Using evolved self-service to shape user experience

How service management’s ugly duckling became a swan

As someone who has worked in service management for 25 years, I am still surprised that so much is discussed about self-service. Surely by now it must have surpassed its original design brief: the simplicity of being able to log calls and view requests in a new anytime, anywhere paradigm for service management. Although, to begin with, it was only IT Service Management for the IT Department. In a client/server world, self-service was about how support staff, working away from their desktops, were able to respond and resolve calls while out in the front office. The ugly duckling was born.

Of course, the self-service portal has evolved, and arguably the convergence of technologies has accelerated the rate of change. This evolution often occurs due to the pursuit of digital transformation and a natural evolution of service management is customer and employee experience.

For HR, providing an on-demand services environment is necessary to retain staff. For IT, anything that speeds the resolution process and reduces lengthy email trails to first line enables them to concentrate on the strategic efforts that drive transformation and change. The use of an enterprise self-service portal is a fundamental component for any on-demand service environment.

However, a recent report by the Service Desk Institute (SDI) says that only 21 per cent of organisations have successfully shifted the reliance on email to a self-service portal, and one that offers the capability to self-help. 

Self-service should be the unifying channel that enables a 360-degree view and full delivery of service(s). Here are three reasons why the ugly duckling should be a swan.

The Service Catalogue

ITSM and Enterprise Service Management (ESM) solutions should provide an out-of-the-box service catalogue, that is simple to build and associates the users of the self-service portal to specific services that are defined by instances and offerings. The context of associating services to users can be best described as their service entitlements.

The catalogue should also link services to related products and configuration items, so inherent knowledge management can support user enquiries made via self-service, using a Google-style search bar. In return, the user will see information relating to the products they use and services to which they are entitled. These will include notifications regarding service status, tracking request progress and accessing knowledge articles to support self-resolution, as well as the functionality to quickly log a request with the service desk. Other privileged users will receive reports, workflow approvals and a view of their team’s activities.

AI has enabled the use of chatbots that feed off the context provided by a user’s entitlements and behaviour, boosted by machine learning, to present information to further help the self-service user.

In short, the service catalogue is the index against which the self-service portal ensures its relevance to its users, whether they are employees, service providers or customers; only ever presenting what is important to them, never junk data.

4me’s out-of-the-box Self-Service Portal feeds off the Service Catalogue


This statement may sound revenue-based, and why shouldn’t it? Amazon has made it its business to constantly compile information about buying behaviours so the website provides a service of recommendations to the consumer. It is what people expect, so why shouldn’t employers think the same way? Both want retention and loyalty.

Personalisation is a hugely important part of an employee’s experience, after all, work is how they spend a vast amount of time during the week. So, personalised self-service makes employee’s lives easier, which permeates positively into feedback and satisfaction and aids retention.

Happy staff, satisfied customers? As Gartner states, organisations that excel in personalisation will outsell companies that don’t by 20 per cent.

The ugly duckling is now assuming its grace and purpose. The indexes it manages, which heighten personalisation and experience of the self-service portal, are working hard beneath the surface.


Experience, whether customer or employee, demands an omnichannel approach to how services are delivered – whether web, mobile, email, phone or walk-up.

Omnichannel is not multi-channel. All of those channels can exist and provide support but are not always connected. Omnichannel is about the consistent presentation of information throughout. No matter how the employee or customer consume their services, the point at which the service provider(s) are needed, the pick-up requires little or no further qualification of the request. This is because the service catalogue allows an individual’s entitlements to be fully transparent, and rules ensure pick-up by the correct service provider is automated and little time is lost in pursuit of a resolution.

Deloitte Belgium’s MySupport, extends ESM and provides personalisation of service

Omnichannel needs to work consistently across all technologies. A walk-up should not require an employee to regale everything about who they are and what they do in an organisation in order to log a request. A support analyst should just be able to do that in a few clicks on the service desk console. Increasingly, it is self-service that companies look to promote as the lead channel, adding speed and flexibility to support processes whether web-based or mobile. An employee should still be able access the portal on his mobile device when commuting home on the train – with all information present and correct.

Omnichannel for enterprise service management is anytime, anywhere and everybody, available on self-service.

It may have taken 25 years, but self-service has come of age, and is progressively increasing its services reach. In enterprises such as Deloitte Belgium, employees see the enterprise services they are entitled to through the self-service portal, whether on a desktop, tablet or mobile. The pick-up in support is fully automated so assignments are made in an instant, and the on-demand experience that staff want to enjoy is feedback-driven to ensure continuous improvement.

The swan is fully fledged.