Start the New Year Right with Can't-Miss Expert Advice on Self-Service Design

Achieving a strong ROI on your self-service systems–such as Interactive Voice Response and enterprise voice portals–depends on having customers use them. Whether that happens is due in large part to the effectiveness of self-service design.

To dig in a little further, we decided to speak with our experts and are sharing the results. Effective design is the topic of the first in a three-part podcast series featuring Judith Halperin, principal consultant in speech engineering at Avaya. Be sure to tune in to the podcast to hear the full conversation.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Here are some highlights that I took away from the conversation:

What’s the first step? Know your users! Designing a good self-service experience for your customers starts with knowing who your customers are. Information gathered from Web, phone and other interactions can be leveraged to create profiles and segmentations for your customer base. Automatic Number Identification (ANI), such as Caller ID, can even trigger data sources to personalize the experience.

It’s important to not only study who your customers are, but understand their preferences as well.

Preferences refer to preferred modes of contact and even what type of information customers need most. For example, with customers who usually call in for account balances, you might want to begin each call with balance information. If a customer has previously chosen Spanish as their preference, the interaction might start in that language. Self-service options can also be sequenced dynamically based on previous usage and caller information or entitlements.

Providing the right level of personalization is another important design consideration. Some customers prefer more hand-holding while others may prefer that you just get out of their way. You can leverage the frequency of a customer’s interactions, usage levels and other factors to assign a customer to “expert” or “novice” support application modes.

Why is it important? “ROI!” User-centric design is key to getting caller buy in.

Keep in mind that just basing your analysis on demographics may be dangerous. Recently, I was swapping stories with a contact center design specialist, and he shared a story about how a company he was working with had designed their self-service experience to drive customers of an older demographic to voice-centric service.

It turned out that the company’s older customers actually preferred to interact via mobile devices and to self-serve via mobile applications. This is a good example of why analyzing usage levels across all engagement points and understanding customer preferences is key. As you continue to learn more about the customer needs and preferences, you can continually adjust and drive improvements into which functionalities to automate.

Many people may not like interacting with machines. But they do it. Continually making self-service systems more user-centric and the experiences more user-friendly is key to customers wanting to use them to fulfill their needs without always needing human intervention.

What do you see as keys to good self-service design? Please share your thoughts. And be on the lookout for our next podcast recap, in which we explore how to capture the benefits of self-service while maintaining a personalized, satisfying customer experience.