This article originally appeared in Customer Strategist.
Consumers don’t stop being consumers when they arrive at work. Yet for most companies, the end-user experience is often forgotten and employees are left frustrated with the lack of ease, convenience, and seamlessness of their internal technology experiences.
Enterprise service desks haven’t kept up with the shift toward customer centricity happening in the consumer world. Their systems are internally focused and don’t match what employees want or need to get their jobs done. These laggard processes are beginning to result in low employee morale, productivity loss, ineffectiveness, and increased costs.
The workforce is changing, and the end-user experience must change with it. Consumer trends are shaping how companies interact with their customers, and by extension, how companies interact with their employees.
In the consumer world, self-service is the preferred communication channel for customer service. In addition, 90 percent of customers who regularly use multiple channels for support expect a consistent experience regardless of channel. And by 2020, the consumer will manage 85 percent of the relationship with a brand without interacting with a human. As more Millennials enter the workforce, these numbers will only grow.
Meanwhile, work itself is changing. Large corporate campuses are a thing of the past. Many employees work remotely and don’t stick to 9-to-5 schedules. They interact with clients and colleagues around the world. They collaborate and share information virtually. They use webchats, video conferences, and instant messaging. Mobile devices sit in nearly every employee’s pocket, driving the expectation for streamlined native application experiences, intuitive interfaces, and real-time data availability. And a growing bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture feeds the need to support multiple platforms.
Employees expect their internal service interactions to be seamless, intuitive, and personalized.
On the other side of the interaction, systems are built around technology and process, rather than the user. Silos are common. Multiple vendors further complicate things. On-premise systems are locked down behind complex firewalls requiring multiple user passwords and verifications. One-size-fits-all dominates, with little flexibility in the process. Success is measured by utilization and service level metrics, excluding user satisfaction, customer effort, or NPS.
Many internal service organizations realize they’re behind the times. They are actively implementing industry standard best practices, including IT service management (ITSM) process-improvement methodologies. These best practices define the interaction experience from the perspective of the user and treat the delivery of all IT benefits as services, which is very different than traditional technology-centric viewpoints of IT and its offerings.
It’s a good start, but it’s just the beginning. Enterprises must adjust their focus toward their primary mission: delivering speedy, high-quality services that will be consumed by people, rather than spending excessive time tending to the underlying support technology that helps deliver these services.
Five ways to engage
Successful organizations drive end-user experience with consumer-like capabilities. We see the opportunity for service desk transformation in five ways: persona-based architecture, journey orchestration, services centralization (e.g., eStore), social collaboration, and analytics (see Figure 2).
Personas: Before you can interact effectively, you must identify and personalize users by their needs, preferences, and behaviors. This sets the foundation of the end-user experience and shows how your employees want to interact with help desk resources. It requires a detailed understanding of how technology is put to use within the organization. Look at job roles and locations to define role-specific attributes, such as devices used, office or remote, travel propensity, and customer interaction levels. Combine this with actual employee behavior and needs (channel usage, learning style, tech savviness, mobility, etc.) to create personas for different types of employees.
With personas defined, use analytics to understand their current service desk journey, the touchpoints used, and other behavior analysis. Here is where interaction gaps and opportunities will be revealed.
Journey orchestration: Brands are challenged with creating a service journey that employees prefer. From authentication to specific tasks, it’s critical to allow them to connect in the channel of their choice and empower service teams with the right information, context, and intent of that user journey. Some questions to consider include: Who is the end user? For what issues do they want to self-serve? When should they interact with an associate? Who is the best person to work with this employee in this context? When and on which channel are support resources available?
eStore: An eStore is a one-stop shop for end users to manage any internal service interactions. This is where the consumer approach really kicks in. Right now, employees are frustrated at having to navigate many different online sites and internal systems when requesting workplace and data center services from IT. Associates can’t find what they need and are hampered in their ability to get work done. Consumerizing the service request experience—similar to Apple’s App Store or Google Play—enables users to download, use, rate, and share internal apps, just as they do as consumers.
Social collaboration: Social collaboration accelerates tools and application adoption, communication, productivity, and knowledge accuracy. It captures the tribal knowledge that already exists within the service environment in a consumer-style format. An innovative social knowledge base includes social profiles, collaborative feedback, peer ratings and reviews, likes and follows, alerts, notifications, and sharing features.
Analytics: Best practices in customer experience analytics can be leveraged to deliver truly great experiences for end users. There is a need to understand the behavior and preferences of end users to better align services that meet their expectations. Data is critical to how organizations shift from transactional service delivery models to intuitive, predictive services. From segmentation to customer value management to behavioral analytics, data and insights will help design the service desk transformation to better match employee expectations and needs.
Moving the help desk from a technology focus to an end-user focus must involve more than just the IT department. Many business units, from marketing to HR and other shared services, can influence, if not actively participate, in the transformation. And of course, the users themselves should have a seat at the table. The user perspective must drive any initiative, so make sure employees are engaged and their voices are heard at every point in the process.
We’re all human, and we want to be treated as such. Classic corporate bureaucracy and barriers to simple experiences won’t be tolerated anymore. It’s bad for employees, and it’s bad for business. The service desk should be optimized to allow everyone to work at their best.