How self-service technology reduces IT workloads and saves time
At the most basic human level, we all want control over the things we can change — like the way we spend our time and the way we respond to our environment.
Self-service technology puts that power in our hands. We use a remote to choose what we watch and an assortment of apps to set priorities, manage our money, and even plan our weekend based on the weather.
It only makes sense, then, to give our employees self-service technology in the workplace.
What are different types of self-service technology?
Self-service technology is most often used to describe customer service applications that allow us to conduct various activities without the help of another person.
Most of us encounter self-service technology throughout daily life. Think of airport kiosks, gas stations with credit card readers, self-scanning check-out lanes, and digital touchpads that allow you to place your order in a fast-food restaurant.
But as technology journalist Adrian Bridgwater points out, self-service technology is now being built into many companies’ operations through layers of automation that enable self-service.
This can transform areas such as IT service ticket management and communications into processes with a self-service component. Combining self-service technology with artificial intelligence makes these solutions even more powerful. AI has become the backbone of many initial conversations with customers through chatbots, for instance, and self-service helps make call center interactions more productive and efficient.
In the workplace, self-service technology refers to any solution that allows employees to resolve an issue on their own. For instance, they could use a mobile app to reserve a desk or use a room scheduling display to submit an IT-related service request.
What are the advantages of self-service technology?
Self-service encourages employee mobility and flexibility.
The new hybrid workplace is based on the premise of allowing employees to work from anywhere. When given the choice of whether to come into the office, employees won’t make the commute just to sit at a solitary desk for eight hours.
Their main motivation to return is to collaborate and socialize with their coworkers.
And when they have everything they need to be productive at their fingertips, they don’t have to be tied to a single desk.
Self-service technology helps IT and HR leaders save time.
Many organizations pivoted their product or service offerings during the pandemic and found themselves busier than ever. They continued hiring remotely and now have dozens of new employees who have never worked in their physical offices. When those employees do come into an office location, they’ll be entering an unfamiliar setting.
Even employees who worked in the office for years will notice things look different. Their office has likely been reconfigured or renovated to adjust the amount of space and mix of space types based on occupancy insights.
In other words, everyone will likely need some help finding their way around. Self-service kiosk technology that uses wayfinding software is much more efficient than giving everyone a tour.
And self-service technology that allows employees to submit IT support tickets is much easier than having a constant stream of people wandering over to a help desk.
Self-service technology makes future IT investments easier to justify.
While IT leaders may not be directly involved in office design or leasing decisions, your input is critical when it comes to technology investments. It’s much easier to justify upgrading your office Wi-Fi or adding more conference room monitors when you have the data to back up your requests.
Self-service technology can offer valuable workplace analytics, including how many employees are in the office each day and how often they use meeting rooms.
Self-service simplifies resource management.
Managing office resources is more challenging in a distributed workforce. If an employee regularly works at home and comes into the office for weekly team meetings, they might discover there are no desks available for them.
When they can see a shared schedule of which rooms and desks are reserved and who is using them, they can make the most of their time in the office by using self-service technology.
With a self-service desk reservation system, they can book a desk near their colleagues to work on a shared project or reserve a meeting room to have a closed-door discussion. Self-service puts the power in their hands and links employees with the resources they need to be successful while working in the office.
What should you consider when evaluating self-service technology?
Intuitive user interface
Your employees have enough on their minds without trying to figure out the latest self-service technology you’re introducing. If it requires more than a few minutes to use, they’ll find a work-around (which usually means sending an email, Teams message, or Slack notification to the IT team).
If you want high user adoption, you need simple self-service technology.
App overload is real.
The average employee toggles between different applications 10 times every hour, according to research from Ring Central.
Each time they switch to a different one there’s a new opportunity for distraction.
That’s why it’s so important that any self-service technology you choose integrates easily with the solutions your workplace already uses. That includes your calendar apps and digital signage.
App overload is just as frustrating for your IT and HR departments. Onboarding new employees shouldn’t require setting up 10 different logins, usernames, and passwords.
With self-service technology that includes single sign-on, you can connect everything to their email account so they can easily log in. This also makes it easier to revoke access if needed.
With more than half of all organizations reporting IT security breaches from third-party vendors, self-service technology could be your company’s weakest link if it doesn’t have the right security features.
Make sure you consider security features when evaluating self-service tools. That includes access control, multi-factor authentication, and data encryption at rest.
Self service via an employee experience mobile app
As your workforce becomes more distributed, they need self-service technology that meets them where they are. Self-service technology helps them do their best work without adding to your team’s to-do list.
Employee experience mobile apps make self-service easier than ever, enabling employees to find rooms or desks and reserve them instantly. With a self-service mobile app, employees can save time and you can make sure you have the insight you need to plan for the future.