IT Support’s Required Evolution to Empower Employees in 2021

IT Support in 2021

Have you stopped to think about IT service management (ITSM) and IT support in 2021? In particular that, thanks to their regular consumer-world experiences of support, your organization’s employees now expect a choice of support channels. Whether it’s chat (and even chatbots) or self-service and self-help, they expect an omnichannel approach to IT support as the norm. Plus, of course, the use of automation speeds things up. However, empowering employees is not only about choice and self-servicing, but it’s also about better meeting employee expectations and, for the IT service desk, reducing workload pressures and delivering cost efficiencies.

Here, self-service backed by automation, in particular, should be the poster child for employee empowerment. But, as with the delivery of any new technology-based capability, it’s only going to deliver the expected benefits if employees actively use it.

Here @StephenMann shares five tips to help your organization to get started with employee empowerment. #EX Share on X

So, there’s a need to consider the employee experience in this employee empowerment and the required changes to IT support in 2021. Please keep reading to find out more.

The current employee experience levels of IT self-service

Finnish service provider HappySignals measures two key facets of employee experience for its customers: employee happiness and lost productivity. The chart below shows a view of their customers’ aggregate data during the period that covered the height of the crisis for many, from approximately 350 thousand pieces of incident feedback over six months (and new data points are now available from HappySignals). Please note that this data includes both new HappySignals customers and those that have already upped their employee experience game.

Self-service backed by automation, in particular, should be the poster child for employee empowerment says @StephenMann #automation #selfservice Share on X

This shows that the IT self-service portal and chat channels provide the worst employee experience – where happiness is +64 and +62 respectively, versus email’s +68 (the next lowest). And, unexpectedly, there’s the highest level of employee non-productivity – at just over 4 hours – for self-service. It’s not exactly the “better, faster, cheaper” that self-service promised. However, and it has taken a few years to get there, self-service has finally overtaken the phone and email channels in terms of usage volumes.

According to @HappySignalsLtd date the IT self-service portal and chat channels provide the worst employee experience. Surprised? #EX Share on X

The important thing here is to appreciate that all might not be well, in employee experience terms, with your service desk’s newest channels. So, what can you do to make things better for IT support in 2021?

IT support in 2021: 5 employee empowerment tips

The following five tips will help your organization to get started with employee empowerment:

  1. Realize that a “build it and they will come” approach rarely works for new IT support capabilities and ITSM tools. Instead, follow the next four tips to increase the chances of your new IT support channels being successfully adopted by employees (such that the anticipated benefits are delivered).
  2. Cost-reduction shouldn’t be the main “motivation” for self-service. Instead, research shows that success comes from making it about “better employee experiences and outcomes.” If you don’t do this, and the same applies to chat, there’ll be little personal motivation for employees to leave the phone and email channels, and possibly an inferior user experience too. If you can get employees to use self-service in high numbers, then the cost-based benefits will come too – making IT support in 2021 better for everyone.
  3. Recognize that organizational change management tools and techniques are needed. Because the introduction of these new capabilities is a change to the traditional ways of working. And remember that this relates to both the employees using self-service and the IT staff who will benefit from what the IT support industry has termed “ticket deflection.”
  4. Understand that trying to force employees to use self-service all the time is not a great strategy. Instead, there needs to be choices that map to employee preferences and situations. The employee experience is key too – again, if it’s easier to email or call, then that’s exactly what employees will do.
  5. Appreciate that self-service and self-help success relies on knowledge and automation success. Without your existing success with these capabilities, the self-service capabilities offered to employees will be little more than an online replication of your email channel. So, why would they choose to use it? And, even if they do, the main benefits of ticket defection and automation-based speed are lost.
You need to appreciate that self-service and self-help success relies on knowledge and automation success – @StephenMann #selfservice #automation #servicedesk Share on X

What’s your IT service desk doing to empower end-users? If you’ve successes or learnings to share for IT support in 2021, then please let us know in the comments section below.

Stephen Mann
Stephen Mann
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Principal Analyst and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm Also an independent IT and IT service management marketing content creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT service management professionals.

Previously held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester and the UK Post Office), IT service management consultancy, enterprise IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and product marketing for a SaaS IT service management technology vendor.

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