Listening to Your Users

Neil Kelly, Solution Architect, FINEOS

Do You Listen To Your Users?

New claims management solutions, and indeed any large IT exercise, are driven by senior individuals in an organisation, often at a VP or executive level, who have specific organisational goals for the project.  Middle management is often involved but has a remit from senior stakeholders.  To the vast majority of people who will be using the new system, it simply happens to them rather than users being participants in the IT initiative.  So how can users be included at every step throughout the project?  It’s quite simple – just listen to them!

User interviews are a simple and cost effective way of including users throughout the project as well as after implementation and also of eliciting valuable information that would not be apparent or perhaps not a priority to more senior stakeholders.

Why User Interviews are of Benefit

  • Information from the horse’s mouth – information passes through several channels before reaching an IT provider to address.  Spending time with users to understand their concerns and views, as well as the positive things they have to say  about a system can be very revealing.
  • Users experience the system every day and may have grown accustomed to something that could work better for them.
  • Habits can form within a user group that can degrade the benefits and efficiencies they could be getting from the system.  E.g. maintaining local lists of information – aka shadow IT.
  • Effectiveness of the IT process – for example it can be beneficial to spot check features shortly after roll out to evaluate the effectiveness of the new feature, is it working as expected?, it is delivering the value it was intended to deliver?
  • Better ways to use the system can be identified without any IT investments.
  • Usability testing is costly and a lengthy exercise – contextual interviews can often reveal the same results in a much shorter timeframe.
  • End users are at the coal-face of dealing with an insurer’s customers – they are therefore in an excellent position to evaluate customer satisfaction.  This makes their feedback invaluable.  Similarly, user satisfaction will lead to increased customer satisfaction.

How to benefit from the results

In order to gain real benefits from user interviews (both for an organisation and for users to be made to feel involved and heard) it’s vital that the results are acted upon, that a summary of findings is presented back to those involved.  Here are some guidelines for acting on the results:

  • No Lengthy documents – no one will read them!
  • Frequent updates while interviews are happening highlighting the general outcome and any big ticket items.  This will help to retain engagement.
  • Carry out a solution review once all interviews have taken place – architectural recommendations, e.g. are futher integrations required.
  • Recommendations
    • Changes to work practices
    • System changes
    • Messaging to explain why it is correct
    • Top 10 things users don’t like
    • Top 10 things users do like

So, could your organisation benefit from user interviews?

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