SupportWorld, Jan/Feb 2013

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The Benefits of Self-Service and Service Desk Automation By Jesper Østergaard Cost, security, and culture are three of the key concerns organizations must address when they're considering outsourcing a service desk. Service desks are not inexpensive operations; on top of labor costs, there's often pressure to keep the service desk open 24×7, which increases costs several times over. In addition, some organizations worry about the security of their data, while others worry about cultural and linguistic barriers. Self-service, whether outsourced or in-house, is one method of addressing these concerns and it's generally much cheaper than manually handling service requests and incidents; traditional phone-based support, for example, is three times as expensive as selfservice, according to HDI research. In the years to come, you can expect to see this trend increase (especially as hourly labor rates of labor in the East go up). 34 | Suppor tWorld January / February 2013 Deja Vu: Lean Manufacturing Self-service and automation are like déjà vu to the early days of the transformation of the auto manufacturing industry. In the 1970s and '80s, Japanese cars exploded onto the North American and European markets. With cars that were both higher quality and less expensive, Japan was clearly onto something. Its secret? Lean manufacturing. North American and European auto manufacturers spent years playing catch-up, streamlining

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