It may have taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but you have successfully launched your member portal. Congratulations! Now it’s time to get to work maintaining it. You want to make sure it keeps serving your customers’ needs, but how do you go about ensuring your portal remains useful?
Monitoring & Collecting Data
The single biggest thing you can do to make sure your member portal remains relevant is to keep track of how customers use it. Analytics and other data are essential.
Where are users going?
It sounds straightforward, and it is. Knowing where people are going helps you make sure that vital content is easy to find. Is the path to the content obvious? Should you create a link from your portal’s homepage? Your users are telling you what’s important. Don’t hesitate to tweak accordingly, and make sure this content is always as fresh as possible.
Where are users spending their time?
Pages viewed for extended periods can tell you a lot. Are customers spending a significant amount of time here because the content is highly relevant? Or because they can’t work out what this page is saying? If you have already tested the content, then these pages are again your linchpins. Make sure they’re easy to find. If you haven’t tested the content, take this as a sign to do so, and learn what users need.
What are common search terms?
While some users will jump straight to your portal search, for many this is a last-resort option. What are the most common search terms? Do they relate to actual portal content? If not, consider creating this content, unless there is a strong story for not having it. If you do already have this content, why might users be searching for it? Is it hidden or buried in a confusing navigation structure? Is it period-specific content that needs to be highlighted on the portal homepage at certain points of the year?
What are users calling about?
Do you maintain call center data? This is an invaluable resource for figuring out how well your member portal is performing. Do customers tend to call about specific issues? Are they calling for information that is actually included in the portal, but might be difficult to find or understand? What are their biggest complaints about your portal? Think of call center data as free usability testing – ignore it at your own risk!
Analytics are a wonderful tool, but can sometimes leave you scratching your head. Why are people searching for content you think is so easy to find? Why do users head straight to content you thought would be secondary? Here’s where usability testing is your ally.
Test to Understand Analytics
You can get a fuller picture of the analytics story with minimal cost. Bring in 5-6 users, and target your tasks to any data that wasn’t completely clear. Remote usability testing is also a great option for keeping costs down while accessing a representative user base. Be sure to choose a moderated option to enable follow up questions.
If you make adjustments based on your analytics and data, conduct a quick study to make sure that you’ve improved the experience. Is there an upcoming change in regulations, enrollment, or anything else that might require tweaking your member portal content or calls to action? Run a usability test before going live to ensure you improve, or at least don’t break, the experience. Again, these can be kept small. You can get big returns, and identify the biggest issues, with a smaller sampling of 5-6 users.
Monitoring member portal performance is a major task during the maintenance phase. It’s critical to make sure that it serves your customers’ needs, and continues to do so even as new information, products, or regulations change the content. You can do this by looking at:
- Pages users visit most often
- Pages where users spend significant time
- Common search terms, and why users search for this content
- Call center issue logs
This ongoing monitoring can raise questions about how to improve performance, best answered through quick usability studies targeting relevant tasks. Any updates you make should be tested before going live in order to maintain or improve the customer experience.
Your portal is live, but it still needs love. Show it some TLC, and it will offer you some serious mileage.