https://identityassurance.blog.gov.uk/2017/03/30/how-our-certified-companies-support-users-to-verify/

How our certified companies support users to verify

Call centre employee
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution Alan Clark

For a service to meet its user needs, user support is essential. Certified companies’ user support teams tend to be the primary point of contact for people when they need help using GOV.UK Verify. They also act as a channel to provide continuous and valuable feedback to the rest of their certified company, which in turn helps to improve their service.

At GOV.UK Verify, we’re committed to ensuring that our users receive comprehensive support when verifying their identity. This blog post is about how we’ve carried out observational research and interviews with our certified companies to better understand how they conduct user support to continually meet user needs.

What we did

We visited certified company support centres, and interviewed their staff to get a greater understanding of how they provide user support. We looked at everything from the training they provide to support workers, to common issues that arise from users and how they feed back what they find to the rest of their organisation. We also shadowed support workers who were supporting users trying to verify, both on the phone and on webchat.

What we found

One method that certified companies use to confirm someone’s identity is to ask knowledge based verification (KBV) questions. A KBV question is designed so that only the genuine person would know the answer to it. However, for those users unfamiliar with KBVs, this method can sometimes be challenging or confusing. At this point in their Verify journey, users may want to know more about why they are being asked these questions. User support plays a vital role in meeting these user needs.

Support workers are highly skilled and well trained. During our interviews, they talked us through their understanding of varied communication styles and methods to ensure user satisfaction.

Illustration of the GOV.UK Verify journey
Illustration of the GOV.UK Verify journey

As you can see from the Verify user journey pictured above, the time users are most likely to contact certified company support workers is when they are verifying their identity with the company. During our visits, we found that support workers’ knowledge isn’t limited to just their part of the user journey. Instead, they understand the user’s whole end-to-end experience, and that each service has different journeys, depending on how they’re designed. This means that users can get a seamless experience and get support with Verify as a whole, rather than go to various different channels at different parts of the journey to get help.

Support workers are also tech-savvy. On top of being knowledgeable about user journeys, they can troubleshoot issues users may be having with the technology they’re using, such as their devices or browsers, when accessing Verify. This enables them to maintain a feedback loop with the certified company’s service developers, to ensure they are aware of any temporary outages or external issues that could be affecting the user experience.

This means that support workers are also adaptable to change. They continuously train and keep informed of updates and improvements to the user journey, to enable them to continue supporting our users.

What we delivered

Visiting support centres proved to be an important continuation of working together with certified companies to put users first. This is one of the many ways we have engaged with certified companies to better understand each other’s ways of working, to help ensure we work together in the most effective way possible.

Our insights from this research will allow us to give recommendations to our connected services so that user support across all parts of the user journey is delivered in a consistent and effective way. This ultimately leads to a better user experience as we continually improve GOV.UK Verify in response to feedback.

To keep up to date with our progress, subscribe to the blog.