The many steps a prospect, customer, or user navigates to do business with you likely involve a variety of systems, teams, processes, touch-points, and islands of automation. In this context, this is the meaning of ‘multichannel.’ No matter how well each of those islands are optimized, if a single bridge is missing or non-intuitive, you lose people. The only ways to find the gaps is to follow them.
Here are the key components in how I teach multichannel usability and seamlessness:
- Starts with creative understanding of users’ contexts, systems, skills
- Identifies all “islands” across the multichannel environment, then maps and verifies each transition
- Includes all touch-points: online, phone, email, face to face, print
- Becomes the customer or user, following all Trails to their end or loss
- Simultaneously mirrors Trails with the users, from within business systems
- You and your team follow these Trails along with us and the user
- Helps you recommend better data exchange, process checks, training, etc. for multichannel results and seamlessness
- Integrates Usability, Usefulness, Functional tests on what’s optimized
As with the Functional imperative I described in other lessons, it only takes one connection to fail, one handoff to be dropped, one variable passed in the wrong format, or one person asleep at the wheel to lose that customer and their business. And they’ll likely not come back.
In most cases, you don’t know these drops and losses are occurring across multichannel navigation and user movement. Until you go in search of them, in a comprehensive and rigorous way, they are invisible to you. Even to the user who experiences them, they are a mystery, because that user rarely knows why they occur.
Your individual systems and user touch-points can have all the right characteristics – they may be easy to use and provide a delightful user experience, they may be useful and fit well in the needs and operations of your target, and they may be bug-free and provide great speed and throughput – but if these islands don’t talk to each other and don’t smoothly hand off the user through the multichannel space, your investments in usability, usefulness, and functionality are not paying.
Users are unpredictable. You define clear paths, trails, and processes for them, but they’re human – they do what they want. Can you predict their fickle, random, and inscrutable personalities, distractions, and confusion as they try to figure out your multichannel experience? What if they walk out the wrong door? Or click the wrong button? Or enter the wrong value in the form?
I’ll show you how to identify all your “islands” and their inputs and outputs and map each transition. We’ll include all touch-points: online, phone, email, face to face, print, and where they overlap, and where they don’t intersect but should. You’ll become the customer or user, and follow all trails to their successful end, or into the black holes of the gaps, as we simultaneously mirror those trails with real users, in-lab and remotely. As we traverse these systems, processes, and experiences, to lead you and your team along those trails.