Responsive Design is Great – But Don’t Stop at Your Visual Interfaces!
The idea to build content for the Web that can easily be consumed (read) on any device no matter how large the screen, without compromising design or usability, is a blessing for the multi-device world the affluent among us live in. But businesses that plan to open up their backend systems for customers to enable self-service should not stop at the media-rich visual interfaces. IVR, while on the decline, won’t be truly dead anytime soon – call routing will prevail for years to come, while voice portals will most likely slowly go away. And SMS is on the rise (18% average year-to-year growth for Application-to-Person SMS is predicted by a study) as yet another channel for mobile customer care.
Channel-agnostic self-service solutions need take all channels into account: no matter which modality and channel the user chooses to interact with a business, they should always have access to the same content and data. And if a channel is not really suited for representation of certain data, it should provide pointers to other channels to continue the journey. Which brings us to the idea of *cross*-channel support: With the multitude of devices being a reality, customer can get frustrated easily if otherwise consistent design stops in the middle, especially when switching channels. A conversation started via a mobile app should not re-start when talking to an agent, right after the IVR has recognized you as a customer that just tried to self-serve in the app. A transaction started via SMS should not loose context when switching to Web or native apps. Et cetera.
Call it responsive, multi-channel, consistent, user-friendly, … I call it a bare requirement for customer self-service going forward. It should go without saying, out of respect for your empowered customer. Self-service initiatives started now should not ignore the multi-device reality and plan accordingly. Technologies such as Voxeo’s multi-channel platform help enterprises deliver on the promise of multi- and cross-channel self-service solutions and make it easy and affordable to address users on all customer care channels available.
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