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Simplifying Service Deliveries End-to-End

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12 Mins READ TIME

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Healthcare INDUSTRY

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Inventory Storage PRODUCT TYPE

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50,000+ USERBASE

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Research, UX, UI OUR ROLE

A leading North American company providing Point of Care and Medication Management solutions within the Healthcare domain. Their product inventory comprised a range of storage solutions to be used by hospital staff in locations across the region.

Brief

Process Background

The storage containers comprise compartments for surgical instruments, which are operated mechanically. These compartments are used by nurses using a software to store instruments required for surgeries scheduled throughout the week.

Technical errors arise when either the software malfunctions or if there is a hardware malfunction on-site. In both cases, the entire storage container gets into a lock-down mode, which calls for a software reset or a site visit, in case of a hardware issue.

The customer places a service complaint by calling the customer service center which facilitates the process.

Design Engagement

The client reached out to koru to help evaluate and enhance the service workflow of fixing/replacing these compartments.

Background

Solution

UX Strategy

Workflows in large enterprises are often discovered to be fragmented. Each department is known to function within its self-drawn boundaries, without acknowledging that they're a part of a collective service experience.

Having made this observation, the best way to ensure a unified service experience to the customer would be by creating an end-to-end blueprint of the entire journey. Journey mapping is a compilation of user goals and actions into a timeline. It is used to convey insightful details that add value to the design process. This journey map would help stakeholders gain a bird's eye view of the entire service workflow.

It would help pinpoint the areas where the quality of the service dips and rises, which enhances the accuracy of the solutions.

Demonstrating the holistic user experience is the key purpose behind showcasing journey maps.

Going by the information above, we defined the personas based on the roles. Doing so ensured that we gained a better understanding of each persona's needs and end goals. It drove the design process in the right direction.

Jessica M. Benn

Customer Service Agent

Goal

Provide the customer with accurate details and help resolve his issue in the least time possible

Needs
  • Detailed information regarding product specification and functionality
  • Resolving customer queries on call
  • Restricting referrals to tech support team

Tom Jones

Field Agent

Goal

Render timely service and technical assistance to clients on-site, preferably with minimal hassles

Needs
  • Details regarding the job to be done on-site beforehand, without having to ask the customer
  • Information regarding hardware OS upgrades

Nancy Fields

Customer

Goal

Provide the best healthcare solutions to patients, collaborating with fellow nurses, doctors, and team members

Needs
  • Service Carts to function optimally at all time
  • Not losing out precious time in emergencies to malfunctions
  • More informed responses from customer service agents
Journey Mapping

The research phase of the process begins with in-depth data gathering. We started by conducting user interviews remotely. This, along with periodic consultations with stakeholders helped collate information that helped in forming a comprehensive journey map.

Methods used

  • Stakeholder interviews
  • Journey mapping
  • Observational studies
  • Product & ecosystem's evaluation & analysis


Medapparatus-User Journey

This exercise helped us understand not just the workflow of the customer support and field agents, but also the hardware (storage unit) and the way it is put into use by the nurses and technicians. Real user journeys such as these are inconsistent and fragmented – no thanks to organizational structures that are segmented and siloed departmentally and hierarchy-wise. User frustration mounts as a consequence of this misalignment, impacting the bottom line of the company.

Top Findings & Recommendations

Finding#1

Excess dependency on customer support

Excessive workload on the customer support agents: Users are highly dependent on Customer Support Agents to guide them across issues.

Experienced agents handled queries better; the newer ones struggled: Seasoned customer support agents are able to troubleshoot some of the simpler issues based on experience. However, they lack the basic guidelines to isolate actual issues from instances where the customer seeks more details about the product and its usage.

Recommendations

Introduction of a diagnostic center on the website that allows the customer to run quick troubleshoots or raise a ticket directly.

A common app could be introduced which would be integrated with the hospital’s EMR system to relay notifications assigning the hardware as per the assignment schedules. It could also have a provision for the customer to learn about the product, its usage, and OS updates.

Here’s what the online diagnostic center would look like

Finding#2

Gaps in Communication and Coordination between Internal Business Units

Non-standardized functioning: The process lacks a standardized structure and format for the ticket intake documentation.

Bottlenecking and delayed responses: The customer support team is the center point for anyone looking to contact the customer - which causes bottlenecks and delayed response times.

Unnecessary field visits being assigned: Field agents discover that the delivered hardware is either incompatible or that the system was in need of an OS update upon arriving at the location, which doesn’t necessitate their expertise.

Field agents deployed their own sub-process: Agents bypass customer support and contact the customer directly to make the process more compact.

Recommendations

Introduction of a specific intake format for the tickets raised would help save time, bring uniformity in the information to be used, and keep the involved parties to stay on the same page.

Integration of the checkpoints to validate and justify the allocation of field resources would negate the need for field agents to contact the customers directly, reduce bottlenecking.

Enhanced process flow

Finding#3

Lack of Customer Update Touch Points

Multiple callers (customers) following up the same case: Internal stakeholders from the technical support team reach out to the CS agents, as a result of which they have to repeatedly provide the same information and specifics, leading to frustration.

Lack of updates with hardware shipping: In cases where the hardware was directly shipped to the customer, the field agent would follow up with them frequently in order to schedule the visit.

Frequent calls by customers to review case status: The customer representative from the hospital reach out to the Customer Support team frequently for updates on their request.

Recommendations

Defined automatic and manual touchpoints to relay updates to the customer as per their preferred communication channels (Call, Mail, Text, App)

Augmented the process to have the hardware delivery vendors communicate with the internal support team and relaying the same to the assigned field agent.

Defined a timeline for the resolution process which was to be shared with the customer through preferred mediums, keeping them in the loop at all times.

