Call Center Tools
Consumer support agents use specialized software nonstop for hours on end while also on the phone with end-users. As such, they are particularly vulnerable to bad design. Repetitive activities, pressure to work quickly, and the imperative to focus on satisfying the person on the other end of the phone are all forces that amplify ineffective interfaces.
Not to mention, support is a huge cost center for product-focused companies. Lowering call time and increasing single-call issue resolution are big financial wins.
I was brought on to design replacement applications for Tier 1 Consumer Support agents and other professional users.
I travel to our call centers regularly to conduct interviews and usability testing. This way I was able to identify current painpoints, critical task flows, and new feature ideas. More than that, I realized not all of our support agents have the same relationship with the support application. Many of them are power users; they are experienced with the system, know its capabilities and limitations, are quick to diagnose performance problems, and invent operational workarounds where needed. Others, agents who are new hires or less experienced with software interfaces, scour the interface for clues about system status, look for guidance on the tool's capabilities, and generally find the interface a distraction from the attention they need to give the consumer on the phone.
Aside from the low-hanging fruit of general usability improvements, I suspected that a design informed by two major themes would serve all of these individuals. The first is progressive disclosure. Our support agents spend 90% of their time on 10% of the actions they could possibly do. As such, the interface I designed makes use of view toggles and expandable cards to hide lesser-used features until they are needed. The second, is a system that teaches. For example, the new or novice user will need clear hint text to indicate when there are conditional rules on text input fields. This same hint text, however, can inform the user of advanced functions, such as using boolean or regular expressions to get to the desired information faster. Adding both simple and complex functionality to the global search, navigation, and tool panels will ensure the system caters to new users while offering room to grow.
Extensive in-person usability testing with a detailed interactive prototype shows a drop in average time needed to perform certain tasks, and foreshadows drastically-improved user satisfaction.
Working software is under development.
- Sketch App
- Card Sorting
- Usability Testing
- User Personas
- Task Flows
- Interactive Prototypes
The screen excerpts below are representative of the prototypes I worked on across major feature areas. Get in touch if you'd like to hear more about this project.