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Building a Web Self-Service Portal: Keys to Success* By Paul M. Dooley Optimal Connections LLC www.optimalconnections.comBuilding a Web Self-Service Portal:

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Presentation on theme: "Building a Web Self-Service Portal: Keys to Success* By Paul M. Dooley Optimal Connections LLC www.optimalconnections.comBuilding a Web Self-Service Portal:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Building a Web Self-Service Portal: Keys to Success* By Paul M. Dooley Optimal Connections LLC a Web Self-Service Portal: Keys to Success* By Paul M. Dooley Optimal Connections LLC HDI World Conference March 9-12, 2008 Also an HDI Focus Book

2 Optimal Connections, LLC Agenda The Trend today: Customer Empowerment Whats in It for You and the Customer? Popular Portal Applications Key Steps in Implementing Your Web- based Portal Keeping it Going for Continued Success Q&A

3 Optimal Connections, LLC The Trend Today: Customer Empowerment The trend today is toward globalization, 7 x 24 coverage, and multi-channel support. Customers are asking for… –Choices – to get support how and when they want it –Convenience - the right reporting channel for the issue –Availability - to avoid problems in the first place! –Empowerment - to be informed –Return on Investment - to get the most from their system People – rather than big media - are taking a big part themselves in creating and driving media (witness YouTube and similar web destinations) Traditional news media are now migrating to an online format In fact, any business without a respectable web site is like a business without business cards – its just plain expected these days!

4 Optimal Connections, LLC The Web is power to the people More than ever, its power to the people - with new web trends such as … –Wikis – where the people publish the content themselves under the guidance of a hosting organization –Blogs – web logs where individuals share their thoughts, opinions and advice via online journals –Personal websites – via tools like MySpace, that are forming a new communications platform for people In the IT industry, the trend is for the support centers to function more like a business, where end-users are treated like customers and the emphasis is on keeping costs to a minimum, while maximizing productivity, customer and employee satisfaction One important way to accomplish this three-fold purpose is to deploy an effective web self-service portal for customers

5 Optimal Connections, LLC Whats in It for Customers Access support anytime – a web support portal is available whenever customers need help – 7 x 24. Better understanding of the support center – with easy access to SLAs, policies, and info, expectations are more accurately set. Increased availability of solutions – customers enjoy increased and faster access to common solutions Higher system availability – fast access to solutions leads to higher uptime and customer satisfaction The ability to collaborate with other customers – a web portal provides the ability to chat with customers Ability to influence support services – by submitting feedback, requests for enhancements

6 Optimal Connections, LLC Whats in It for the Support Center Makes it easy for customers to do business with you –Access: customer satisfaction driver –Position as being available 7 x 24 Publish services and set accurate expectations –Key to satisfaction: accurate expectations –Service catalogs and SLAs are key –Communicate your service offerings Enable customers as support partners – let customers access solutions Make it convenient to submit service requests –Service requests are planned dont necessarily demand phone support –Can be handled more cost-effectively via a portal Be proactive and avoid problems –Tell customers about problems before they encounter them! –Reduces costs, increases customer satisfaction, productivity Keep Customers Informed –By handling How To questions, status requests, or misc. questions.

7 Optimal Connections, LLC Whats in It for the Support Center Collaborate with and enable customers –Let them take on more of the support challenge – posting enhancements, sharing tips, submitting solutions, updates Market your value –Use the web as a platform to market your value –Display your mission, publish successes, and promote your value Create a competitive differentiation –Set your support center apart. Today its all about standing out. Reduce costs –Through self-service, proactive problem management –Do more work with the same level of staff and infrastructure. Improve performance –By reducing incidents, staff will have increased time for the back log Improve effectiveness and efficiency –Reporting status, answering how to questions, and processing service requests can be handled much more effectively

8 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications and Sample Portal Automated Status Reporting Web incident entry/update for customers Answer How to questions and provide solutions to simple repetitive problems Process routine service requests Provide proactive advisories Download center for updates Fast access to online documentation Enable customer collaboration with chat Publish service levels and a service catalog Keep customers informed about policies

9 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Automated Status Reporting More timely status reporting is an opportunity for improvement in most support centers –By maintaining a user profile and integrating it with your SMS, your portal can keep customers informed about their incident status –Report by number, location, date, and other criteria. –Summary information and drill down reporting should be available Benefits: –Set expectations more accurately, and keeps customers informed –Maintains customer satisfaction levels –Averts incoming calls for status, lowering costs and ensuring higher productivity Challenges: –Analyst writing skills –Quality incident logs to capture timely & accurate incident status –Web integration with your SMS to automate the process

