How to get the benefits of a self-service portal across to your employees

A self-service portal may be the ideal solution for your service department to help you increase customer satisfaction and lower costs at the same time, but it’s vital that your employees use it and continue to do so well into the future. This article provides a number of tips for setting up a successful self-service portal – and the key to success lie in providing complete communication.

First, though, let’s define what a self-service portal is as referred to here. Very quickly, a self-service portal is a site hosted by the organization that enables users to perform transactions, from simple account updates to requesting service, managing support tickets, and more.

Take communication into account during implementation

Overly communicating to employees during the implementation of a self-service portal means that you must consider your employees’ acceptance of the portal even before the implementation of said portal. Some important things to consider prior to your entering into an implementation is how you are going to handle the implementation and even the internal promotion of the portal within the organization? Secondly, how are you going to gain the acceptance needed to innovate the company processes, the primary benefit of the portal, and prove it return on investment for users? The answer to these types of questions is simply not: “Let’s send everyone an email and tell them what we’re doing.”

These types of communications much engage your users, and provide them with appropriate call to action that helps encourage to use the portal and possibly generate excitement in so doing. It is important that you ask questions about the future of the portal users during the implementation. Who fits the company profile and your target groups, but also identify the specific aim of the portal. Implementation and communication strategy go side-by-side.

Choose your methods of communication

Next, identify and specify the goals of the portal at an early stage. The goals can be different for every organization and usually resemble something like this: easing the pressure on the service portal and more international users who communicate through the same channel. Once you have set your goals, you can select the products that you want to support these goals. For instance: posters, a tutorial or screensaver, or a fun gadget. A good way of integrating the portal in your organization is changing the interface to match your organization’s corporate identity. This lets you put your mark on the tool and makes it recognizable to the end user. You can use your in-house marketing or communication department for this, or ask a specialized agency.

Communicate in phases

It is important that you continue to communicate during all the phases of the portal’s implementation. Before the portal goes live you can focus on announcements like: “Coming soon: the self-service portal!” Once the portal is live, it is a challenge to activate the target group with a different type of communication. Later on it can be useful to continue communicating as a reminder, keeping your employees motivated to use it. It is important to make sure the portal not only goes live, but also does not lose any momentum with users.

Measure the goals and adjust if needed

If you analyze a promotion process properly, you can check whether the goals are being met. In other words, you can see whether your communication plan has resulted in a return on investment. Are users using it and are the numbers of users growing regularly. It’s up to you to continue communicating appropriately in an attempt to ensure you gain new users to the portal. If there are any problems with use, step in and try to determine where the problems are, like which departments do not use the portal, and attempt to initiate a specific campaign to engage this population and encourage their use.

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