Please, Help Yourself?

Service desks are on a mission to encourage their end users to help themselves. Instead of contacting the service desk, they are driving the usage of self-service with a view to freeing up some much needed resources and relieving the burden of every service desk’s bugbear—the dreaded password reset and account unlock. There have been many successful (and less successful) adoptions of self-service, with some service desks realizing benefits, whereas others have actually found that their call volumes have increased as end-users take to the telephones to vent their frustration at not being able to find the answer they were looking for.

The benefits and pitfalls of self-service are far too numerous to squeeze into this bite-sized blog, but luckily the Service Desk Institute (SDI) and LANDesk recently embarked on a research project to discover if end users were actually happy to help themselves. Do they feel empowered by solving their own IT issues? Are they rejoicing in the time savings that self-service technology can offer? Or are they reluctant or antagonistic, believing that the service desk is paid to do a job, and that job is to fix IT when it breaks? For the first time end users were asked their opinions, and the results were very revealing.

Without wanting to give too much away, the report found that 43 percent of end users prefer to use self-service in preference to contacting the service desk. This is an important result, and bodes well for service desks exploring the self-service route. Additionally, we found that for those who do not currently have access to self-service, 71 percent would be interested in using this facility in the future. It is clear then that the appetite from end users is there.

So, can we expect self-service to really take-off in the future? Very much so, but with one important caveat – self-service is not for everyone. There will be some sectors or organizations where self-service will never be a viable option (investment banks immediately spring to mind – when IT failures can cost millions in lost revenue, it would be foolish to expect end users to seek out a solution by themselves or log a call). The trick is to understand your user population , what they would like to see in a self-service tool, and what would make them use it. Our self-service report has shed some light on to the thoughts and feelings of the end-user population, and has hopefully prompted readers to think about the type of questions they might ask. It’s important to get this consultative process right – the future of your self-service adventure depends on it.

A full copy of Self Service – Is it serving its purpose? Can be found here:

Daniel Wood is the Head of Research & Publications, Service Desk Institute