“You’ll need to print it out so I can scan it.”

This was what the gal at the physician’s office told my husband when he tried to give her his digital insurance card.

He has a digital version, she needs a digital version, and the only way to make the exchange without violating privacy laws is to print it so she can scan it?

Have we learned nothing in the past year?

If this doctor’s office was a technology company, they would quickly remove any need to print. In fact, a human being wouldn’t even need to ask for an insurance card at all because everything would be self-service.

This reflection is about empowering customers to serve themselves – removing obstacles that prevent success, delivering digital self-service through personalized product content, and information experience as a driver of customer experience.

The Andon Cord by John Willis. This timeless article is the best one I’ve seen describing how large companies remove customer experience barriers using Japanese manufacturing techniques. I can personally attest to the ubiquity of the Andon Cord mechanism at Amazon and the obsession for doing what’s best for customers at all cost. I love that John brings to light the rest of the story - the need for a leader to “go-see”, the respect given to the person who pulled the andon cord, the focus on mentorship, and the preference for solutions to come from the person who pulled the cord rather than from the team lead. I’m also intrigued by the Chaos Monkey mechanism used at Netflix to inject failures into systems to test the ability to recover.

Delivering Role-Based Content With Zoomin and easyDITA with Joe Gelb and Patrick Bosek. In this webinar, Joe and Patrick explain how to provide better self-service by surfacing personalized and highly relevant content. While we know that relevant content can help our customers find answers more quickly, the idea of personalization can be daunting. Joe and Patrick break down the requirements in a way that simply makes sense.

Crafting an Information Experience hosted by Todd Kane. In this podcast, Todd and I discuss the topic of information experience and, in particular, self-service. In Todd’s IT-focused podcast, we explore the role of information experience, consider the trials and tribulations of providing self-service, and weigh in on the subject of content as a strategic asset. If you’re interested in creating self-service through dynamic delivery of content that answers customers’ questions, then listen in!

This article was originally published in Megan's Friday Reflection, where she shares her unique perspective on recent events and how they pertain to content strategy, customer experience and business leadership. Subscribe to her weekly newsletter here. Megan Gilhooly is VP of Customer Experience at Zoomin. She previously led global content teams at AWS, Amazon and Ping Identity.  

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