One of the critical mistakes that we often see in the implementation of self-service portals and apps is housing providers focusing on fixing the symptoms rather than delving into the root causes of dissatisfaction.
Yes, your customers probably tell you that they would like a simpler way to track outstanding repairs, and so developing a portal that gives them real-time updates on the status of their repairs may seem logical.
Frustrations often stem from underlying process inefficiencies that need to be resolved at the source, so why not spend time understanding why you’re not achieving more ‘first-time fixes’ for repairs? Then consider redesigning those parts of your process which renders moot the need to provide updates before investing money, time and effort into new solutions.
- Focusing on the frills – while a visually-appealing design is undoubtedly nice to have, the usability and functionality of any portal should take priority. A beautifully-designed portal that’s difficult to navigate or understand will lead to frustration among users. Prioritising an intuitive user interface and journey that is aligned in harmony with your business processes will ensure that users can easily access the information or services they need.
- End-to-end dependencies – introducing a self-service portal in isolation can often lead to disjointed systems and increased workloads for your staff. A portal that doesn’t integrate with existing business processes can create more problems than it solves. It’s imperative to view the portal as part of your broader workflows and ensure that it integrates seamlessly into your business.
- Future thinking – as businesses grow and user requirements evolve, the portal should be designed with scalability and flexibility in mind. It should have the capacity to accommodate future expansion and the addition of new features without requiring a complete overhaul. This forward-looking approach ensures that any portal remains adaptable and can meet changing business demands.
- Change resistance – introducing new processes and tools, including self-service portals, can result in resistance from employees who are accustomed to existing methods. Implementing a well-defined change management strategy is crucial to ensure a smooth transition. Involving staff in the process and addressing their concerns can facilitate acceptance and adoption of the new portal.
To conclude, the approach that delivers the greatest success minimises costs, reduces risk and ensures more satisfied customers and staff is one that takes a holistic view of your business. Understand the causes of unintended outcomes of your current business process designs and be brave and bold enough to reshape them. Then, once you have optimal processes, explore automation and the introduction of self-service portals and apps, otherwise you risk automating more waste into your business.
James Yurky is the chief operating officer of One Consulting.