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Assisting customers with digital services

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Although we’re in the run up to the Christmas break, our testing schedule hasn’t let up! In my last blog I talked about our intention to conduct a dedicated assisted digital test with customers. After some technical difficulties, and a few teething problems, we finally got under way.

This time we recruited customers from a range of ages but all with limited internet experience. Our intention was to modify our standard set up to try and replicate the assisted digital experience in as close to a ‘real-life’ situation we could.

Once the service is live, should a customer require assistance in viewing their driving record, they will be able to phone the DVLA contact centre for an agent to advise them or talk them through the process. In our lab we had the participant viewing the customer portal of view driving record whilst our observers were recording the action in the room next door. But this time we had a third room where a telephone agent from DVLA’s contact centre had access to the internal version of the portal. The customer gave us their impressions on the start screen and after having an initial look, we set them a scenario to complete such as finding out what penalty points they have on their licence. The participant then called the contact centre, getting through to the agent we had primed and ready.

This is the first time we had tested the complete end-to-end journey of a customer requiring assistance and we were extremely pleased with the results. The set-up worked more or less perfectly. We were able to observe the customer reacting to the agent’s advice and follow their progress. What was really pleasing from our perspective was after we presented an initial scenario to our participant and they had phoned for advice, the conversation became very organic and natural and really gave us an idea of how this would work in a less artificial environment.

We didn’t pick up many defects from a customer perspective which is probably to be expected since they had access to someone who could talk them through the process. However, we certainly learnt a lot about how the process will work and some of the challenges our colleagues in the contact centre may have when providing assistance. Even though they are looking at the same screens, talking someone through a process remotely can be quite difficult and we found that some of the terminology we may use every day was in itself a little bit of a barrier. For example, it’s safe to assume most people with a passing knowledge of the internet will understand terms like ‘links,’ but that isn’t necessarily always the case. Also, the length of the call is significant from both the customer and business perspective and being able to describe the actions a person should take in clear terms, that doesn’t take a significant amount of time will be very important. Having said that, participants were overwhelmingly positive about the help they received and what was particularly good to hear was that having been assisted once, all of them confirmed they would have the confidence to try it again.

Once again we streamed our sessions back to the project team back at DVLA. Our testing lab is only a mile or two down the road but it still enables the test to be viewed by a larger number of developers and members of the project team than could comfortably fit in our observer room! But it did afford me the opportunity to hop back on the shuttle bus after viewing a couple of sessions at the venue, and speak at the project’s weekly showcase to explain what we were doing. I wasn’t prepared for the amount of interest there was going to be because there were about fifty project team members and representatives from all across the business huddled around a plasma screen viewing our test!

We have one more test on view driving record this side of the Christmas break but now that we have proved the concept of testing the assisted digital process, we intend to incorporate this into further tests in the new year, as well as testing on multiple devices and interfaces.

So until then, happy holidays everyone! As usual, feel free to leave your comments or get in touch with any questions.

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