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Using student feedback to improve IT support

Our Website & Communications and IS Helpline teams have been working together over the past year to iteratively improve IT help provision through a process of user testing and content enhancements.

Background

IS Helpline deal with 7,000-10,000 support calls a month, which includes enquiries on topics users can resolve themselves by following guidance material.

An initial round of usability testing on common IT issues found that students had trouble navigating the Information Services website structure and content, giving up on tasks in preference for sending an email.

As such, the goal of this collaboration project has been to increase levels of self-service on common IT issues and thus reduce the number of support calls fielded by the IS Helpline.

To achieve this, we’ve been working on enhancing IT help provision through a process of continuous improvement:

  • prioritising areas of support that generate the largest amounts of work for the IS Helpline
  • conducting usability testing with students and monitoring website analytics to understand how online content is being used
  • making improvements to website structures and navigation, enquiry channelling processes and most importantly, the content on webpages
  • assessing how effective our changes are, and either returning to make further improvements or moving on to new areas in need of enhancement.

Read more on the process of continuous improvement on the Website Programme blog

Achievements

We have seen improvements in a number of areas relating to IS Helpline overheads and end user satisfaction, including:

Enhanced website enquiry channelling

We introduced a new self-service contact form, which presents users with a series of popular support pages based on the topic they select. This encourages them to self-serve their issue before placing a support call.

The introduction of this form saw the average time to call completion for IS Helpline calls drop from 3.25 down to 2 days.

IS Helpline contact form

Redesigning the presentation of FAQ lists

We cut back the number of question-and-answer pairs on FAQ lists after students were observed to miss key information and generally be disinclined to interact with long pages of content.

Separating the topics into separate pages allows for the IS Helpline contact form and IT help site to link directly to specific answers of frequently asked questions. This means IS Helpline operatives can provide direct links in support calls to improve customer satisfaction.

Iterative improvements to high demand self-service guidance

On help pages, we removed excess content, restructured with subheadings and gave prominence to keywords, making content clearer and easier to follow.

For example, on eduroam connection issues, we turned a long single page of instruction into a series of clear step-by-step pages which students follow in order.

eduroam connection issues step-by-step pages on the IS website

The new structure of the eduroam connection information has enabled us to monitor effectiveness stage by stage. By the third step, almost 60% have exited the process and only 3% of those who start the self-help process now reach the point of being referred to the IT Support Desk (the final step).

Find out more

You can read more about the project, including how to get in touch to set up a similar project for your department, on the Website Programme blog.

A year of continuous improvement with Helpline (post on Website Programme blog)