Technology when you want it, people when you don’t
Several years ago the US-Based internet car insurance company Esurance launched an advertising campaign which highlighted the benefits of their service delivery model – a model based entirely upon choices. The campaign had the tagline of “technology when you want it, people when you don’t” to emphasize the fact that everyone has a different optimal service experience and they weren’t purely a self-service organization. With this campaign Esurance focused on the customer experience over the price of the coverage, the breadth of their geographic footprint, or other traditional points of emphasis in insurance advertising.
The concept of choice in a service delivery experience makes perfect sense in a consumer-based model, but does that same thought process apply in how HR services are delivered to an organization? Over the years I’ve seen a variety of HR service delivery models which are generally predicated upon efficiencies gained by way of automating routine inquiries and transactions. Broad-based assumptions are made which impact financial modelling, assuming upwards of 80-85% of all inquires can be accommodated by way of self-service.
After all the number crunching and analysis, there often remains large barriers to achieving the desired levels of utilization based largely upon the overall user experience of the technology and supporting capabilities. This isn’t purely a technical issue, although the technical user experience is a large contributor to the experience.
The Service Experience
Service experience is defined by technology, process design, logical structure to system data, the manner in which systems are accessed by users, the structure of the support model – phone, portal, in-person, etc.
A well designed service experience becomes an enabler of transformed business operations. Conversely, a poorly designed service experience can not only be a critical point of failure in the service delivery model but ultimately result in less efficient operations.
Getting to the Point!
When working to design new systems, processes, and/or operating models, maintaining a customer-centric (employee or manager) mindset in the design becomes one of the most critical success factors. In order to deliver this optimal experience, keep in mind the following items:
- Include non-HR stakeholders in the overall design process by way of focus groups at a minimum. Ideally you have business stakeholders embedded into the design team to help ensure the needs of the customer remain front and center.
- View efficiency gains not just from a HR perspective, but from the perspective of the employee and/or manager
- Design system values such as job codes, department codes, locations, etc to be meaningful to the primary user (which isn’t HR). Use of “smart codes” should be avoided at all costs
- Make all solution design decisions as holistic as possible and replicate values across related systems. This means that finance and HR have the same definition of items such as headcount, organizational structures, etc.
- Think about the future when designing processes and systems – be sure that design decisions don’t limit you in the future.
In the end success lies not in making something technically work, but in enabling the desired outcomes. In order to drive user adoption experience matters.