3 ways to make our customers’ lives easier (And ours too!)

16 Jun

Hi, my name is Dan Zola, I’m the new User Experience lead working the Bandwidth Dashboard.

I’m working with the team to make the Bandwidth Dashboard easier to use – more clear for our customers.

I joined Bandwidth three months ago. One of my first tasks?

Go meet with our customers.

So I did.

I packed my bags, flew out & watched how our clients use the dashboard.

  • How do our customers log in?
  • How do our customers port numbers?
  • How do our customers order numbers?
  • How do our customers search?

Well I’m back.

And I’ve learned 3 behaviors that our clients would like us to change in order to make the dashboard better and our client’s lives easier:

  1. Kill the Jargon

We’re all guilty of it.

We use telecom jargon & abbreviations and assume that our audience is in the know.

  • In Exception
  • Alternate SPID
  • Requested Supp
  • FOC

…We throw around these phrases without blinking an eye.

But our customers are blinking – they are confused.

Inherently our customers don’t have the industry savvy that we have – that’s why they are coming to us – we shouldn’t alienate them with internal phraseology.

SIDEBAR:

Think our telecom customers know these telecom phrases?

Think again. Each one of the above phrases stumped at least one of customers I met with.

Just because something makes sense to Bandwidth, we can’t assume it makes sense to our customers.

 

  1. Don’t offer everything. To everyone. At once.

Choose a cereal:

3cereal

How long did that did that take you?

I’m guessing not long.

Maybe your favorite cereal is listed, maybe it’s not – but you made a choice, quickly.

Now try again:

 

lotscereal

Can you choose a cereal now? Of course you can.

But not as quickly.

Not as easily.

What was once a nearly automatic reflex has turned into a laborious assessment.

Too much choice can have a deleterious effect on user action.

Customers now are thinking:

  • Have I considered all of my options?
  • What do all of these options mean?
  • Am I making the right choice?

The Bandwidth Dashboard has no shortage of terrific functionality.

Our team has done a great job versioning a multitude of options.

We just need to dole it out to our customer in smaller, more manageable increments.

Exposing all options puts a tremendous burden on the majority of our users.

 Here’s why:

The overwhelming majority of our users don’t require every option.

Two or three choices will suit them just fine.

Compounded with the first point (see above) that many users don’t understand all of these options – our customers are again confused. This confusion turns to apprehension and eventually leads to frustration.

Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as this:

3. Lead our customers through anticipatory design

We have a firm understanding of our clients. We have:

  • Years of relationship building
  • Google analytics
  • Heat maps
  • Usabilia feedback
  • Customer interviews

We know what the majority of our customers are most interested in.

So let’s start there.

Let’s empower or customers and give them what they want…faster.

Some practical examples:

  • Let’s promote the most popular ways to search for orders
  • Let’s default customers to their preferred subaccounts & locations
  • Let’s get clients to their telephone number inventory faster

In short…let’s anticipate our customers’ needs and reflect that in design.

So now, what?

Now we are moving forward.

Our development team is already hard at work at making changes.

We deliver to production in two-week sprints. So look for incremental improvements to the Bandwidth Dashboard beginning as early as this month!

The enhancements are influenced by key learnings:

  • Reduce the jargon
  • Unburden the user of excess choice and
  • Lead our customers through anticipatory design.

These guiding principals will help us increase the clarity in the Bandwidth Dashboard, making our customers’ lives easier (and ours too).

Dan Zola
Dan Zola
DZola@bandwidth.com

Dan Zola is the User Experience (UX) Design Leader for the BBS Product and Development organization. Dan’s devotion to UX principles began nearly 20 years ago, as a key player in the MovieFone experience. Since then, he has developed digital products and led teams across a variety of industries, ranging from healthcare to entertainment. Most notably, Dan has spent five years at MTV working to deepen the emotional connection with television viewers and digital users. In his current role, Dan will leverage his UX chops to add clarity and ease of use to the Bandwidth Customer portal. A graduate of University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English, Dan lives in Chapel Hill with wife Julie and two children, Max (6) and Zoe (3). A former-avid golfer (before the arrival of his aforementioned children), Dan clings to his 10-handicap.

3 Comments
  • Lauren R
    Posted at 19:23h, 18 June Reply

    Great piece Dan. I specifically liked hearing about how you strategize to limit options to make it easier for customers to choose. Also good reminders in there for those of us in support to keep the jargon to a minimum. Keep up the good work!

  • Deborah Taylor
    Posted at 19:27h, 18 June Reply

    Dan:
    This is the best “no-nonsense” approach; simply and easily described. I enjoyed the direct and to the point layout. So many of us are being pulled into dozens of directions that we need to scan and get the info quickly. Your article did just that! Thanks–I look forward to seeing how this portal develops and how Bandwidth uses its feedback. Thanks.

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