The era of employee experience: how businesses can provide consumer-grade tech support


Women at a desk and looking at phone and writing notes.

It’s no exaggeration to say that we live in the era of experience.

Put simply, we, as consumers, expect a top-level experience in everything we do, whether it’s buying a coffee, or buying a car.

And as we experience the benefits of this best-in-class service, those expectations are starting to spread beyond our personal lives. Increasingly, people want that same top-quality, seamless experience with all the tools and processes they use at work, too.

Perhaps nowhere is this more important than in IT support. After all, if the services employees need to solve issues and do their jobs well are ineffective, those workers will not only get frustrated and dissatisfied, but efficiency will drop across teams, too.

In this blog, we’ll look at the problems causing poor employee experience at the IT Service  Desk, as well as how businesses can address these – looking at some of the companies that are setting an example, right now.

The issues with IT support today

To be blunt, for many businesses out there, the experiences employees get from the IT service desk are patently not consumer-grade.

Much of the assistance offered is still manual – advice given over the phone or in person – and that costs time as much as for support workers who are assisting – who are held up by simple queries that could be managed automatically – as it does for employees who are looking for help – who waste time waiting for answers on the phone rather than doing their jobs.

What’s more, relying on employees for all your IT support means that service is limited to working hours, doesn’t reflect the 24/7 nature of today’s world, or different time zones

Where systems do exist, bad layouts and UX mean the experience is sub-standard, and difficult to personalise for different regions – while a lack of transparency about the support process means employees may not know what’s happening with their request at any given time

These issues have been felt all the more acutely during the pandemic, where, with workers forced to work from home, there are few alternatives

What better tech support looks like

So, how can businesses create a better experience for employees?

Firstly, turning to technology and automation is an efficient way to streamline tasks, prioritize better, and use time more effectively to help employees help themselves.

Chatbots or Virtual Agents, for example, offer quick resolution for simple tasks, and are available 24/7, in a variety of different languages. That frees up human workers to focus on complex issues. The most advanced tools can even identify new opportunities for automation based on historical data, ensuring most frequent tasks are automated, attaining maximum deflection.

The second tip is to spend wisely: don’t make loads of new investments; rather, get the most value out of your existing portals. One way to make sure you’re focussing on the right issues is to invest time in understanding the needs of your employees, and conduct usability testing – which will allow you to understand the channels they use, too.

Finally, it’s all about simplicity. Where possible, make tools combine seamlessly. Unifying all your tools on a single platform is the best way to keep everything integrated and ensure all user accounts are linked.

And on the topic of simplicity – cut the jargon! By keeping support in your employees’ language, and maintaining a simple, standardised UX, you’ll get far better results, as customers know what they’re looking for – and can find it, too.

Two businesses leading the pack in IT support

Heineken is one brand that’s getting it right.

The business’ IT support team is a mammoth operation, with 800 service desk agents processing 100,000 tickets a month in 21 different languages.

The efficiency of this operation, however, was poor, with the uptake of self-service solutions only at 20%, with 40% of requests coming in via phone.

The business turned to usability testing to capture feedback from 40 colleagues – both IT and end users – from 9 different sub-companies in different regions.

They identified excessive complexity in the existing IT support system, with thousands of different options making tickets too difficult to log.

To remedy these issues, Heineken turned to ServiceNow’s Virtual Agent.

The implementation makes self-service easy to access, while more complex actions are handed to human service desk agents.

Tools combine seamlessly with other tools, while integrated ticket functionality means all the necessary actions are compiled in one ticket for simplicity and ease-of-use. Improved transparency lets a user know where a ticket is at all times, while predictive intelligence makes requests two times faster. There’s more on Heineken’s story here.

Another success story is Levi Strauss.

The business was looking to speed up transformation, achieve operational effectiveness, and significantly improve quality of service, plus reduce time to resolution in its service centre.

They found too much time was being wasted on the phone with support desks, holding employees back from doing their jobs, while the pandemic meant issues had to be solved more effectively remotely

After their own fact-finding process, they decided to implement Virtual Agent, which integrated easily with existing tools, including the corporate intranet and Microsoft Teams.

The implementation quickly saw tickets deflected from the service desk, making it easier for employers to get back to their work.

The tool has now achieved close to 50% deflection rate for first four months, Improved speed to answer, reduced call abandon rate – as well as an 100% SLA in March 2021. Hear more on Levi's story here.


Conclusion

All of us have been at the other end of poor IT Helpdesk support.

While it may be annoying in your personal life, when it comes to business, the impact can be much greater. Poor service can frustrate employees and ruin customer relationships – the very people our businesses rely on most.

Something has to change. But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be like this. With the right platform, you can ensure IT support integrates seamlessly with the rest of your business, maximise the employee experience, and reap the rewards.

Discover how ServiceNow can help you create amazing IT experiences wherever your employees work here.

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