Data-driven optimisation of your digital service environment
How to work in a targeted and customer-oriented way on better digital services
- Customer Experience
Good service is important for customer satisfaction and loyalty and therefore very valuable for companies. Many companies offer services digitally. Customers can then find information about a product via a website or app. Optimising this digital 'service environment is best achieved with the help of data.
What is the purpose of your service environment?
First of all, ask yourself: why do I have a digital service environment? What problem does it solve? A digital service environment can be deployed in various ways.
- Cost reduction: The organization savescost in the operation by reducing personal contact.
- Customer satisfaction: customers solve cases by themselves, without the intervention of customer service and possible queues.
- Product value: customers get more value from your product based on available information, which makes them value your product higher than similar products in the market.
It is important to determine which goals are most important to your team. You can often deduce this from the strategic choices made by the organization. For example, if your company wants to position itself in the market as a very customer-friendly player where the service may cost a little extra (think of Coolblue), you should also take this into account with your service environment. If your company focuses more on cost reduction and distinguishes itself in the market by offering products as cheaply as possible (think of Alibaba), you will also need to focus on cost reduction in your service environment.
Because you frequently encounter conflicting information, having a clear strategy allows you to make higher-level decisions. For example, the customer generally benefits from customer service that is available 24/7, but this does entail high costs. Such an approach will therefore not fit within a strategy aimed at cost reduction. So always consider carefully why you need a service environment. What purposes should this environment serve? Only then can you start optimising and creating the right business value.
What are the goals of visitors to your service environment?
Besides the fact that it is important to have a clear idea of what the goals of your digital service environment are, it is equally important to know what the visitors' goals are. What questions do they want to answer? What do they expect? What helps them achieve their goals and what prevents them from doing so? If you have insight into this, you can better organize your service environment to also promote your goals as an organization.
The frequently occurring FAQ section (frequently asked questions) is a good example of an element that allows you to achieve multiple goals. Higher customer satisfaction and product value, as well as cost reduction. With the answers to these questions, you can remove ambiguities and possible frustrations from visitors and, at the same time, keep the costs low because there is no personal contact involved. You can organize the FAQ section based on data from customer service data—the topics about which the most questions are asked—or internal search behavior on the website, which can be found in the analytics data. At the same time, interaction data from the FAQ section can provide you with insights that you can use to further optimize the service environment. Think, for example, of the creation of separate pages with extensive information about the FAQ topics that most visitors clicked on and therefore where the greatest information needs lie.
Good research into customer needs and knowledge of behavioral psychology are important to realize the right value in this area. From research, it appears that most people are self-motivated and prefer to solve their problems themselves. At the same time, people generally choose the easiest route and want to make as little effort as possible. So first of all, make sure that visitors have the opportunity to solve things themselves. And then, make sure they don't have to put in as much effort as possible.
For example, Zalando provides extensive information about the size label of a garment on the product page. They advise customers on how best to measure their sizes and give proactive advice on fittings for some brands—"...this model is generally a bit narrower..." Customers can then make a better choice, which means fewer items of clothing will be returned. Zalando thus kills two birds with one stone: more satisfied customers and lower costs.
When is your service environment successful?
Based on the goals you set for your service environment and insights about the goals of your users, you can define what success means.Maybe success means costs have come down, or maybe it means that customers are more satisfied with the service. Maybe it's a combination of both. Defining when you are successful is an essential step in the data-driven optimization process because you want to prove how successful you are.
To provide proof that you are doing well as a team or department, you must be able to describe what "good" means exactly and why. It is also useful to set targets. With that specific result, you can say that you are doing well. For example, a cost reduction in customer service of 5% compared to the same quarter last year, or a 10% increase in the Goal Completion Rate (GCR) over last month. Be ambitious!
Once you have determined when you will be successful, it is important to make that clear. The number of stars in the app store is already made clear by an external party, but in terms of cost savings, it is a bit more complex. After all, your team may be doing well—for example, visitors are finding more and more answers to their questions easily online, but customer service costs are still rising significantly. However, this could also be the result of an overall increase in the number of customers over the same period; the proportion of customers calling customer service could fall while the total number of customers calling customer service could still rise. So, based on which specific factors or metrics will you determine whether you are doing the right thing? What can you effectively target?
This is where analytics data comes in handy. Online (and offline) analytics data can give you an idea of the course of certain success indicators over a specific period. For example, the 'call ratio' is the total number of visitors to the digital service environment versus the number of those who click on a 'CALL button. You can keep an eye on this together with the total number of visitors to the website so that you get a complete picture of what is happening. You can map different metrics to different parts:
Focus on the operation (strategy: cost reduction):
- Contact ratio (phone calls/chats/emails/form fills)
Focus on the customer experience (strategy: customer satisfaction):
- CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Index)
- SUS (System Usability Score)
- GCR (Goal Completion Rate)
- CES (Customer Effort Score)
- Time on Task (ToT)
Focus on the delivered value (strategy: product value):
- Through feedback forms, scores can be used to determine to what extent your service environment/page/tool contributes to a better understanding/use of the product in question.
Determine which metrics are most important for your success: your key performance indicators (KPIs). Make sure you have a clear overview of these KPIs at all times, set targets and make your business cases and take decisions based on them.
How can you increase the success of your service environment?
Okay, now that you've tapped the above, you can start optimising data-driven, but how do you start? First of all, it is good to determine which resources you have at your disposal to optimise. It is also important to check whether certain preconditions are present. For example, whether you have enough visitors and conversions on your website to test AB. If the answer is yes, you can include AB testing as a method in the process. If the answer is no, then you can use other methods, such as screen recording, heat maps, and basic online funnel analytics. For that, you have to organise the right tools and setup to generate really valuable insights.
Within the service environment, you can then map, for example, which pages people have visited before they contact you. That may be an indication that those pages do not contain the information that people are looking for. This may be a reason to replace or organise the information on those pages differently. Or maybe it has to do with navigating to that page and the information is in a place that visitors don't expect.
Need help with your data-driven service environment?
Optimising your digital service environment is complex. A lot is involved, and it pays to set up a good process for it. It is good to get help from a professional for this. At Digital Power, we have a lot of experience with data-driven optimisation and its application to digital service environments. Would you like to know more about our approach? Contact us!
This is an article by Bas Kroese, Customer Experience Specialist at Digital Power
Bas' goal is to design innovative and intuitive digital products that make life more fun and easier. He combines his analytical and visual communication skills to achieve the best results.
Customer Experience Specialistbas.firstname.lastname@example.org
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