Why you won't find interactive guides in any 2015 CX trend predictions

It’s now February 3rd and the the season of prediction in Customer Experience and User Experience is at an end. Presumably it is time to start implementing on all this futurethink and seeing the landscape transform with stunning customer experiences delivered at light speed. Absent in these predictions is anyone expressly mentioning interactive guides as part of that New Tomorrow.

A cause for concern you might think?

Well not so much because we have always seen interactive guides as a way of maximising investments that have already been made. And while that is worthy, it’s useful and it has very immediate investment return - it’s not a sexy thing to write your predictions blog about.

If we do look at the CX 2015 predictions they tend to coalesce around big data, mobile first and multichannel. 2015 is finally going to be the year when personalised digital displays in department stores seemingly know what we want before we do ourselves and start remarketing to us on our mobiles as soon we leave the store.

How to improve Customer Experience with real world resources

What these trends tend to share is an unswerving belief in the power of big data to deliver meaningful personal experiences that users actually want. There also seems to little consideration given not just to the practicality but also to the the affordability of many of these initiatives (and scant regard for the privacy considerations). They also seem decidedly detached from the very real day-to-day CX issues that businesses need to solve on the budgets they have available to them. Again, not sexy but rooted in reality.

Back to the real world of CX

The issues that our customers come to us with are very much current, equally important but considerably more practical than the grand projects we read about in MANY trend predictions. Our conversations are about pressure on phone and interactive support channels as customers seem not to be using the self-service features fully. We talk about features that are undiscovered in products and on websites, or else how our prospects’ users seem to get stranded in some area of a help site that we could walk them through.

The goal is not reinvention. These are smart businesses who have done the A/B testing and have gone through the UX process in many cases. What these businesses are looking for is a straightforward way to earn more from the investments that they have already made. They are looking to figure out how they can make the same website or mobile site work for users with differing domain expertise or levels of computer competency. And they are looking at ways of doing it more efficiently and affordably than simply stuffing more resource into the customer support team, an option that in many cases is not really open to them.

So... 3 unsexy but completely achievable goals for 2015

So what do we see happening with interactive guides at least in 2015?

  • Guides built managed and changed by the customer support team alone

No tech involvement needed as the guides can be build using a simple browser plugin. The releases these guides from any IT bottleneck making them fast and more practical to implement

  • User initiated and designed guides

We are just seeing the start of this but what if the users themselves build the how-to guides. It’s possible with the tech we have now and really does create a new understanding of customer self-service. We think this could be huge (and a bit sexy)

  • Multiple, highly-user-specific guides

Not individual guides but built for small groups. For instance a council might not be able to build a website for a minority language group but could build a guide in that language to help people complete a form. As the guides are so cheap and fast to build we move way past to the ideas of one guide fits all and into one guide per use case.

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