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November 25, 2014

Self-Service: guidance for successful implementation

People are familiar with Self-Service concepts in their daily life. Like checking in for a flight, booking a hotel, or simply ordering a meal online from your favorite restaurant. Many businesses' support departments, like FM, IT and HR have adopted the Employee Self-Service concept to allow employees to access support, services, facilities, and information easily and efficiently via the web or specific mobile apps. To take advantage of the full business value, any IWMS implementation that includes Self-Service software needs to comply with five starting points.

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1.    Keep it simple, stupid (KISS)
Mind your target audience: employees don’t speak the language of any back office specialist nor do they need to understand the complexity behind their requests. Employees need a self explaining tool that is extremely easy to access and that only includes the relevant interaction. By combining multiple disciplines like FM, IT and HR in one integrated Employee-Self-Service portal, you can offer a single-point-of-contact for any support or service request. This makes life easier for employees and customers, reduces the number of portals and software solutions, and allows an efficient and effective follow up.

2.    Make IT attractive
Give employees a reason to continuously visit and use your Self-Service portal or mobile apps by ensuring they personally benefit from it. How? By offering content and information that is relevant. Relevancy can be based on previous behavior such as requested services, or demographics including gender or job function. Once an employee has booked the same meeting room several times, it should appear on top of the selection list in the next booking request. If managers tend to frequently ask where the HR performance guidelines are stored, any manager that enters the Self-Service portal should see this question on top of the FAQs list. Delivering relevant content requires that IWMS software includes the possibility to configure specific rulings and intelligence.

3.    Ensure follow up
To make Self-Service valuable for both employees and businesses, a successful implementation includes a full connection with back office processes to ensure effective follow-up to any service request. By integrating these processes in one IWMS solution, you can monitor service levels, identify potential escalations, and improve the communication with all stakeholders involved. Employees can use Self-Service to simply query the actual status of their request, check planned delivery dates, or view the planned work. Even after closing a request, integrated Self-Service allows you to validate the perceived quality of services with automated surveys and feedback forms.

4.    Spread the word
If people don’t know of the existence of your Self-Service solution, they’ll never use it. Explain the benefits for employees and repeat the message in multiple media including internal newsletters, social media, intranet, or poster campaigns. Communicate how easily employees can access Self-Service and ask them for feedback and ideas. Measure and share the impact of Self-Service and reward positive behaviour.

5.    Balance your channels
Employee Self-Service is a proven concept in Facility Management, IT Service Management and Human Resource Management that immediately improves services accessibility and increases efficiency in processing and delivery. Does this make Self-Service the Holy Grail for any customer service? No. Self-Service is perfect for standardized and relatively simple service requests but due to its nature and design, Self-Service is not suitable for complex or special requests. That’s why Self-Service will never completely replace your physical Service Desk, telephone, or personal interaction with employees and customers. Finding the best balance between business support, increasing efficiency, and reducing costs, is also about balancing digital employee communication with personal and face-to-face interaction.

Jos Knops
Director Global Product Marketing