Customer Update Touchpoints

Finding#4

Poor scoping of downtime on-site and lack of support from the system

Estimation of the project’s scope was undefined: For the hospital administration, it is important to be able to estimate and prepare for the scenario where the equipment would be under service.

Field agents would be burdened with extra issues: The field agent deals with scenarios that add to the initial estimates:

  • Hospital trying to set up ad-hoc pharmacies or assign clinical staff to overlook the components of the equipment
  • Unavailability of Remote Technical Assistance
  • Outdated OS that could take several hours to update remotely

 

The equipment and OS are configured to allow for a very limited number of compartments and sub-compartments to be opened simultaneously. It was not built around a use case or scenario requiring the equipment to be serviced when off duty.

The field agent empties the entire equipment, and replaces, reconfigures and refills one compartment at a time.

Recommendations

Prior OS checks by the Remote Technical Team

Reducing Field Agent’s dependence on Tech Support by letting him access the Product Knowledge Base while onsite, being offline.

Definition of a service scenario-based protocol for the field agent to follow.

Provision for the agent to easily document tools and drugs removed to bring in accountability and help them while reconfiguring the equipment once the hardware is installed or replaced.

Enhancement in the product’s OS and introduction of admin settings allowing the field agent to bypass defined configuration and open a larger number of compartments at a time, speeding up their work.

Here’s a look at the admin settings on the diagnostic tool

Top Findings & Recommendations

Finding#1

Excess dependency on customer support

Excessive workload on the customer support agents: Users are highly dependent on Customer Support Agents to guide them across issues.

Experienced agents handled queries better; the newer ones struggled: Seasoned customer support agents are able to troubleshoot some of the simpler issues based on experience. However, they lack the basic guidelines to isolate actual issues from instances where the customer seeks more details about the product and its usage.

Recommendations

Introduction of a diagnostic center on the website that allows the customer to run quick troubleshoots or raise a ticket directly.

A common app could be introduced which would be integrated with the hospital’s EMR system to relay notifications assigning the hardware as per the assignment schedules. It could also have a provision for the customer to learn about the product, its usage, and OS updates.

Here’s what the online diagnostic center would look like

Finding#2

Gaps in Communication and Coordination between Internal Business Units

Non-standardized functioning: The process lacks a standardized structure and format for the ticket intake documentation.

Bottlenecking and delayed responses: The customer support team is the center point for anyone looking to contact the customer - which causes bottlenecks and delayed response times.

Unnecessary field visits being assigned: Field agents discover that the delivered hardware is either incompatible or that the system was in need of an OS update upon arriving at the location, which doesn’t necessitate their expertise.

Field agents deployed their own sub-process: Agents bypass customer support and contact the customer directly to make the process more compact.

Recommendations

Introduction of a specific intake format for the tickets raised would help save time, bring uniformity in the information to be used, and keep the involved parties to stay on the same page.

Integration of the checkpoints to validate and justify the allocation of field resources would negate the need for field agents to contact the customers directly, reduce bottlenecking.

Enhanced process flow

Finding#3

Lack of Customer Update Touch Points

Multiple callers (customers) following up the same case: Internal stakeholders from the technical support team reach out to the CS agents, as a result of which they have to repeatedly provide the same information and specifics, leading to frustration.

Lack of updates with hardware shipping: In cases where the hardware was directly shipped to the customer, the field agent would follow up with them frequently in order to schedule the visit.

Frequent calls by customers to review case status: The customer representative from the hospital reach out to the Customer Support team frequently for updates on their request.

Recommendations

Defined automatic and manual touchpoints to relay updates to the customer as per their preferred communication channels (Call, Mail, Text, App)

Augmented the process to have the hardware delivery vendors communicate with the internal support team and relaying the same to the assigned field agent.

Defined a timeline for the resolution process which was to be shared with the customer through preferred mediums, keeping them in the loop at all times.

Customer Update Touchpoints

Finding#4

Poor scoping of downtime on-site and lack of support from the system

Estimation of the project’s scope was undefined: For the hospital administration, it is important to be able to estimate and prepare for the scenario where the equipment would be under service.

Field agents would be burdened with extra issues: The field agent deals with scenarios that add to the initial estimates:

  • Hospital trying to set up ad-hoc pharmacies or assign clinical staff to overlook the components of the equipment
  • Unavailability of Remote Technical Assistance
  • Outdated OS that could take several hours to update remotely

The equipment and OS are configured to allow for a very limited number of compartments and sub-compartments to be opened simultaneously. It was not built around a use case or scenario requiring the equipment to be serviced when off duty.

The field agent empties the entire equipment, and replaces, reconfigures and refills one compartment at a time.

Recommendations

Prior OS checks by the Remote Technical Team

Reducing Field Agent’s dependence on Tech Support by letting him access the Product Knowledge Base while onsite, being offline.

Definition of a service scenario-based protocol for the field agent to follow.

Provision for the agent to easily document tools and drugs removed to bring in accountability and help them while reconfiguring the equipment once the hardware is installed or replaced.

Enhancement in the product’s OS and introduction of admin settings allowing the field agent to bypass defined configuration and open a larger number of compartments at a time, speeding up their work.

Here’s a look at the admin settings on the diagnostic tool

Conclusion

Users appreciate a product or a service that’s easy to use. Indeed, this ease of use has been the driving force behind the success of numerous products. That said, it is also true that usability is but one aspect that defines user satisfaction. A classic user experience is the sum of the user’s perceptions with regard to interacting with your company as a whole. When experiences are analyzed as pieces of a larger puzzle - as opposed to isolated events - it ensures user satisfaction at a higher scale across touchpoints.

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