Enterprise data management firm Veritas has a bold lesson for enterprise website managers: Design your online presence correctly, and users seeking support should be able to solve their own cases in eight hours or less.

With a big boost from Lucidworks Fusion, Veritas’ self-help services realized $5 million in savings over three years: a 12 percent reduction in expenses by resolving simple online-support cases automatically, according to Joe Kugler, senior manager for knowledge management and self help experience at Veritas.

Whereas Veritas previously used Google Search Appliance and suffered from limited search capability and customization, user feedback now says: “Fusion made it easy to solve my problem.”

Veritas’ road to online-support success has been long — and it is continuing.

Best-in-Class Customer Service Experience – Online

After 20 years of operation, including corporate mergers and separations, Veritas found itself with eight websites reflecting inconsistent product taxonomies, absence of mobile support, and too much content that did little more than link to other content — some of which no longer existed.

This accumulated legacy obstructed Veritas’ core mission. So Veritas devised a multi-year strategy to create website functionality to:

  • Allow customers to succeed online with effortless self-service capabilities
  • Use the web to decrease customer effort and increase customers’ collaboration with support engineers when necessary
  • Decrease required effort by technical support engineers
  • Make support a differentiator through best-in-class online experience measured via industry awards

Veritas saw usability, technology, and content as the legs of its three-legged model for meeting business goals.

User research identified top user tasks and top user challenges. So Veritas set design goals for usability:

  • Minimize cognitive load
  • Search centered experience
  • Unified search
  • Simplified and consistent taxonomy
  • Responsive design (mobile)
  • Streamlined case management – easy user interaction
  • Product specific support pages
  • Nearly identical internal site for support engineers, making it easy for technical support engineers to walk customers through the external site

Veritas also consolidated eight sites into four, featuring dramatically simplified digital experiences, shared APIs, and common product UIs.

Fusion: The Beating Heart of Transformation

Commonly requested services — most notably, a search bar — were incorporated into every page, since most users arrive at a Veritas page directly from Google search results, not from the Veritas home page.

And search is where Fusion’s ability to power usability shines: in Veritas’ search results page, which combines the user’s request, related search requests, featured results derived from personalization, complete results sorted by relevance, and signal gathering including user likes for each result. The front end for this Fusion-powered search was customized via Adobe Experience Manager.

Fusion came into play across the entire enterprise and operated at the heart of Veritas’ content environment, according to Kugler. Among the Fusion features that Veritas appreciated the most:

  • Stemming
  • Synonyms
  • Highlighting
  • Exact match – important for internal staff using common phrases
  • Special character handling
  • Signals to aid machine learning
  • Featured results
  • Spelling suggestions

Veritas couldn’t implement Fusion alone: Lucidworks provided special services engagement to Veritas, and educated Veritas’ engineering team to mobilize the transformation.

With usability goals addressed, Veritas addressed content transformation:

  • Separating content types
  • Redistributing 160,000 documents from a single database to multiple repositories
  • Adding metadata to documentation
  • Indexing document subsections, not just the complete document
  • Specializing documentation viewers for browsing and for search
  • Incorporating Knowledge-Centered Service principles into the knowledge base, to offer best-in-class knowledge support
  • Indexing and integrating with Veritas’ user community site

Drastic reduction in case longevity

Looking back at lessons learned from the transformation, Kugler says, “I can’t overemphasize the importance of simplifying taxonomy across user experience.”

What worked well? Kugler says that combining tools, knowledge management, and self-help into the same organization was key. Having shared user and customer experience is another huge benefit, as is balanced metrics that measure business outcomes and drive behavior. Veritas even met its industry validation objective, winning the 2019 Top Web Support Sites award from the Association of Support Professionals for best-in-class online experience.

Going forward, Kugler says, “Constant management is required to avoid old habits” and steer staff to remain loyal to new ways of doing things.

All this customer-empowering and staff-friendly transformation comes at a cost — but with $5 million in savings, and a 30 to 40 percent reduction in case longevity, the transformation appears to be more than paying for itself.

About Mike Airhart

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