Inside Out

When was the last time you caught yourself looking over at a person’s screen who is serving you? Trying to get a glimpse of what they’re dealing with. It might be to see something for your own benefit. Or perhaps your curious about their user interface. Maybe you’re even comparing their system to something you use. It doesn’t take much to find staff battling along with some hideous internal systems. Booking platforms; airport flight management; fast food ordering; council tax screens.

Generally, we’re good at recognising a good user interface. Either we don’t notice it and blast through the system with ease—or we’ll admire it. These companies are focusing on their customers and building brilliant interfaces for them to use. Why not, right? Give the customer’s what they want. I wouldn’t argue with that.

Often though, it would seem that staff are left behind. The systems they are left using are on unsupported operating systems. They’re using something that wouldn’t be out of place in some 1990s hacker film. I’ve even seen it myself where I work.

We shouldn’t forget about the internal tools we use and build. They’re ready to make our customer service better—and our lives easier. Don’t obscure them or forget about them.

We expect great customer service, and that should echo from the inside out. If we give our staff the tools that are easy to use it’ll show in the service they are able to provide. It’ll save notebooks worth of scribbles on how to bend the system to do what they need. It’ll save thousands of sticky notes on the sides of monitors. In large scale companies, I’d put money on it saving you money.

Next time there’s a discussion about version eight of the customer’s profile page, stop. Start a discussion about version two of the staff’s internal systems.

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