Remember when you had to save your paper receipts so you could return an item or get service if something failed during the warranty period? It actually wasn’t that long ago, but today we take for granted that stores can look up all the information needed by our credit card or even the item itself if there is a serial number. We have come to expect that the burden is on the retailer, not the customer, in these kinds of interactions. We also expect immediacy and get annoyed if we have to wait for an issue to be addressed or for something to get fixed.
Perhaps nowhere is this potential annoyance more pronounced then when employees need to work with IT support, and submit IT support tickets. No matter how skilled the IT support shop, or how advanced the technology, employee patience wears thin when there are delays in fixing IT issues.
We know employees are unhappy with IT support processes, because we asked them
In a recent IPsoft survey of 3,000 people in the UK on IT support issues, half said they felt IT requests go into a “black hole”; 42% said they try to find a workaround rather than deal with their IT support staff. More than one-third will ask a non-IT colleague for help rather than approach IT support, presumably because submitting a support ticket is an arduous and frustrating experience.
Current IT support processes clearly are not getting the job done, if our survey is any indication. Part of the problem is that we are still asking employees to open tickets to get support, plod through online forms to explain their issues, then wait until somebody somewhere picks up the issue, only to have that someone ask via email for more information that the employee previously provided, until finally the employee gets tired of waiting and picks up the phone to call the helpdesk directly and hears “please provide your ticket number.”
In addition, we are still expecting employees to understand the internal intricacies of individual organizations intended to support them, forcing them to navigate separate systems, intranets, self-service portals, phone numbers and yes, ticketing systems, just to keep doing their jobs.
Do new employees need to take a masterclass to navigate your organization?
Similar to how consumerization has forever changed the customer service organization with a “customer first” or “the customer is always right” attitude, our internal service organizations should take an “employee first” attitude. We need to map out employee journeys so they can get the support or information they need, make it simpler to go on those journeys, and go beyond what is expected to provide employees with the best possible experience. The burden is on the company to make this happen, not on a company’s employees.
We call this No More Tickets, and it’s simpler than most realize
Now, in reality, tickets – just like receipts – are still going to exist internally in systems, but we should stop communicating primarily through tickets to our employees. Employees should no longer have to open tickets, navigate seldom-used websites or applications, wait on hold or fit into “office hours” to get issues resolved or questions answered. Now this may sound like a huge or even impossible task, but it will be surprisingly achievable.
Most internal services are similar across companies, and while processes and backend applications will differ, overall employee requests remain fairly identical. Take HR as an example: We all have our corporate handbooks explaining various policies such as bereavement, maternity, dress code, holiday schedules etc. and backend systems for requesting PTO, sick days, personal days, or updating personal information etc.
While the answers to these questions are different by company, the frequency and the way employees ask for this information is uniform. So once you have identified the top 50 questions and top 25 requests in one field, they become repetitive across companies. Backend systems and processes are still different, but uniting how information and processes are presented to employees is a manageable task.
Just like customers, employees should get more than they expect
In the Age of the Customer, we focus on delivering a superior customer experience with every interaction, and metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) have never been more important. So how do we translate that focus to employees?
It all starts with employee journeys for common situations, such as:
- When an employee takes a sick day, the company should ask, “What else can we help with?” Notify a colleague or supervisor, reschedule meetings, or remind them about the free flu shots are all possibilities.
- When adding a vendor to the building security, ask if they need wireless access, a conference room and lunch for the meeting.
- When unlocking an account, reset the account on multiple devices and check if other systems have also been locked or passwords are about to expire.
- Finally, when we know that the employee is already “interrupted” in their normal work, automatically try to get other stuff done instead of sending reminder emails. For example, when they have requested a PTO day, explain that the company requires them to complete the mandatory ethics training by the end of the month or that they have unsubmitted expense reports that are nearing deadlines.
Addressing these common customer journeys with Smart Service, and moving to a No More Tickets world, is absolutely central to what IPsoft is delivering with our 1Desk platform, which integrates the cognitive capabilities of our Amelia virtual agent with automated processes across multiple systems. Employees at any time can interact with Amelia through 1Desk to complete tasks more efficiently and resolve IT issues.
Users no longer need to understand which department handles what issues; Amelia (and thereby an employee’s company) removes that burden and does the work for them. If she can’t resolve an issue herself, she finds the right people and processes to do so. This eliminates the time wasted filling out forms, making phone calls or searching for answers on HR processes, expense procedures or common IT issues. In employees’ view, IT and internal processes simply work, more quickly and efficiently than ever before, with an unprecedented level of speed and intelligence. In short, 1Desk allows a company to deliver a better experience, and more than what an employee would expect.
Let’s make 2018 the Age of the Employee
Smart Service will require companies to shift their thinking when it comes to how they service internal employees and other stakeholders for all of these tasks. Adopting an internal service culture in the Age of the Employee means an approach that puts employees at the center, with the intention of reducing if not removing the burden on employees to “figure it out” if they need support, information or interactions. Employees are a company’s most important resource; leveraging automation and cognitive technologies can help ensure they’re treated as such.