Global consumer-technology business

Identifying and implementing a clear path for future customer self-service automation

Global consumer-technology business Image

The global consumer-technology brand client needed a self-service channel for customers to return faulty goods. With Engine Service Design's help, they formalised the RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) process, integrated troubleshooting, and established mechanisms to detect fraudulent activity, significantly improving the customer experience.

The Challenge

Our client, a global consumer-technology brand, needed a self-serve channel for customers wanting to return faulty goods; to request and receive RMAs (return merchandise authorisation). Their service used phone and email to respond to customers’ exchange and refund requests, which required extensive employee input and time. Also, customers had to wait for a response.


In designing a self-service experience for customers, we needed to consider the quasi-industry of RMA fraudsters that attempt to get new goods from companies, including our client, they are not entitled to. Human customer support agents are adept at spotting concerning behaviour. So the question became, how could we replicate some of this within a self-service customer flow while ensuring honest customers aren’t made to feel suspected?

The Outcome

Our client has a large portfolio of consumer hardware, each with its troubleshooting steps to determine whether a device is faulty. It was decided to initially focus on the category with the highest number of RMA requests as this was where Engine Service Design could deliver the biggest impact.


Amongst other outcomes, we formalised the RMA process and laid the groundwork for further development on chatbot flows. We integrated troubleshooting into the process, encouraging users to find solutions to common issues independently. We also established a system to capture details of customers suspected of fraudulent activity.

Identifying the best course of action

Our client knew they did not have the in-house expertise to create the outcomes they wanted:

“We are heading into an important inflection point in our business where services are of growing importance for our typically hardware-centred business. We knew we didn’t have the experience or capability to tackle this on our own so we went looking for a partner who understood us and that we felt we could work with for the long term. We chose Engine.”

Having identified the teams within and outside the client’s organisation, we needed to work with customer service agents, the customer experience team, IT, the customer support platform, and the customer support automation platform provider – we were able to discuss options and best practices that would suit the business as a whole. We decided to focus on the support chatbot for the self-serve channel.

“We came into the engagement knowing we didn’t know much, and we were surprised how much we didn’t know and were able to learn so quickly.”Designing for success

With the client’s objectives and key results for the project in mind, we could then work through the business logic and design sub-flows and verbiage that would handle as many situations as possible within the bot. We updated troubleshooting flows for selected issue types and were able to identify and design the critical points within the journey that could help reveal a fraud risk.

“The kind of company we want onside when we want to make practical progress.”

Adding value

We created a ‘golden path’ for a fast-tracked and self-service RMA experience that considered our client’s values, ethos and business rules. Because the return shipping experience was a key element in this process, we designed around it to ensure the project’s success.

“Approachable. Sympathetic to the different views within the business.”

The process took three months, and at the end of the project, we handed over a requirements document to our client’s IT team. We continue collaborating on this and are thrilled to carry on this exciting journey with them.

“Engine are the kind of people we can work with.”
Our client can now see a clear path for future automation of self-serve channels in other areas too.



“Engine delivered significant value from the first piece of work and made it easy for me to introduce them to other areas of our business.”


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