Self-service is shaking up digital experience and remote working with major impacts across the board from user satisfaction to operational costs and user support efficiency.
End users, that is to say employees, now want and expect “consumer grade” experience with their enterprise IT. They’ll no longer accept waiting multiple days for a service activation or password reset. The good news is that the solution is closer at hand than you think. And even more advantageous.
Self-service for provisioning unified communications
First things first, let’s define what we mean by self-service when it comes to provisioning unified communications. A self-care or self-service portal is a customer service tool that allows end users to manage their communication devices and UC services in real time from any device. This centralized hub delegates simple tasks, so the end user can directly access and configure operations such as call forward management and password resets.
Empowering your end users
This kind of delegation is a win-win situation. First and foremost, the user gets what they want immediately. There is no waiting around. They are in control of their work environment. Given that many more employees are still working from home during the Covid pandemic – and that the trend looks set to stay for many enterprises post-pandemic – this kind of access is essential. An intuitive and customized experience also increases end user adoption with a positive impact on the employee user satisfaction and work efficiency.
With multimedia content and AI, it’s also easier than ever to customize support and provide relevant information addressing their questions. But more about that later.
Maximizing operational efficiencies while lowering costs
Decentralizing simple administration tasks also means less tickets for the service team. With self-service, they are no longer swamped by single-user, low-priority jobs. Removing these low-level requests frees up time for your helpdesk, technical and managerial staff to deal with more complex, specialized tasks and critical business issues. For many companies, over time, this translates to a need for fewer end-user service team members, reducing costs.
Administrators and managers can also use their self-service portal as a convenient ready–to–use window to provide users with important information and tools like manuals and software installation.
Getting more from your self-service portal
Consulting firms such as Metrigy are increasingly focusing on how we can fully harness the benefits of self-service. Let’s look at what this means for provisioning unified communications. Here are 4 key points to take into consideration.
- Set your scope
Remember that the scope of self-service should be limited – not every interaction is appropriate. In many ways this is a good thing: end users shouldn’t be able to modify core services, ensuring the network is never compromised by incorrect provisioning of UC devices and services.
So, be sure to identify which actions are compatible and focus your efforts on these. The administrator can define the autonomy level (what end users can and can’t access) based on the company’s internal policies and the end user’s skill level.
- Enhance knowledge with AI
As Artificial Intelligence becomes both more sophisticated and accessible, the possibilities are endless. Today, 17.2% of companies are integrating AI into their self-service portals. This is set to increase to 50.7% by 2025, according to Metrigy‘ Intelligent Customer Experience: 2019-20 Research Study of 517 IT and CX leaders globally.
AI simultaneously enables you to provide end users with relevant answers and automatically update your self-service knowledge base. This can be taken a step further by personalizing interactions based on previous ones, or making suggestions (e.g. would you like to see our video on managing your call forwarding?)
More and more companies are training AI-powered virtual assistants to provide on-the-spot support at a fraction of the cost. However, it is important to still offer end users the option of contacting a live agent, as well as escalation if the problem becomes more complex.
- Draw on data
Analytics provide ever more data about end users and their needs. This enables you to work out where they are getting stuck. You can then create appropriate multimedia content to address common questions and explain solutions, for example YouTube tutorials.
Data is also a powerful tool for measuring the success of the self-service portal. Before you start, gather baseline metrics and measure them at regular intervals – making any necessary adjustments as you go along.
- Create a seamless user experience
Self-service user support is an essential step, but only one part of the journey. By looking at the bigger picture, you can make the entire experience seamless and avoid unnecessary duplication. Employees can choose how to interact at every step and carry on where they left off, rather than having to reexplain their problem on multiple occasions.
Is self-service right for your unified communications provisioning?
Self-service has the potential to transform unified communications provisioning. As an end-user tool, it empowers employees while reducing costs and freeing up the support team – without undermining the core UC infrastructure.
A unified provisioning platform that combines skilled IT support and self-service access enhances the overall end user experience, while generating multiple benefits for the company – whatever its size or sector.