Heather Simon, Director of Service Design at Autodesk, talked in detail about content strategy and service design at her company.
At the outset of her keynote presentation at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum held in San Francisco on March 23, Simon noted that, after she introduces herself as the Director of Service Design at Autodesk, the first question she usually gets asked is, What’s service design? “Service design applies design tools and techniques to improve the customer experience,” she explained.
“I’m going to talk today about our content strategy approaches and our service design approaches. We originally had only email support, and now we have forums, chat, and schedule-a-call. We’ve invested heavily in support content to help customers. It’s not only about having these modalities available but making the self-service more robust and going to a 24/7 model across more languages,” stated Simon.
“The first step in the content-strategy process is realizing content is never done. You need to understand what the customer is trying to do today and how they’re trying to do it, and then you want to tie this to metrics,” she said. “You want to make sure you’re constantly investing in improving your content to make sure your customers love your content and are getting value from it. At our company, we don’t just look at traffic; we survey the customer to see if they got the answer they were seeking.”
“The first step in the content-strategy process is realizing content is never done. You need to understand what the customer is trying to do today and how they’re trying to do it, and then you want to tie this to metrics.”
Simon described the Solve Loop and Evolve Loop that Autodesk uses to capture knowledge. In the Solve Loop, a customer issue or question is captured, an article is written to address it, and the article is reused to reply to the next customer with the same issue. In the Evolve Loop, improvements are made to the Solve Loop based on the article content, and this content is improved on an ongoing basis. “So, instead of having one agent creating an article to address one customer question, you have one agent creating an article that helps a thousand customers,” explained Simon. “We make a point of understanding which articles are the most helpful to our customers.” For example, she said, if an article frequently leads to the customer contacting support, improvements are made to the article to diminish the number of “contact support” clicks.
Simon’s company uses helpfulness scores to determine how to make improvements not only in articles but in information architecture. “The second thing we look at is comments,” said Simon. “Customers—who range from helpful to angry to confused—will give you information that lets you know how to improve article content.” Prioritizing is critical in making sure time is best used in editing the most viewed articles to add value. “When we look at the ‘contact support’ rates, we prioritize by traffic and look at the articles that get the most visits first. We’re constantly editing. There’s no such thing as content that’s ‘done’ and isn’t touched again,” she said.
“The second thing we look at is comments. Customers—who range from helpful to angry to confused—will give you information that lets you know how to improve article content.”
“Now I’m going to show you what we’re doing from a service design perspective,” said Simon. “We listen to our customers by doing follow-ups with those who’ve contacted us for support. We pull that together and do experience mapping to understand what the customer is doing, thinking, and feeling. We have collaborative workshops in which we dig in, cross-functionally, to gain insights, create awareness, and deliver action items into strategy roadmaps.”
“We listen to our customers by doing follow-ups with those who’ve contacted us for support. We pull that together and do experience mapping to understand what the customer is doing, thinking, and feeling.”
Simon’s team realized it was spending too much time creating experience maps, so they created their own tool. “We took the same components we always tracked in our journey mapping—customer emotion, visual aids or screen shots, and call-outs (opportunities and recommendations)—and built a tool that would allow everyone in the company to create their own journey maps.” This tool, The Journey Map Atlas, is a digital tool for mapping, sharing, and presenting customers’ experiences through interactive journey maps.
“Our last step is working with the product teams to improve the product,” said Simon. “For this, we use a supportability dashboard to compare our products and make improvements to those with a high technical support index (number of cases per 1000 seats).” This involves partnering with development to improve:
• Customer value—improved experience as determined by fewer defects and more loyalty
• Autodesk value—cost avoidance
• Technical support (decreasing installation and licensing cases)
ABOUT HEATHER SIMON:
Heather Simon is the Director of Service Design for Autodesk and an occasional speaker at industry events. For the past four years, Heather has been redesigning the support experience at Autodesk while the company transitions to a subscription model. She has spoken at Dreamforce, sharing Autodesk best practices on support process and content creation. Heather is driven by a customer-first mentality and uses the customer experience tools she learned at Amazon, where she worked as an Operations Program Manager and Product Manager for Kindle. Heather is a past winner of the Association of Support Professionals “Top Ten web support sites” and is looking forward to transforming the way companies help customers at scale.