Self-Service Support: Don’t Set It and Forget It

Whether supporting internal employees or external customers, service and support teams have always been the backbone of any business. But today, support plays an even more important role as customers now expect products and services to always be connected and working and for support to be immediate and always available. When something isn’t working properly—whether it’s 2 PM or 2 AM, New York City or New Delhi—someone needs to be available to help remediate the issue. It’s a near impossible task for many companies. After all, very few organizations can offer 24×7 customer support. There is hope, however.

Self-service, via help centers or portals, step-by-step overlays, AI bots, and user forums, is becoming more broadly adopted across organizations. Having a variety of self-service options ensures that there are always resources available to inform and answer customers’ queries. And not only are these methods a more efficient and cost-effective way of providing ongoing support, but it’s also how today’s customer wants to be supported.

According to Harvard Business Review, 81 percent of customers try to self-serve before engaging a contact center. Why? Because no one wants to wait in a queue for a human agent when their question might have a simple, straightforward answer. By empowering users to resolve problems on their own, companies can deliver faster solutions while freeing up support teams to handle more complex issues. Of course, this only works if you have solid self-service tools and the users are actually utilizing them.

disassemble and assemble

Whether supporting internal employees or external customers, service and support teams have always been the backbone of any business. But today, support plays an even more important role as customers now expect products and services to always be connected and working and for support to be immediate and always available. When something isn’t working properly—whether it’s 2 PM or 2 AM, New York City or New Delhi—someone needs to be available to help remediate the issue. It’s a near impossible task for many companies. After all, very few organizations can offer 24×7 customer support. There is hope, however.

Self-service, via help centers or portals, step-by-step overlays, AI bots, and user forums, is becoming more broadly adopted across organizations. Having a variety of self-service options ensures that there are always resources available to inform and answer customers’ queries. And not only are these methods a more efficient and cost-effective way of providing ongoing support, but it’s also how today’s customer wants to be supported.

According to Harvard Business Review, 81 percent of customers try to self-serve before engaging a contact center. Why? Because no one wants to wait in a queue for a human agent when their question might have a simple, straightforward answer. By empowering users to resolve problems on their own, companies can deliver faster solutions while freeing up support teams to handle more complex issues. Of course, this only works if you have solid self-service tools and the users are actually utilizing them.

Desktop Support Cost per Ticket

Each month, I highlight one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for service and support. I define the KPI, provide recent benchmarking data for the metric, and discuss key correlations and cause-and-effect relationships for the metric. The purpose of the column is to familiarize you with the KPIs that really matter to your organization and to provide you with actionable insight on how to leverage these KPIs to improve your performance! This month, I look at desktop support cost per ticket.

Cost per ticket is the total monthly operating expense of desktop support divided by the monthly ticket volume. Operating expense includes the following components:

  • Salaries and benefits for desktop support technicians
  • Salaries and benefits for indirect personnel (team leads, supervisors, workforce schedulers, dispatchers, QA/QC personnel, trainers, and managers)
  • Technology and telecom expense (computers, software licensing fees, etc.)
  • Facilities expense (office space, utilities, insurance, etc.)
  • Travel, training, and office supplies

As you might expect, the majority of costs for desktop support are personnel related. The figure below shows the average breakdown of costs for North American desktop support organizations in 2017.

desktop support costs

Why It’s Important

Cost per ticket, along with customer satisfaction, are often referred to as the foundation metrics in desktop support. They are the two most important metrics because ultimately everything boils down to cost containment (as measured by cost per ticket) and quality of service (as measured by customer satisfaction).

In any service delivery organization, cost, or more accurately unit cost, is critically important. Cost per ticket is a measure of how efficiently desktop support conducts its business. A higher than average cost per ticket is not necessarily a bad thing, particularly if accompanied by higher than average quality levels and lower mean times to resolve. Conversely, a low cost per ticket is not necessarily good, particularly if the low cost is achieved by sacrificing quality of service or results in longer than average resolution times. Every desktop support organization should track and trend cost per ticket on a monthly basis.

Remote Desktop Support

Etech Technology Solutions (ETS) provides a wide spectrum of IT solutions and offshore software development services helping clients transform the way they do business. The remote desktop support services from ETS provide a secure and fast way to ensure your IT resources operate efficiently.

Our remote desktop support services are designed to provide your business with full control and manage your IT infrastructure and network resources to achieve business growth and maintain high-quality performance by reducing operational costs. Efficient management of IT resources like computers, Internet, email, smart phones, servers, network resources, mobile devices etc is crucial for successful running of business operations. These services help in faster resolution of all complaints and grievances pertaining to your IT infrastructure. Seamless accessibility and smooth running of IT infrastructure provides a superior user-experience vital for business growth.

Remote support services can help companies improve IT infrastructure uptime and productivity as resources are available round-the-clock. Businesses can focus on their core competencies as resources can be channelized to achieve strategic goals rather than support activities. Companies can realize reduction in operational costs as less staff is required to manage the IT resources.