10 Optimal Connections, LLC Automated Status Reporting Easy Access to Status

11 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Log or Update Incidents Customers enter/ update incidents by themselves for lower priority issues –Higher priority phoned in (guidelines) Tip: enforce a search of the KB first before allowing entry! –Otherwise you risk unnecessary incidents (a solution may be available) –Key: if no solution, then allow electronic incident entry Route incidents and requests to your normal queues –Avoiding the need for special monitoring –Establish metrics for service requests as well as incidents! Benefits: –More cost-effective way of handling low priority incidents and requests –Convenient access and empowerment for customers –Forms-based entry provides superior formatting, control, over Challenges: –Web integration to SMS –Metrics, monitoring and reporting for quality assurance

12 Optimal Connections, LLC Log or Update Incidents Sample Entry Screens

13 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Provide Answers and Solutions Provide fast answers to the top Frequently Asked Questions Access to simple, re-usable solutions and answer common questions –Through easy, fast access to an integrated, effective knowledge base Benefits: –Quick answers to common questions, resolve simple repetitive problems –Empowers customers, lowers costs, raises productivity Challenges: –Integration of your KB to your Service Management System and the web –A well maintained and solution rich Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) process –Providing access to only customer ready solutions –Knowledge Monitoring and measuring for quality and effectiveness –A top ten list of FAQs should also be auto-generated from the KB and posted to the portal.

14 Optimal Connections, LLC Providing Answers and Solutions Sample Screen Top Solutions

15 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Reset Passwords One of the biggest sources of repeat calls –30-50% of calls, in fact, indicates a recent study *. A significant potential cost saving for many help desks –Since many end-users could easily reset their own passwords if equipped. –Deploy one of the many software solutions through your web portal to enable customers, freeing your staff for more pressing incidents Benefits: –Empowers customers to resolve these simple service requests faster, while freeing up your staff for other work. –Lowers costs and improves staff productivity Challenges: –Integrating password reset tool to your web portal –Providing for security policy compliance –Encouraging, educating and training users to use * IDC Report

16 Optimal Connections, LLC Reset Passwords Sample 3 rd Party Tool Screens Sample apps: P-Sync

17 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Enter Service Requests 7 x 24 support for lower priority service requests Reserve valuable phone support time for processing higher priority unplanned incidents –Position the web as your preferred channel for handing planned routine service requests. –Examples: Change requests, requests for upgrades or upgrades, other non-defect related requests, enhancement requests Benefits: –Conserves valuable analyst phone time for handling incidents –More cost-effective, automated handling of service requests –Convenient 7 x 24 hour access for customers Challenges: –Monitoring responsiveness to the channel for efficient service request processing, so as to meet customer expectations –Service catalog integration, automated fulfillment on back end

18 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Deliver Proactive Advisories Keep customers informed about known errors and ways to avoid potential problems through timely service advisory bulletins –Timely bulletins describe reported known problems, and include advice on how to avoid the issue –A component of proactive Problem Management Benefits: –Consistent with ITIL Problem Management, this practice helps customers avoid problems in the first place – ensuring higher productivity, uptime, and customer satisfaction –Also lowers support costs by avoiding incidents in the first place Challenges: –Implementation of a supporting Problem Management process –Standard forms and supporting procedures, automation

19 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Deliver Proactive Advisories

20 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Provide Routine Updates Leverage your web portal to cost-effectively provide access to popular minor updates and upgrades –Avoid sending out CDs or DVDs, and reduce costs –Provide updates or upgrades to software cost-effectively via a downloads center. Benefits: –Reduces cost for the support center, while providing convenient 7 x 24 access to popular updates and upgrades. Relieves the administrative burden of providing these updates. Challenges: –Only use for low risk updates and upgrades. More complex or critical software updates may require service and support assistance to ensure trouble-free installation and configuration.

