One of the features of “a digital project”, is that the end user can become self-sufficient without needing to call the organisation offering the service or product. We call this self-service.
The first Internet services had a thin veil of self-service features, enabling companies to experience the cost savings of letting users perform common tasks.
Once this Return On Investment was proven, one of two things happened. Many organisations left the systems alone, stopped any further investment and patted themselves on the back.
Other companies redesigned the service to allow the maximum possible self-service touch points to maximise the future return on investment. They redesigned the self-service experience from the start.
We’re now seeing the results from this second approach appearing. Services are sending pro-active, timely emails to users asking them to check correct details. If details need to be changed, users are directed to easy to use interfaces where amendments can be made easily. And these amendments can be made from mobiles or desktops.
Premier Inn and Hilton allow guests to check in online – Hilton even offer guests to choose their specific room, and use their smartphone as a key, P&O ferries and most airlines now send emails in advance of a bookings to confirm details before the user even thinks of contacting someone at the company.
Designing these types of user self-servicing starts at the beginning of a new service. Barclays Bank offers a messaging option across all channels, including secure messaging in the mobile app. Going one step further, account holders can read previous conversations themselves. You can see the self-service design principles through their applications.
But we still have services with call-centres that are beyond capacity. Companies need to design self-service systems from the start. It doesn’t just make financial sense, it’s a much better user experience.