Improve Self-Service Adoption with this Simple Hack

Self-Service Hack

Employees don’t like using self-service. They pick up the phone and call for help instead. But what if you’re rolling out new software, and can’t afford for everyone to constantly be calling support? You’ve spent a lot of money training people, but they still have questions. You need to get them to help themselves and you have to do it without additional budget. What can you do?

There’s a hack to get people to like self-service, all you have to do is get people invested in it.

To Understand How, Let’s Talk About IKEA.

IKEA was visited 915 million times last year. You’ve been there, haven’t you? You know the experience. You enter the store, navigate an endless aisle of Swedish-designed furniture, figure out what you want, then make your way to their warehouse. You pick up your unassembled selections, return home, and spend the rest of the day building them.

Part of the reason why IKEA’s business model is so successful is because the labor cost of assembling furniture is turned over to the customer, allowing prices to be competitive. They call that ‘customer participation in labor.’ But there’s another force at work here. People really love their IKEA furniture, and not just for the price and sleek design. There’s a psychological effect at play, and it’s called “the IKEA effect.”

The IKEA effect states that when you contribute to building something, you value it more. Even though we aren’t required to have a high level of expertise to build IKEA furniture, it make us feel competent. We like the furniture more because it serves as a physical reminder of our competency.

Skeptical? There’s Evidence to Back this up.

In an experiment published by the Harvard Business School, participants were divided into two groups and designated as builders or non-builders. Builders built an IKEA box and then determined how much they would pay for it. Non-builders inspected an identical box that was previously built, and then declared how much they would pay. The results showed that builders were willing to pay 63% more for the boxes they created. The experiment was replicated with several different objects and the same results were observed.

The Hack

If you want employees to love self help, get as many of them to contribute to your knowledge base as possible. The IKEA effect will kick in. They will start appreciating your tools more, and use them more regularly.

Suppose Janice on the 3rd floor is the resident SAP expert. Whenever someone has an SAP question they venture to her office and ask her to solve a problem she’s likely resolved ten times before. Once she documents her knowledge, she’ll become a huge advocate for self-help. The next time someone comes to her with the same problem, she won’t have to stop what she’s doing. She can literally point to the knowledge base and say, “help yourself.”

Getting people to use self-service can feel like a nightmare. If you feel like you’ve tried everything, take a hint from IKEA. Have people contribute to your knowledge base. Once they’re invested in it, they’ll love it. They will voluntarily encourage others to start helping themselves.

Not Sure Where to Start?

If it still seems daunting to create a collaborative knowledge base, check out our website. Kaleo helps control who is allowed to contribute what and ensures that information is presented in the simplest possible way for end-users. We help companies like Visa, Viacom, and Toyota lower support costs as much as 70% by solving the self-service adoption problem.


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Chris Hill

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