21 Optimal Connections, LLC Provide Routine Updates Sample Screen

22 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Deliver Online Documentation Customers want access, and we want them to be informed about how to use their systems Examples: –Publish your life-cycle support policy. Set customer expectations. –Your analysts need the customer to refer to a user guide, manual, or other set of instructions from time to time – why make things difficult? –Equip customers with HTML and PDF access –HTML enables search, and PDF provides easy download Benefits: –Speeds incident resolution and lowers cost – no searching for the right manual! An easy way to ensure the customer always has the proper manual for the job at hand! Challenges: –Integration with a document management system –Timely updates to ensure accuracy

23 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Deliver Online Documentation

24 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Enable Customer Collaboration Enable interactive, real-time two-way chat with customers –Extends self-service web portal to assisted service –Some audiences prefer this method (ie, gaming) –Can be integrated with Click-to-Talk, making it easy to transition to phone Analysts can handle multiple sessions simultaneously Benefits: –Positions you as more flexible, customer-centric –Decreases phone costs, as some incidents transition to chat –Can boost analyst productivity through multi-tasking, canned replies –Helps ensure self-service experience is successful Challenges: –Lacks provision for tone of voice, handling emotions –Integrating with a SMS to log, track sessions –Requires that analysts have typing, multi-tasking skills LivePerson, Inc 2002

25 Optimal Connections, LLC Enable Customer Collaboration Sample Chat Screen Sample apps: LivePerson InstantService

26 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Publish Service Levels Negotiating and documenting Service Level Agreements (SLAs) doesnt do anyone any good if the contents of those agreements arent communicated to customers and the help desk! –Customers need to know what to expect, and staff need to know at what level to deliver depending on the customer –Provide a link to Your Service Levels, informing the customers about the contents, terms and conditions of their SLA. Benefits: –More effective communications of SLA contents –Expectations more accurately set and higher customer satisfaction Challenges: –Be sure that any changes to SLAs are reflected in a timely fashion –Empower Service Level Management to make changes and updates as needed to reflect agreements and service levels in force –Integration with a Service Catalog

27 Optimal Connections, LLC Popular Web Portal Applications Provide a Service Catalog Beside SLAs, let customers know about your services! Start with basics: listing the various services you provide and informing customers in business terms. –Describe services as products –Include name, description, typical user, features/benefits, availability Include other helpful information with your service catalog to help customers in deciding which services they need. –Providing pricing information (value) –Eventually provide links so that once a customer has selected a given service, they go directly to automated service request entry! Benefits: more customer and business centric – making it easy to do business with the support center and IT Challenges: planning your catalog; defining and documenting your services; building, deploying, promoting and maintaining the catalog.

28 Optimal Connections, LLC Provide a Service Catalog Sample apps: newScale

29 Optimal Connections, LLC 5 Key Steps to Implementing Your Web Portal

30 Optimal Connections, LLC Step 1: Develop and Present a Business Case Develop and Present a Sound Business Case - Before you do anything! Why? –Sets expectations for management on what to expect (and not expect) –Defines a mission, clear goals and objectives, a time table, and milestones in the development and deployment of your portal –Lays out projected costs with a Cost/Benefits Analysis, proposed investment (people, hardware, software, etc.), a projected Return on Investment (ROI), an Action Plan and a projected timeframe for roll-out. –Defines Key Success Factors, so youll know when youve arrived at success! –Simply good business practice – reinforcing the notion that you run your support center like a business

31 Optimal Connections, LLC How to Develop and Present a Business Case 1. Complete a situation analysis Document the current situation with respect to customer self-service Establishes a baseline for later evaluation 2. Define your Goals and Expected Benefits –Identify and prioritize the key goals for your portal –Identify the biggest quick wins – prioritize these, and implement those features first to gain early successes in the rollout 3. Summarize your proposed solution: –Provide an overview of the design, features, and functions. –Summarize costs –Project timeline –List assumptions and risks, with contingencies –Spell out goals and benefits –Provide cost justification, with ROI projection

32 Optimal Connections, LLC How to Develop and Present a Business Case 4. Quantify cost savings expected to be realized –Provide projected estimates of cost savings, based on achieving the expected goals and realizing the benefits –Convert each projected benefit – performance improvement or cost reduction - into a dollar figure. Include a simple table to illustrate your assumptions and estimates Example: Reduce incoming incidents for simple repetitive issues that customers can resolve themselves. How to FAQs, re-usable customer ready solutions. 50 calls per week, x 52 weeks = 2600 incidents, 2600 incidents x average cost of $12/incident = $31,200 savings/Yr

33 Optimal Connections, LLC How to Develop and Present a Business Case 5. Estimate Portal Development and Deployment Costs. –Itemize project costs; compare total projected costs to estimate savings Examples of costs to factor in: Projected support team costs software costs, hardware costs, annual hosting costs, professional services, on-going admin and support costs 6. Assemble Your Business Case –Assemble the output and document a logical business case, with supporting logic and information. –Include costs, benefits, and savings over time to illustrate ROI 7. Moment of Truth: Present Your Case to Management –Present the compelling business case to management to secure management commitment, support and funding –Then launch the project and get going!

