How to enable self-service in Jira Service Management
Originally published December 20, 2019, updated February 9, 2021
Nowadays, self-service becomes a new sexy. Customers seek for on-demand problem solving, which is something support teams have to consider. According to Forrester Research, 72% of customers prefer self-service over the phone or email support. Given that they can easily find and use these capabilities, providing them can reduce the ticket volume, increase customer satisfaction, and sometimes even reduce support costs. Let’s take a look at what we’re up to when using Atlassian software for this purpose.
Atlassian’s take on self-service
According to Atlassian, we can provide a successful self-service experience in 3 ways even before the customer raises a request. This includes easy access to an online knowledge base, the possibility to seek help within an online community, as well as a clear and well-thought-out customer portal. If you’re familiar with the Atlassian software, then you know that they not only talk the talk but also walk the walk by providing all those elements and more.
- Jira Service Management interface is clear even for the first-timers, as there are only the key elements that users need to raise a request. More importantly, though, the software is known for its flexibility when it comes to the customization possibilities – here we disclose this topic.
- We can post announcements on the Customer Portal to inform that we’re already working on some issue so it doesn’t have to be reported anymore.
- Confluence enables us to create a dedicated space where we can store articles and tips that may be of help for the client. We can link this space with a Jira Service Management instance, hence giving the users easy access to this online library via the search bar.
- The customers can check the status of their incidents if we’re using Statuspage.
- No matter if we’re a Solution Partner, an app vendor, an admin, or a user of their products, we can join the Atlassian Community which unites people interested in their software and serves as a forum where anyone can seek advice on how to deal with encountered issues.
- There’s a Twitter profile called Ask Atlassian, which is dedicated solely to the problems users have with their products, so you just need to mention them in a tweet about an issue and they’ll answer it.
What’s more, Jira Service Management Cloud has a special Widget which enables us to configure a light version of the request form, copy the generated code, and embed it on various websites. For example, we have it on our Atlassian Marketplace profiles and the documentation section on our website. This way, the customers can raise a request whenever they have a question about a product.
Leverage chat experience
But there’s one more thing they could do even before opening the Customer Portal. The increasing popularity of various messengers and enterprise chat solutions led to a situation where users would normally expect a live chat with a sales or support consultant. If there’s even such a thing as ChatOps, why not give a similar approach a try and show a human face to the customer in real time?
There’s already a good couple of various live chat solutions on the market. We wrote in this article that product companies and IT departments are now facing an opportunity to incorporate artificial intelligence in their operations to make them more effective, which may be a good case for implementing a chatbot. We should consider one of these options when:
- we have a big number of first-line tickets dealing with trivial issues like pricing questions;
- our customers more likely trust the information they receive from a consultant instead of a knowledge base;
- or they simply don’t find the Jira-based interface comfortable to use.
Marketplace apps like Chat for Jira Service Management or integrations with external tools like LiveChat enable customers to easily connect with an agent before going to the request form. It allows us to quickly log issues and service requests for resolution by IT personnel. Depending on our needs and configuration of the chat, it can either automatically create requests and store the conversation as comments, or provide a platform to communicate with an agent before submitting an issue. Other solutions, like Telegram for Jira integration, can actually substitute the Customer Portal interface with a conversational bot.
Create a clear look and feel of the Customer Portal
According to British Computer Society, 75% of conclusions people make about a website’s credibility are based on its visual aspects. It shouldn’t be a surprise that users are more likely to use a product or portal that is visually appealing than something that seems raw and generic. This means that the aesthetics of a service desk are just as important as any extra functionality. And let’s be honest here: even though the Jira Service Management user interface isn’t lacking in any way, there’s next to nothing we can do to change the overall design of the Customer Portal out of the box.
Self-service-wise, a clear look and feel is key. There would be no point in any service desk if it weren’t user-friendly. The customers should see where to log in, know which request type is for what, and be able to raise a request in a matter of seconds. As we’ve already mentioned, the UI of Jira Service Management is clear even for someone who sees the portal for the very first time, and there are a few self-service functions you can use, like knowledge base integration. You can extend this further with the apps available on the Atlassian Marketplace – for example, Extension for Jira Service Management allows adding external links to the header bar, so you can point to your website or other useful resources.
You can apply more significant changes to the user interface with Theme Extension for Jira Service Management. Intuitive configuration on the Edit mode doesn’t require any coding skills – we’d only need some help from graphic designers in creating custom graphics and adjusting brand colors. However, if we happen to know some HTML, we can add custom cards to the layout, which can be a more distinctive reference to specific places, like documentation or release notes. The possibilities, though, are almost unlimited – here are more ideas to get inspired.
Get more from Jira Service Management workflows
We can also add a self-service touch after a customer raises a request. A couple of workflow transitions that will make the agents’ work easier and enable clients to make certain actions within their requests will do just fine. This isn’t available in Jira Service Management natively, but there’s an app, Actions for Jira Service Management, which adds this function. It can be used in a bunch of different ways depending on how we configure it.
Conducting customer surveys
After resolving a ticket, it’s nice to get detailed feedback about how it all went. The one 5-star question survey available natively in Jira Service Management isn’t enough to gain in-depth insight into how the customer perceives the whole experience or if there were any problems along the way. It helps measure customer satisfaction, but it misses out on important information that you could use afterwards to improve the support process. There’s a way out of this by creating custom fields with questions you want to ask and which you can use later on when creating a survey.
Letting the customers edit and transition their requests
Enabling users to interact with their requests in more ways than just commenting makes it easier for them to change important details or even escalate it as they see fit. Also, it shortens the process in a way, because agents don’t need to get involved and make all the changes or transitions for the customers. For example, you can decide which fields the users can edit. Whenever a client wants to change something in their request, they can edit it and make changes only on the specific fields. Other than that, a customer can transition the request when there’s a need for their input. For instance, when the requester isn’t happy with the solution, they can reopen the request, or the other way around – when they’re satisfied with the answer to their question, they can close it. Each action they can take is visible on the sidebar of the Request Detail View in the Actions section.
Auto-assign agents to requests
Admins and agents can make good use of Actions for Jira Service Management as well, because it extends the automation rules available in the tool. A common use of this is assigning agents to the requests based on the reporter’s language, which comes in handy when you have international customers. For example, when a customer raises requests in Spanish, it will go to the person who knows the language and can easily answer all the questions and pass the problem on to the development team. Other than that, there are additional conditions such as Reporter Email Contains and the option to add Organizations, request participants, labels, as well as set priorities to the issues upon these conditions.
Empower the customers each step on the way
Nowadays, providing customers with self-service capabilities is clearly a must-have. Each of the functionalities enabling both external and internal users to do more on their own ensures a seamless flow of the process, possibility for an agent to focus on the task at hand, and make the job easier for everyone by delegating requests to the people who will know how to handle them. After all, self-service aims to engage customers on all stages of the customer support process, and not only at the beginning and the end of it. We only should be careful in planning these investments, as according to Gartner Research VP David Coyle, they may induce additional costs for knowledge management and staff training, which in turn may lead to increase overall support costs. Self-service isn’t meant to cut on the budget, but it is to create an experience our customers would love us for.
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