To meet the needs of today’s busy and connected consumers, enterprises, cloud and telecom service providers must deliver state-of-the-art cloud infrastructure services. A key component of these cloud-based solutions is the Self Service Portal (SSP), which enables an end-user or customer to request a product or a service without having to go through an intermediary.
The purpose of a well-built SSP is to minimize user effort and maximize the quality of the experience. Here are eight best practices to consider when creating a SSP. Our self service portal at VMUnify is founded on these principles:
1. Design automated fulfillment into the SSP
Depending on the nature of the request through the SSP, the time to fulfill it manually could be instantaneous or it could be time consuming. In contrast, if the process is automated, the fulfillment is often quicker and this makes for a happy user.
2. Clearly define the rules for fulfilling a request
The skill set required for automating requests is challenging and must leverage the published interfaces of the underlying service or product. To create an automated SSP workflow, it’s essential that the rules or policies for fulfilling a request be clearly defined, along with what happens when a request is declined.
3. Personalize to improve the user experience
It’s important to personalize the SSP functionality to improve the user experience. Whether you’re designing for cloud administrators, employees, retail users or resellers; different users have different needs and a customized SSP provides significant experience advantages.
4. Make it “white label” capable
SSP is where the consumer meets the provider, and there are many elements that can make the interaction successful. One of those elements is the ability to “brand” the experience. This is called White Label. It’s an engineering challenge to provide a totally unique SSP to every user when it is tied to a product, and that should be the goal.
5. Deliver analytics on usage
Design the SSP to collect user data to support continuous improvement in the system. Analytics on user journeys are vital to keeping customers and winning loyalty. This allows you to deliver on user needs in subsequent release cycles.
6. Guide the user through the SSP
The new digital trend leans towards cleaner and minimalistic designs aimed at guiding the user instead of expecting the user to select from available options. SSP that adheres to this UX principle is likely to be adopted faster, while reducing underlying complexity (remember, more choices means more complexity).
7. Use historical data to remove repetitive actions
Reducing user effort for key actions is critical to registering a positive experience in the user’s mind. Analyze the user’s repeated tasks, design them into the system, and eliminate redundant data entry.
8. Provide targeted offers along the decision journey
We all want to buy when the moment is right. Targeted offers should anticipate what the user wants to do next. Designing good targeting into the SSP drives user action and improves the overall performance of the solution.
Do you have an experience in building unique SSPs tied to a particular product that you’d like to share? If so, drop us a comment. We’re always interested in how others handle the engineering challenges of supporting multiple SSPs. Also, check out our VMUnify solution at http://www.vmunify.com/