34 Optimal Connections, LLC Step 2: Lay the Ground Work! Assemble Your Team & Plan Like any other strategic initiative, this one deserves.. –A focused cross-functional team of Subject Matter Experts –Budget commitment of people, time and resources –A project lead & well defined project plan Incorporate team best-practices Engage your Marketing Department –Dont ignore your marketing dept! –Usually responsible for the image to the customer and marketplace –Especially important if you are planning an externally facing portal Involve Your Web Team –A valuable resource for technical support, resources, and on-going maintenance –Make them part of your team so you can work together to make the portal a reality!

35 Optimal Connections, LLC Lay the Ground Work Ensure Quality Processes Provide for Quality in Your Support Center –For a web self-service portal to be successful, you must have solid supporting processes in place within your support center –These must be positioned to effectively support the customer portal (foundational) –Otherwise you seriously compromise your success Key elements for support within the center include: –Business style writing skills –Quality logging of incident and service request (standards, QA process) –Support systems that lend themselves to web integration –The ability to budget supporting resources – tools, people, technology

36 Optimal Connections, LLC Step 3: Develop Based on Best Practices Align it with Your Organizations Web Site –Should have the same look and feel –Your portal is your image – align it with your organizations web Make it FAST! –Why users are going to your site? Searching for a solution. –Response and resolution time are key customer satisfaction drivers –Beware of fancy features which slow down performance! –Emphasize fast display, fast loading, and fast response Integrate it into your systems to minimize manual updates To manage, use a web metrics tool to measure and report on: –Number of page visits, unique visitors, repeat visitors –Most popular pages, least visited pages –Knowledge base (if used) visitors; % growth in solutions; % of visits successful; solution re-use; most popular authors –Effectiveness of KB and other tools

37 Optimal Connections, LLC Develop Based on Best Practices Keep it Simple and Easy to Use –Be compatible with the parent site –Pay attention to easy navigation and usage –If you can personalize it, so much the better Make it Engaging! –Keep all critical resources 1-3 clicks away –Like your analysts, your portal should greet the customer! Make it Easy to Find via the Search Engines! –If you build it, they will come. Not true. –Most people arrive at a web sites through a search engine – about 80%; only a small percentage by knowing the URL. –Make your web support site easy to locate! –Optimize your site so that search engines rank your site at the top of the list when someone types a relevant search phrase

38 Optimal Connections, LLC Step 4: Treat Rollout Like a Product Launch Once youve designed, developed and tested your new web self-service portal, youre ready for roll-out. This is the moment of truth, so we suggest managing your rollout just like any important new product or service. –Realize this is your face to the customer! –Done right is can be very effective and successful. Reduced costs, increased productivity and customer satisfaction. –Done wrong, and you end up with disappointed customers, and a difficult recovery (first impressions matter!).

39 Optimal Connections, LLC Treat Rollout Like a Product Launch Establish a Product Manager and supporting team Have a Release Plan Rollout it out in Phases –Internal rollout first –Beta phase (key customers and users) –Early adopters –Full rollout Consider branding your portal Position it properly as an expansion of services Assess feedback and you go, and communicate successes early and often!

40 Optimal Connections, LLC Step 5: Keeping it Going Ensuring Continuing Success! This is now one of your key support channels - dont neglect it! Market it on an on-going basis –Play a recording while customers on are hold –Promote its use via your analysts (during silent time) –Offer a free online demo –Post the URL everywhere! Keep it current through automated updates and effective management Report success to your staff, management, and customers Assess your ROI against your initial baseline and move ahead into the future!

41 Optimal Connections, LLC Go For It: Take it to the Next Level with Your Web Portal! Youll be more Customer and Business Centric – making it easier for customers to do business with you Youll Lower Costs – by enabling customers to solve simple issues themselves Youll Raise Productivity – helping customers avoid problems in the first place, resolving simple issues quicker. Higher uptime results, along with higher productivity. Youll Be More Proactive – staff will have more opportunity to engage in proactive problem management, eliminating the source of problems Youll Differentiate Yourself from the Competition – by virtue of the fact that you offer an effective, proactive means to assist customers.

42 Optimal Connections, LLC Resources Check out HDIs Focus book Building a Web Self- Service Portal: Keys to Success Visit ASPs web site and download the standards for the best web support Use HDIs Knowledge Management ROI calculator as a guide in developing hard numbers for you business case. Available at managers

43 Optimal Connections, LLC What are You Waiting for? – Get Started!.. Any Questions? Thank you for attending this session. Please fill out a session evaluation form.

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