Looking for a way to improve a customer experience? Empowering your employees with digital tools will do the job. I'll try to convince you with the Customer Support Module redesign case study (full case study here). Learn about the UX process and adapt it to your company to get great results.
When searching for inexpensive or fast ways to improve a customer experience, redesigning your custom software or a system pops up in mind as one of the first ideas.
And that's good!
The work of the UX team consists of just a few stages (research, decide, design, test) and gives really great results.
Or maybe I should be more specific: a well-performed redesign will make your employees and customers simply happy due to meeting their expectations (like matching puzzle pieces).
In this article, I will walk you through the case of the Support Department in one of the most innovative Norwegian parking companies.
What did the customers experience?👀
Our client, Sesam Sesam, a few years ago created a free-flow car park system. The system is based on camera image recognition, but this technology isn't 100% accurate.
The customers (while using parking) experienced several issues and were calling, e-mailing and reporting in other ways their problems to the Support Department.
Unfortunately, the Customer Support Module was never before designed nor tested with users (the Support team).
The initial time consumed per one case = 30 minutes 😮
Solving a problem in the old CSM reminded a detective’s job of fishing in tables of data, looking for explanations of mistakes. It took 30 minutes to solve one case and required a lot of effort and stubbornness.
A quick-fix to solve most of the client messages in one e-mail 😀
Clients who reported problems weren't the direct users of the CSM. But the information they were giving was significant to the design of the right solution.
The communication flow was through the phone or e-mail and not through the webpage. Unfortunately, clients weren't sure which information is necessary to quickly solve the problem.
So we made up a quick fix! We just asked for one additional field in a contact form on a webpage, and from that moment it has become possible for support to solve most of the client messages in one e-mail.
Customer experience vs enterprise software 👨💼👩💻
As we said before, the software your employees work with impacts efficiency and affects interactions with customers. It is especially important for your first-line employees, as they spend 8 hours x every weekday x year, multiplied by every year spent in your company using it to help your customers.
You need to take care of work conditions (including physical and psychological health) and the tools your employees use and help them manage their tasks in an easier and faster way.
Look how we conducted subsequent redesign phases.
Research. The base for customer experience improvement 🔍
It's a typical designers' sin to say that an old system is worthless. And even if it's true, it's worth sailing through it because it's a great source of inspiration and information about employees as end-users. These are just some of the research activities we have done:
- We asked the Support employees for common support materials, like emails, questions, and workflows (frequent, annoying, and very long to resolve).
- We had a quick focus group on Skype — searching for the most important patterns, habits, and common cases in everyday work.
Good UX designers check the users’ habits and can analyze the results into a brand new informational architecture and flow with shorter paths to end the tasks.
You need to establish the jobs to be done, find out the typical problems, and shadow users to find specific work patterns. But remember, talking with the users is just as important.
Decide & Design 🎨
Based on the gathered information we rethought support flows and redesigned the system. The main design goal was to make working with the new system easier, faster, and more convenient for the supporters’ eyes since they work 8h sitting in the office.
With the new design searching for information has never been easier.
We decided to base it on a simple search module with basic information about the customers. It allowed the employees to see data in a specific context where all types of information are linked to each other, and we made it possible to go through the whole system independently from wherever they are.
Usability testing and shadowing 👥
We planned our work and created wireframes based on the supporters’ input.
We travelled to the clients’ offices and support’s workplace — to see how they work in real life, and of course, test our ideas on wireframes.
Being in their real work environment, we did some lean shadowing — we noticed that the monitors are used vertically, and some of the tasks are hard to perform because selected filters would disappear when the users went back in their search.
This was very useful input – we would never have known about it if we hadn’t gone there. For the supporters, it was so natural that they didn’t even consider telling us about it.
One month later we tested the wireframes and the designs were ready to be implemented.
An Agile approach to user-centred app redesign
Even having a dedicated UX designer on the team doesn't solve the problem. All the team members should be included at the different stages of the design process. Allow them to see at least one usability test session — real people and their problems motivate genuinely.
But what if you don’t have the end-users on hand? Ask your colleagues to go through the design, and give them real tasks to do. Just ask them to play the roles.
Of course, it is not a real usability test with real end-users, but it’s enough to find the basic mistakes and incomprehensible places. It’s free and not time-consuming; it takes just a few minutes.
Success metrics of the UCD process
We implemented what we had and tested it remotely with the support team.
We conducted questionnaires and individual interviews (IDI) with Sesam Sesam — they went fine. Every time we planned to add new features into the Supporters’ system, we talked to them and created solutions based on the problems they faced in their work. The design was always prepared in the context of Sesam Sesam support work.
From half an hour to 3 minutes — UX metrics of success after the redesign
The biggest test for us was the onboarding of new Supporters. They were the only ones who could share their first impressions and opinions. Luckily, their introduction process went fast. It became easier to understand how the system works.
I don’t believe in perfection, but the new system is almost perfect! Sometimes it feels a little bit rigid, but finding the information I need has become effortless.
User, Human, Supporter
Your customer support is one of your biggest assets ⭐
Customer Supporters are an excellent source of knowledge about your current customers and organization because they are usually right in the middle of the problem. Their expertise and emotions are fantastic tools that you can use to remodel your service.
You should consider taking them on board in the co-creation sessions of your main service. It might be an inspiration for simplifying and improving processes in your company.
Support talks to your clients, so in fact, it is your voice for the end-users.
Hints for improving customer experience with redesignBe bold - invent a method to see people in their real work environment
- Go on a service safari and get hired in your support office
- Perform shadowing
- Examine artefacts — work manuals, onboarding, mail, voice recording
- Talk to the supporters
Be inclusive - keep in mind that a software change can be difficult for people who learned the system and their workplace - involve them in the co-creation process.
Be clear - design for prolonged use (legibility and contrast are fundamental) and use real language instead of jargon.
Be practical - focus on jobs to be done instead of features.
Be kind - leave some space for the individuality of people and don’t judge their opinions. Being at work shouldn't be a pain and flexibility is a very important factor for software enterprise systems.