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IVR Optimization in Multichannel: 4 More Steps

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In my last post “9 Steps for Optimising Multi-Channel User Experience

I talked about the importance of having a structured approach for integrating user experience activities during a multi-channel project.

Imagine now you have your new multi-channel service in place. You’ve spent a lot of time and money implementing a solution that really offers a great user experience (UX). And you have a CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) score and Business Intelligence (BI) data to prove it! But how do you ensure that your business moves from your initial multi-channel solution to maintaining and optimising UX it in the long term?

It’s so easy to stay focused on the short term project goals and getting a project delivered, but what happens once you move beyond the project delivery and move into the managed service phase. The focus on user experience is just as critical here.

As companies grow, develop and move with the times, it’s important that the initial customer touch-points also evolve. But it’s critical that changes to these touch points don’t negatively impact UX. The focus on user experience is a long-term activity and not just a short-term focus while you roll out that all-important multi-channel solution to your customers.

In this post, I’ll discuss the importance of having strategic processes and activities in place to support a long term UX strategy for your multi-channel services.

1 Plan early on

It’s important not to forget the bit that happens beyond delivery of a multi-channel service. During project planning, start thinking about how you’ll measure the ongoing performance and user experience after your initial release.

Your UX strategy should include a focus on both short-term project deliverables and long-term UX and business needs. Think about the following:

How will I know what effect future changes will have on UX?

  • What ongoing UX activities are required as part of the managed service phase?
  • What measures will I take and how?
  • What resources and skills are needed beyond project delivery to continually measure and evaluate UX?

2 The importance of early AND continuous UX measurement

In order to understand the impact that changes during the managed service phase have on the user experience, you need to know what the starting point is.

In the previous post, I talked about the importance of benchmarking the existing UX at the start of a project, setting UX metrics and goals, and evaluating new products and services against these measures to ensure that the impact on UX is based on objective and tangible criteria.

This process shouldn’t stop once you have your new service in place. Once you have a fully working service, take another snapshot of UX based on the same measures used during the project delivery phase. This will act as your baseline measure against which future changes during the managed service phase can be compared.

Taking continuous and objective measures of UX in this way allows an over-time view of UX, as well as providing a baseline for ongoing changes, and even comparison against competitor offerings.

3 Understand the reasons behind the numbers

The insight you’ll get from your ongoing UX measurement is only part of the story. Whether you’re using NPS, CSAT surveys, web analytics or other quantitative measures, you need to understand the reasons behind the numbers.

For example, if your BI data is showing you a higher than expected hang up rate at a particular point in your IVR, or your web analytics data shows abandonment in a certain part of your checkout process, you need to understand why this is happening.

Qualitative research such as surveys, interviews and usability testing can help you uncover the reasons why people are hanging up or dropping out of a checkout process.

4 Bringing it all together

Formalising and operationalising your UX strategy is critical to the ongoing maintenance and optimisation of your multi-channel service. These activities need to be coordinated and integrated as part of your standard project process.

Having a UX steering group can help achieve this and provides a forum for ensuring ongoing changes to products and services don’t happen in silo, but is highly dependent on the following:

  • Buy-in and involvement of stakeholders from all channels (e.g. IVR, Web, Smartphone, Social Media)
  • A multi-disciplinary team involving representatives across the business – UX, Business Analysis, Service Delivery, Product Marketing, Market Research and IT
  • Regular and continuous meetings with actionable outcomes – the frequency will be dependent on business need, but they key is to ensure they happen and that you get commitment from all stakeholders
  • Visibility of planned changes, marketing campaigns, new products and services and other changes that will impact your multi-channel service
  • An agreed schedule and resources in place for conducting UX activities such as BI analysis, Surveys, Interviews and Usability Evaluation

In conclusion

The UX of your multi-channel service is important at all stages of its life. Planning the UX strategy early and ensuring you have processes and activities in place during and beyond the project delivery will help to ensure the ongoing success of your multi-channel service.