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Real-world data must drive self-service

Companies that want to drive the best results from electronic self-service channels like web, mobile apps and kiosks should invest in the right tools to capture and analyse data about how customers are using these channels in real-life, says KEVIN MELTZER, Business Development Executive of EOH Consology.

Many organisations are relying on gut feel and traditional research methodologies such as focus groups to shape the user interfaces and functionality of their self-service channels.

Since user behaviour can be tracked on these channels through the data footprints people leave behind, organisations should instead be turning to analytics engines to understand how users are interacting with their channels in the real-world. They can gather accurate data at each electronic touch point to track customers’ activity and behaviour, and then use business intelligence tools to understand the underlying trends.

Such data can be used to see where users abandon self-service processes, how many clicks it has taken to finish a task, the paths they have taken through the channel and much more. This is all information that can be used to optimise self-service offerings to make them more convenient and easier to use. You can save a lot of work by looking at where you customers are and what they’re really doing before you build, change or enhance a self-service platform.

For example, one of the major challenges EOH Consology and its clients have encountered in implementation of web-based self-service solutions is supporting the wide range of Internet browsers on the market, including legacy browsers like Internet Explorer 7. Many companies are reluctant to implement cutting-edge features on their self-service Web properties because they are afraid of excluding end-users with older browsers.

The result is that companies can’t take advantage of enhancements – HTML5, CSS3 or Webkit, for example-supported by newer browsers. They end up creating web sites that are not as easy-to-maintain, appealing and interactive as they could be. But by gathering data about the browsers customers use to access their sites, companies can make an informed call on whether to support older browsers or not.

In many cases the numbers usually justify a decision to end support for old browsers so that all users can enjoy the optimisations and features newer browsers support. With the right support – placing a well-worded message advising users to upgrade to a standards-based browser like Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer 10 – such a transition can be managed reasonably smoothly. This is a perfect example of how stats and numbers should drive features and functionality of self-service channels.


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