during silent time) • Offer a free web-based or CD “demo” • Post the URL everywhere! • Keep it current through automated updates and effective management • Report success to your staff, management, and customers • Assess your ROI against your initial “baseline” and move ahead into the future!
It’s Up To You: Take it to the Next Levelwith Your Web Portal! • You’ll be more Customer and Business Centric – making it easier for customers “to do business” with you • You’ll Lower Costs – by enabling customers to solve many incidents and log requests themselves • You’ll Raise Productivity – helping customers avoid problems in the first place, resolving simple issuesquicker. Higher uptime results, along with higher productivity. • You’ll Be More Proactive – staff will have more opportunity to engage in proactive Problem Management, eliminating the source of problems • You’ll Differentiate Yourself from the Competition – by virtue of the fact that you offer an effective, proactive “one stop” web channel to assist customers around the clock.
What are You Waiting for? – Get Started! .. Any Questions? Thank you for attending this session. Please fill out a session evaluation form. Paul M. DooleyPrincipalOptimal Connections, LLCE: firstname.lastname@example.orgW: www.optimalconnections.com