When IT creates a service request catalog or shopping cart for IT customers to order goods and services, it often comprises of all the components necessary to fulfill the needs of IT. For example, it may allow users to gain access to systems by prompting them with all the necessary data points IT needs to provision the account and roles for that system. The fault with the design of these service request catalog systems is that the focus is on the needs of IT more than the target customers. These solutions often fail to ask the question, “Does my service request catalog provide a good shopping experience for my customers?”
So what makes a good shopping experience for IT customers? In my opinion the following elements should be present within your service request catalog to heighten the experience of IT customers and empower them to consume the goods and services of IT:
- Intuitive – Browsing, searching and viewing item details should be natural for the users and the users should be able to find what they are looking for within two to three clicks.
- Personalized – Content should be targeted and geared to the individual shopping for good and services. For example, if I am a Sales Executive then I should be shopping for goods and services that are targeted to my sales function.
- Engagement – IT should be engaged in helping the customers through shopping challenges. This can occur by using technology-based prompts to ensure the customers are finding what they are looking for as well as ways for direct communication to occur between the customers and IT to answer questions or resolve issues.
- Look and feel – The service request catalog should have an exciting store design and atmosphere that make the customers feel special.
- Enablement – The customers should feel like they are enabled to make good decisions, and this may come in the form of detailed information about what to expect when ordering a good or service as well as providing the customers ratings and/or reviews of goods or services so that they can choose appropriately.
Amazon provides a good example of the desired shopping experience, and below are some of the dissections of the Amazon site highlighting the above-mentioned elements of a “good” service request catalog site:
ServiceNow provides a great development tool where the content management system application can be used to build out a self-service portal and service request catalog. Below is an example of how we leveraged this ServiceNow application to build on the inspiration of Amazon:
The above examples of a service request catalog demonstrate that it should not just be a site that lists all the things that IT wants to make orderable by IT customers. The catalog should be tailored to drive the best shopping experience for IT customers by personalizing the content to the specific user, empowering them to make informed decisions and providing the means by which they can ask questions or seek aid.
As you look to deploy or improve your IT self-service portals and embedded service request catalog, ask yourself whether the design supports a customer-centric goal and truly offers a good shopping experience for your customers.
About the author:
Jeff Benedict, Practice Manager, Evergreen Systems
Jeff has more than 15 years of experience working in IT and consulting. He is ITIL and ServiceNOW implementation certified and has managed and implemented countless ITSM tool implementations. Prior to joining Evergreen Jeff managed a delivery organization for a Managed Service Provider.