With our round-the-clock quality remote support services, you can expect 24x7x365 accessibility to crucial IT resources for your customers. A round-the-clock accessibility ensures optimized use of IT infrastructure to meet the changing business needs and environment. All of the support sessions are secured, protected, encrypted and requires end-user to give permission to initiate the operations by technicians.

We have a team of expert system engineers and support specialists having strong domain knowledge, vast experience, and technical skills supported by advanced softwares, latest remote access tools to support travelling or remote users. Businesses can witness improved employee productivity, higher ROI, and enhanced customer experience achieved through high-value support.

A lesson in organizational change management

A business acquaintance was sharing his enthusiasm after purchasing new technology for their company. I listened intently as he passionately described the features, add-ons, and benefits. The solution sounded amazing, so I asked; “What resourcing is applied to your adoption plan?”

He looked at me quizzically, like he was hoping he was giving the right answer, and began to describe the PM, the technical team, and the development team. He extolled the virtues of their technical talent and abilities, saying they were hand-picked as the best of the best for this transformation.

So I asked, “If this big enterprise implementation goes off the rails, how will you protect this crack-shot team?”

“Why would it?” was his answer. We spoke for quite some time; below is some of the information we discussed.

Good technology is the foundation for efficiency, data analytics, great service, and streamlining work, yes. But if the people using it are ill prepared to adopt it or unsupported to use the new functionality, then there is a high chance it could go off the rails. People being asked to use the technology need to be brought right along with the project team, even during development. Basically, a good people strategy (read organizational change management) can make a difference between success and failure.

Let me dispel a few myths about change management:

  • Organizational change management (OCM) is about smoothing over the impact. False! The study of organizational change and performance began in the 1930s. Since then behavioral motivation, human values, and organizational structure has used science and study to back up key methodologies and activities to support change from the very beginning of a project. It isn’t about “smoothing,” it is about readiness, planning, and sustainability as well as implementation.
  • We already have a technical team, we don’t need a change team. False! In large, complex technical changes affecting the enterprise level, one person is not enough to build a solution for adoption and increased utilization of that technology. A proper change team selected to work alongside the technical team will provide the breadth of change planning necessary to increase awareness, understanding, adoption, and sustainability for the change.
  • Our PM is equipped to do our OCM. False! Pick a job; one person cannot manage schedule, scope, and budget and still have the capacity for complex change planning. It is unrealistic and unfair to expect. Your PM might be trained in OCM skills, but applying them overtop of their already complex role is not a good idea.

Here is a fact, it doesn’t matter how great the technology solution is, if the people using it struggle to adopt it, you might get a shinier tool that doesn’t do what it’s intended to do.

The technology was already purchased, so my friend and I investigated what that meant for the organization.

  • Leadership. The leadership team needs to decide if they are investing in a “slightly better yesterday” or a “really terrific tomorrow.” It takes an aligned leadership (often with conflicting goals) to agree on how change will be managed within an organization, especially if leadership finds operational consistency and project success of high value. Then, identify a key sponsor to own the transformation. He/she needs to understand the load, outside of operational duties, that the responsibilities bear. The PM and Change Lead require ongoing face-time and access to this decision maker.
  • Maturity and Complexity. Understanding the statistics that promote successful change as it applies to the company culture is equally important. Knowing where their organization falls on the change maturity scale and how it applies to the complexity of the specific change determines the activities required. This needs to be understood as an organization and authorized budgetarily. Then building a roadmap for increasing change maturity for the organization will offer guidance, governance, and stability around how change is handled.
  • Readiness and Collaboration. Engaging the Change Lead at the same time as the PM with equal reporting status to the sponsor allows the two specialists to equally manage the technical and people strategies and tactics while applying their unique skills to the project. This means the project and change activities will be budgeted properly from the beginning. Thus, the change lead will have the authority to build the plan, and the project is less-likely to suffer from after-project costs. This commitment to managing change leads to higher adoption and technical proficiency.
  • A True Change Team. A focus on recognizing that no one change person can build or create a proper people strategy when they are single-handedly asked to swoop in and “make it nice for the people.” When a PM is assigned to a project they are never left on their own to make it happen. A team of technical specialists are assigned to the project as well. Yet, in many cases the Change Lead is left to beg for time and borrow resources from training, communications, document management, the business analyst pool, etc. What they need is dedicated time from these people.

When it comes to change management, here is what we know to be true:

  • More than 1 in 3 (34%) of projects have no baseline (Wellingtone).
  • 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail (Geneca).
  • 82% of CEOs identify change management as a priority (Blanchard Group). Few are equipped to lead it.
  • When organizations follow a rigorous approach to transformation and take MORE managed actions, the overall success rate improves from 26% to 79% (McKinsey).
  • For large projects, there is a 6.5 times return on change management spending, and smaller projects can expect at least 2 times the return, according to a whitepaper by changefirst.com.

The end-story is this, when OCM is led, managed, and resourced properly, it has the power to increase adoption rates, improve utilization of the technology, and in many cases, improve the organization’s opinion about the technical group doing the implementation. Wouldn’t you want a “really terrific tomorrow” to include OCM for enhancing the amazing work of the technical group?