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Making smart home product support more intelligent

PRODUCT STRATEGY & EXPERIENCE DESIGN

Vivint is a smart home service provider with millions of customers across the US and Canada. The company has invested heavily in scaling its customer support over the last several years, however the tools & technology which call center agents rely on has grown out of date and ineffective for solving their customers' toughest problems. 

Vivint's aging support ecosystem has created a costly situation, requiring technicians to physically visit their customers’ houses for problems which in many cases could have been resolved via remote support. What would a next-gen support platform look like to better empower support agents and help Vivnt's growing customer base?

RESEARCH & OBSERVATION
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The engagement started with an immersive week in the call center, meeting stakeholders, shadowing agents, observing workflows, and listening to customer calls. 

While their young workforce was energized, it was clear their toolkit was broken, leading to homegrown workarounds, off-book hacks, and rogue processes devised by enterprising agents in an effort to better help customers. 

Capturing the current experience

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Research was captured in a journey map illustrating the end-to-end experience with a focus on key areas for improvement.

Vivint Service Journey

Personas highlighted a young workforce with a high-rate of turnover.
Understanding these different behavioral profiles would be key to creating a more effective support solution.

Personas highlighted a young workforce with a high-rate of turnover. Understanding these different behavioral profiles would be key to creating a more effective support solution.

Personas highlighted a young workforce with a high-rate of turnover. Understanding these different behavioral profiles would be key to creating a more effective support solution.

Personas highlighted a young workforce with a high-rate of turnover. Understanding these different behavioral profiles would be key to creating a more effective support solution.

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Establishing the vision and design principles

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Before jumping into design, it was important to align around a northstar vision, supporting design principles and measurement strategy for the new support product.

I scanned the industry for best practices in the most highly regarded call centers and gathered relevant experience inspiration to further inform the new product direction.

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Assessing vivint's existing tools

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Using a heuristic evaluation method, I assessed existing product tooling and experiences. Most products were outdated, slow, and riddled with buggy behavior. In many cases the only reason for using company software was a formal manadate which instilled a "box ticking" behavior in support agents to avoid negative performance scores.  

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Beginning the design process

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With a strong strategic foundation in place, we set out to redefine what a meaningful support tool would look like for our audience. Experience design tools such as application maps, user flow diagrams, and low fidelity wireframes enabled fast alignment with the team on the most appropriate high-level design choices for our users. 

USER FLOW ARCHITECTURE EXAMPLE:
Vivint App Flow
WIREFRAME EXAMPLE:
Wireframe example

Building a rich interactive prototype

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An Invision prototype was developed to bring users through an end-to-end troubleshooting flow in a revolutionary new way of managing customer issues.

For more complex situations, motion studies (left) were used to illustrate interactivity and advanced dynamic workflows.

Design showcase

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Before an agent answers the call, they're able to see a customer's case history, what they're calling about, and other pertinent data points to help provide a personalized experience.

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The agent is immediately brought to the customer's equipment list, showing vital live diagnostic data and any insight regarding status or issues known by the system.

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Once an agent begins troubleshooting with a customer, they are taken through a step-by-step approach, determined by the underlying diagnostic flow logic and any live data from the customer's system. Any steps which can be automated (remote reboots, router cycling, etc) are done so, however when a manual troubleshooting task is required, the agent is provided a visual guide with the ability to push video or pictoral content to the customer via text, email, or live chat. 

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In some cases an agent may need to wait upwards of 10 minutes while a process completes. The new system enables the agent to switch to other issues while the previous one completes in the background, saving time and frustration.

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Upon completion of a customer call, the issue(s) resolved are automatically summarized and a quick poll of the customer's sentiment is taken. In cases where the issue wasn't resolved, any additional followup or technician requests can be made before closing out the case. 

Measuring up: the value of new experience design

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The new approach to customer support at Vivint is estimated to save thousands of hours a month and millions of dollars annually. Perhaps more importantly, the new experience is slated to improve the satisfaction of customers and make the stressful lives of those who work in the call center significantly easier. Combined with a powerful new technical architecture and the retirement of 10+ legacy systems, the new product vision will scale with Vivint for years to come.

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MY ROLE:  Client & Solution Lead, Creative Director, Research Lead, Experience Design, Visual & Interaction Design

PROJECT TEAM:  Visual Interaction Designer

CLIENT TEAM:  Executive Sponsor, Product Owner, Brand & Domain Subject Experts

MY ROLE:  Client & Solution Lead, Creative Director, Research Lead, Experience Design, Visual & Interaction Design

PROJECT TEAM:  Visual Interaction Designer

CLIENT TEAM:  Executive Sponsor, Product Owner, Brand & Domain Subject Experts

MY ROLE:  Client & Solution Lead, Creative Director, Research Lead, Experience Design, Visual & Interaction Design

PROJECT TEAM:  Visual Interaction Designer

CLIENT TEAM:  Executive Sponsor, Product Owner, Brand & Domain Subject Experts

MY ROLE:  Client & Solution Lead, Creative Director, Research Lead, Experience Design, Visual & Interaction Design

PROJECT TEAM:  Visual Interaction Designer

CLIENT TEAM:  Executive Sponsor, Product Owner, Brand & Domain Subject Experts

This site and all of its contents are copyright Mike Mates 2020. All rights reserved. Case study projects completed while leading the experience team at Slalom Build.