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Feb 14

Successful Self-Service Strategy

When it comes to customer service, simplicity is critical. Companies can improve customer experiences primarily by limiting the amount of effort it takes for customers to find answers to their questions and accomplish their tasks. Here lies the appeal of Web self-service, which for many consumers has become the preferred communication channel.

Instantly available, 24/7 online customer self-service portals are gaining ground over conventional agent-assisted support, marking a significant shift in consumer attitudes toward the technology. And, contrary to popular belief, interest in Web self-service technologies is not just coming from younger consumers. The technology is changing the behavior of consumers of all generations. In fact, a recent study by Forrester Research found that 72 percent of consumers,regardless of age, prefer self-service to picking up the phone or sending an email when it comes to resolving support issues. This certainly is welcome news for organizations looking to cut customer service costs and maximize revenue.

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Dec 30

Is Your Web Site Optimized for Mobile Devices?

Many people are highly dependent of their mobile devices for every day interactions, including mobile commerce. Our society is becoming highly mobile and connected. In the latest Shop.org and Forrester Research Mobile Commerce Survey, it's estimated that U.S. smartphone commerce will grow to $31 billion by 2016.

Those organizations that can best serve mobile customers will have an advantage in the competition. With a surge in mobile traffic comes the added potential to connect with and sell to customers through mobile commerce. Having a concrete mobile infrastructure plan and strategy is no longer an option, as it had been in recent years, but rather a must to compete in any customer-facing situation.

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Feb 20

Realities of Online Self-Service

Seven Realities of Online Self-Service

Forrester Research says that business leaders must dramatically revitalize the self-service experience offered on customer facing websites just to keep pace with evolving consumer expectations. There are key realities of modern online service that expose the gap between customer expectations and website performance, and how you can take steps to close that gap starting now.
 
1. Customers have grown tired of your old online help tools.
 
Customer satisfaction with today's most common web self-service features is abysmal and getting worse. In 2011, only 51% of consumers who used online help sections or FAQs for self-service were satisfied, down from 56% in 2009. As more companies rectify this by deploying next generation self-service solutions and virtual agents, fewer customers will tolerate antiquated self-service help tools online.
 
2. Customers now expect a superior experience online, not just a good one.
 
Exceptionally positive online experiences are now setting the bar for what customers expect when they visit virtually any website in search of answers and information. According to Forrester, 70% of online consumers expect businesses to try harder to provide superior online customer service.

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Jul 14

Methods and Techniques for Information Architecture Design

Methods and Techniques for Information Architecture Design
Previously, I described information architecture design patterns for web sites and best practices for this design. Today, I am going to describe methods and techniques for information architecture design.
 
There are a few different approaches commonly used for information architecture design.
 
Card Sorting
 
Card sorting is a low cost, simple way to figure out how best to group and organize your content based on user input. Card sorting works by writing each content set or page on an index card, and then letting users sort them into groups based on how they think the content should be categorized.

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Jul 14

Information Architecture for Web Sites

Information Architecture for Web Sites
Without a clear understanding of how information architecture (IA) should be set up, we can end up creating web sites that are more confusing than they need to be or make web site content virtually inaccessible. Here are some popular IA design patterns, best practices, design techniques, and case examples.
 
Information Architecture Design Patterns
 
There are a number of different IA design patterns for effective organization of web site content. Understanding these IA models will help you pick the most appropriate starting point for a site’s information structure. Let us talk about five of the most common web site IA patterns.

Single Page

The first pattern is the single page model. Single page sites are best suited for projects that have a very narrow focus and a limited amount of information. These could be for a single product site, such as a website for an iPhone app, or a simple personal contact info site.

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