Live from Confab: Key principles for creating useful self-service content

Key principles for creating useful self-service content, by Gerry McGovern

logo-smallContent management professionals are being asked to manage 1000s of pages, and it’s too much. The problem is that we’re using 1970s models of management for a 2010 world. The new models of content management will reward consumption rather than production.

Picking a seat on a plane is great for self service, because you have control. But reading an x-ray takes 7 years of education, and so that is a poor choice for self-service. To decide if something is a good choice for a self-service it should be:

  • Fast to do, and high repetition (repeating the task often).
  • Low complexity and high demand for control.
  • High staffing cost, but low self-service costs.

When setting up self-service:

  • How will you know if they’re successful?
  • What percentage of people get to where you want them to?
  • Are you streamlining the experience, so that people can get to content without being distracted?
  • Are you helping people, so that they get to what they need quickly?
    • No one cares about the journey when they’re looking for information!
  • Price – people expect a discount when they’re doing it “themselves”
  • Continuous improvement – if people are using something, you have to find out how they’re using it
    • Context is important, or you won’t know why they’re doing the things they’re doing
    • If customers are spending longer on your homepage, does that mean they’re reading something or they don’t know what to do?
    • Can you improve the amount of user success over time?

Essentially, self service success is based on the success of the customer.

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