Feb 09, 2021 Jason Keogh

The 4 S’s of excellent end-user experience

I’ve been thinking a lot about End-User Experience recently. Essentially trying to answer the question: What are the elements of “Good end-user experience” and how can we, as IT professionals provide that to our customer – the end-user?
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The goal, I suppose, is to have a position whereby end-users can get their jobs done without interruption. They have the right tools and access at the right time, and nothing ever breaks/fails. They are not interrupted by security updates, performance issues are never a problem and “Everything just works”.

Even the most demanding user knows that sometimes, “things happen”, so if and when something does go wrong, they want the problem fixed, fast. More and more often, they want to be able to do that for themselves, without waiting for someone on a helpdesk to call them or do it with/for them.

So – if that’s the good, in juxtaposition, what is “bad” end-user experience?

  • Bad is devices and software crashing frequently.
  • Bad is being plagued by performance issues and having an un-responsive device.
  • Bad is not being able to get the access or tooling you need when you need it.
  • Bad is waiting hours or days for the helpdesk to call you back and not being able to fix problems for yourself.
  • Bad is when the helpdesk DOES come back to you – having to screen-share or relinquish control of your device – so that someone can talk you through diagnosing an issue and/or take control to fix the problem.

I think there are 4 key elements to delivering on the good and eliminating the bad:

1. Self-Heal

Murphy’s law states that if things can go wrong, they will. However, if we can trigger an automation when something goes wrong, by monitoring log files for error messages, or registry keys for changes, or processes for stability or any of a host of other triggers – then we can automatically fix the problem at the instant it occurs. “If we fix a problem before the user was ever aware of it… did it really happen?” well… yes, but it didn’t interrupt the user, or cause any IT staff cost/effort or work, so the incident was avoided and that’s the key thing here.

This isn’t about just running a few PowerShell scripts or setting GPO policies … this is about real-time automated remediation, as exemplified by Guaranteed State in 1E Tachyon.

2. Self-Service

We all know that users are getting more and more tech savvy. However, there have to be controls in place as to who is allowed do what to their devices – often we can’t just let everyone (for example) always have local admin access. So how do we reduce IT cost and avoid more helpdesk incidents while enabling users to fix things for themselves? Self-Service is the answer. Via chat-bots, service/shopping portals, etc. We need to rethink self-service, go beyond the pedestrian “Find software to install” or “Lookup a Knowledge Base” approaches and push towards actual end-point control, in real-time, on-demand. When the user feels that they have actual control/power from self-service, that it delivers value to them, they are far more likely to use it. That’s why and where Tachyon comes in – it delivers the “last mile” of automation, enhancing self-service to deliver real-time response and endpoint change which is hugely important – the user doesn’t just want to be given a document or have a call logged, they need actual, real-time change.

3. Service Desk Augmentation

There’s nothing quite so frustrating as, after something of a wait, being contacted by the helpdesk agent only for them to walk you through half a dozen diagnostic steps you’ve already performed – rigidly sticking to a script (typically a Knowledge Base Article), moving to point 3 only when we’ve covered points 1 and 2 already. It’s equally awful for the service desk agent. They often have to talk the computer illiterate through complex settings interfaces and commands – and/or take remote control of the device via screen-sharing. This interrupts the end-user and is SLOW and painful for the agent.

There is a better way, and it’s via ITSM integration with Tachyon. Best evidenced in the ITSM-Connect function for ServiceNow. The agent can diagnose problems and take remediating actions to fix them directly against the endpoint, in real-time, without interrupting the end-user. The first call to the customer should be to get them to confirm that the issue is resolved. That’s the best experience a user can have when a problem inevitably occurs that they can’t fix for themselves.

4. Sentiment monitoring

Even with all of the capabilities above, if the end-user thinks that IT service is poor, it is. All of the other KPI’s are secondary – faster MTTR (delivered by Service Desk Augmentation) and Incident Avoidance/Reduction through self-healing and self-service – they are there to improve end-user sentiment.

So, how do you monitor Sentiment, and do it in such as way as to not negatively impact sentiment by annoying end-users with endless surveys? What is the best way to engage with users? To gauge sentiment you must ask questions, but which questions are best and how should you ask them?

As with any “Tachyon Tuesday” blog, this will be followed up with a short vlog, which will give a demonstration of these capabilities. For this blog, we’ll cover Self-Heal and Self-Service in one vlog and Service Desk Augmentation and Sentiment monitoring the following week in a second vlog.

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