Miriam Springer
Published on under Apps, Concept, Design, Mobile, Usability, User Experience, Workshop

Service Apps – Quick Help for Self-help

Several calls to the customer center, long wait times and consequently more and more dissatisfied users. This cost one of our customers a lot of effort and money every day. To remedy this, we jointly developed a service app. From user requirements to concept to design, we worked closely with the client and future users on this project.

Our service app is individually tailored to the user and supports the usage of the company’s products. The app provides all essential functionality and offers help and tips in all areas. A personalized smartphone service ensures that the user is familiar with the customer’s product world right from the start.

Why a Service App?

With the app, we give the user the opportunity to become active themselves. For example, they can change personal data or order additional products. This reduces the number of calls to the call centers. User satisfaction also increases because users can easily do their own frequent inquiries instead of waiting on the phone.

The prerequisite for this is a corresponding user-friendly app – the user experience was therefore also in the foreground on this project.

The project consisted of two phases: the initial development of the app and an update with new features and content. In both project phases, we defined the requirements together with the customer. In the next step, we developed the concept and the design. Next, these were technically implemented and tested in user tests. The first phase of the app took nine months. Development in the second phase took another seven months.

Phase 1: As a Team Towards the Goal

In this project phase, we first examined the telephone user inquiries received at the customer’s service center. Why are the customers calling? From these phone calls, the basic needs of many users were defined.

This user feedback flowed into an initial storyboarding workshop. Together with our customer, we defined the customer journey and the user needs. The workshop also served to collect ideas and determine the product vision. Next, in a second workshop, we dealt with the user story mapping, thus assigning the user needs to the customer lifecycle.

In a third workshop, we went into the first conceptualization phase. As a team, we sketched out the product: the main pages were prioritized and visualized with wireframes. Finally, there was a Collaborative Sketching Session on the look and function of menu and navigation.

Based on the requirements that were identified, and the three workshops, an initial product vision emerged: The app is designed to guide the user individually and contextually through the product world – from the first contact right through the entire customer lifecycle with all touchpoints in between.

How Good is the App? The Users Evaluate

Of course, we were curious about feedback from the users. Therefore, we carried out both a quantitative and a qualitative user survey. In the quantitative survey, based on non-clickable designs, we asked for open questions about the customer’s contact reasons and channels. The general opinions about a service app and the requirements of the user, including feedback on the design and the comprehensibility of the prototype, were asked.

With the qualitative survey, we put the – also not yet clickable – wireframes under the microscope. These were evaluated in a moderated online group discussion with users. This was mainly about three topics: storytelling (own experience with the app), creativity (create your personal service app) and evaluation (rate the idea of a service app).

As a final evaluation step, we conducted an internal UX test: bystanders tested the app for 30 minutes, tried various tasks, and were then asked for their feedback.

The result was a requirement profile from the users’ point of view: they want an app that is easy to use and understandable. The app should cover all important administrative functions and provide simple problem-solving processes, such as FAQs. The structure and layout were consistently well received. The users also let us know that there were still problems with the intelligibility.

These requirements were incorporated in the revision of the design. The design of the app is, therefore, equally based on the knowledge of our customers, the expertise of coeno and the feedback of users.

A subsequent acceptance test covered four phases of overarching testing that eliminated various bugs before the app went live after nine months of development.

Phase 2: The Service App Receives an Update

Now it went to the further development of the app. In two workshops, we outlined the functional and content scope of the update. We further developed existing features and worked out new ideas concretely.

One of the challenges in this phase was the low usage frequency that is typical with a service app. Finally, such an app is usually used only in case of problems and not used after the solution of the problem. We therefore hypothesized that content in the app that could be used on a daily basis would encourage more frequent use of the app. If the extended offer pleases the user, they will use the app more often, even in case of problems.

We checked our assumption in a further user experience test with different user groups – this time with a clickable prototype on the iPhone 6. The results were encouraging: The participants were very satisfied with the usability of the app and we received valuable feedback from the users.

Equipped with this information, the knowledge of our customers from the joint workshops, as well as our expertise, we went again into the design of the app. The result is a service app that both suits and satisfies the user. The joint methodological workshops and intensive discussions with the users have contributed significantly to this.

Of course, the development of the app is far from over – many new ideas are already being planned, such as the use of voice and chatbots for the help app.

This Post has been published in Apps, Concept, Design, Mobile, Usability, User Experience, Workshop.
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