Reducing Customer Case Creation through User-Centric Design

As the UX Director my team and I were tasked with a crucial project: reducing the number of customer cases/tickets created. Each case represented a cost to the business due to the necessity of human intervention. This case study outlines the structured, user-centered approach it took to achieve the goal, highlighting the steps, methodologies, and insights that drove the solution.

Understanding the Problem

The first step was to align with our stakeholders to gain a comprehensive understanding of the business problem and its impact on our customers. I facilitated a session asking critical questions:

  • What is our goal?
  • What are our users trying to do?
  • What are we trying to do?

Through this session, we identified three primary themes:

  1. Reduce complexity for our clients.
  2. Build trust in our Portal.
  3. Enable self-service without PB intervention.

To deepen our understanding, we asked follow-up questions: Why? and What’s stopping us? This led to valuable insights beyond the original problem statement.

Redesigning the Categorization Structure

The current categorization of cases into Financial Support, Account Support, and Technical Support did not align with our customers’ mental models. We proposed a more object-focused model:

  • Financials
  • Contracts and Agreements
  • General Account Management
  • Postage
  • Product Support
  • Supplies

To validate this new structure, we conducted 30 user tests over three rounds. By the third round, 100% of users were able to correctly categorize scenarios, confirming that the new structure matched our customers’ mental models.

Clean Up of Case Coding Selections

We started with 151 user-facing case options, which are all the different combinations of selections that a user could make to create their case.

We did not remove the ability to create a case; rather, we removed irrelevant selections that caused user confusion and ultimately led to messy case routing that cost agents time.

56

Reduced user selections in Account Support

26

Reduced user selections in Financial Support

Reframing the Customer Experience

Building the MVP

For our Minimum Viable Product (MVP), we designed a new user experience with the improved categorization, ensuring no loss of existing functionalities. We rewrote existing flows into FAQs and tested the new flow. Despite believing in the intuitiveness of the new experience, we anticipated that additional steps would be necessary to see a significant reduction in cases.

    • Decreased number of selections a user must make to continue from 3 to 1
    • Increased number of parent categories from 3 to 5
    • User tested – Achieving 100% accuracy
    • No need for the user to make a selection to view sub-categories
    • New categorization vetted by subject matter experts

Before:
Building the case event ID was prioritized and the user was required to select from confusing choices before they were able to view the case topics to see if they were even in the right place.

A user could require up to 5 clicks to get back to review other choices. Sometimes having to re-select options to expose hidden choices.

After:
Prioritized Help Topics over Back-End Case Coding: We’ve now prioritized the user so they can quickly focus on figuring out what they need help with before being asked information that is required to complete a case event ID.

Navigational Improvements: A single click will now take the user back to all category choices or they can easily navigate to another sub-category’s FAQs by using the new menu feature at the top of the page.

Implementing Automation for Common Issues

To further reduce cases, we identified three high-frequency issues:

  1. Changing company address
  2. Changing company ownership
  3. Changing company name

Previously, these issues required agent intervention. We created self-service forms that customers could fill out, which, through automation, would update our systems without human touchpoints.

Conclusion

The steps we took laid a strong foundation for reducing the need for customer case creation. Our approach was rooted in understanding and aligning with our users’ mental models, reframing the customer experience, and leveraging automation. We are currently monitoring the impact of these changes and will continue refining our solutions based on incoming data.

This case study demonstrates the power of user-centered design in solving complex business problems and highlights the methodologies and insights that drive successful UX projects.