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Publications 2.0: Enhancing Customer Experience

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Monday, March 25, 2013

SAMHSA’s publication distribution center maintains more than 1,000 science-based behavioral health publications and ships more than 13,000,000 products annually. The distribution of these publications is central to serving their mission and core audience. Recently, SAMHSA brought together new media technologies to better carry out this service, and their online presence for publications ordering has been transformed into the SAMHSA Store.

Screenshot of SAMHSA’s publications store, available at http://store.samhsa.gov/home

SAMHSA’s publications store
is available at store.samhsa.gov

Taking inspiration from Amazon.com, the SAMHSA Store delivers an engaging web-based “shopping” experience. The store features product categories to help visitors identify products that may interest them, including the 50 most popular products, recently added products, and a selection of featured timely publications.

The product pages (such as this National Suicide Prevention Lifeline magnet page) allow opportunities for shoppers to “Like” or “Tweet” about a given product, display tags to allow visitors to navigate to publications on similar products, and include the product’s intended audience. Each product page also includes a helpful section with both related products and relevant websites for additional information.

Delivering related websites is one way that the SAMHSA Store recognizes that not all products of value are items that can be ordered and shipped. In addition to websites, the site also shares other communication products with visitors, such as downloads, featured hotlines, and a locator for treatment centers. The store was also built with the flexibility to incorporate additional features such as ratings, commenting, and API development.

In more ways than one, the Store demonstrates that SAMHSA understands the needs of their customers and has used emerging technologies to adapt and improve the way those needs are met. SAMHSA is also continuing to improve the Store by soliciting feedback through various channels, including their Twitter Exit Disclaimer and Facebook Exit Disclaimer accounts as an extension of the customer service engagement.

What can your agency do to improve the services delivered to your customers? Where does your agency look for inspiration?

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