Work towards creating a service that meets users’ needs across all channels, including online, phone, paper and face to face.
Why it’s important
Bringing different channels together means you can design an experience that makes sense to the user. You should not exclude users or make them have an inferior experience because they lack access to technology or the skills to use it.
People working on the service have the power to fix problems in whatever channel they crop up, instead of having to create workarounds. They can spend less time dealing with failure demand, and more time with users who need their help.
What it means
Service teams should be able to show that:
- the service team has the power to find the best way of solving the problem
- they invite front line operations staff and policy people to attend user research, and to add to prioritisation decisions
- designers and user researchers are working with front line operations staff
- they are testing and can make changes to users’ experience of both online and offline channels, for example call centre scripts
- they use data and user research on the online part of the service to improve offline channels, and the other way around
- front line staff responsible for answering users’ questions know how the online service works, and there is a process to keep them updated
- they work with colleagues in operations to understand how changes to the online part of the service will affect offline, and the other way round
- plans to increase digital take up do not involve making it more difficult to find details of phone, paper or face to face channels
Service teams need to identify any problems with internal processes or systems that make it hard to design and operate a joined up service.
And show that there’s a plan to fix them. For example, have a procedure to resolve issues with the online service that are causing problems for the offline channels. Or the other way around.