Using a service design approach we helped TELUS create and test an improved onboarding experience for their customers.
TELUS is one of Canada’s largest telecommunications companies, providing home phone, mobile, internet, and TV solutions across the country. In September 2015, their Customer Experience Management team kicked off an ambitious initiative to improve the onboarding experience for customers in Alberta and British Columbia—regions with both optical fibre and legacy copper-based infrastructure.
We conducted interviews, facilitated workshops, and created a series of prototypes which were validated in usability testing. This service design approach and its outputs helped TELUS make a business case for their customer experience project.
A service design approach would look at the onboarding experience holisitically, considering both employees and customers.
Internal silos were affecting the customer and employee experience.
TELUS employees had little insight into other teams, their processes, what they did, and what influence this had on their own work.
Customers didn’t know what to expect.
This confusion led to a higher volume of support calls from frustrated customers. For example, agents placing orders didn’t have enough information to help customers know what issues, decisions, or costs might come up during the installation process.
Customers were overloaded with information.
There was a lot of information to take in during the onboarding process, and retaining it all was challenging. This included things like comparing vendors, cost, download speed, process, and timeline. People needed to know what to expect without being overwhelmed by the volume of information.
Putting it into practice
Bring cross-functional teams together.
Before we could delve into improving the service, we needed to establish a shared understanding across the siloed teams. We brought together groups that otherwise have little contact—call centre, retail, technical, digital, direct to consumer, and door-to-door—to help them learn how other teams work.
Explore past, present, and possible future states.
We facilitated a series of workshops with TELUS employees, including Future Backwards and Hopes & Fears. These workshops yielded fresh insights and gave employees an opportunity to explore their individual and collective aspirations, concerns, and entrained patterns.
Go into the field.
We interviewed staff, went for ride-alongs with technicians, listened-in at the call centre, and went on sales visits with direct-to-consumer agents. We also interviewed customers in their homes. By working with TELUS customers and staff we learned what it’s like to order, wait for, and have home solutions installed.
Examine the highs and lows of the customer journey.
We produced a journey map to visualize the onboarding experience. This map helped TELUS understand where they contributed to the customer experience, where they delivered on their promise, and where there were opportunities to improve.
Work with stakeholders to explore solutions.
We facilitated co-design workshops with TELUS staff. Together we explored how to improve—and in some cases reimagine—the service experience. We then designed and developed prototypes.
Test with real customers.
Using findings from workshops and interviews we created prototypes to make the onboarding processes smoother. These prototypes addressed the low points in the customer experience by making package recommendations, letting customers choose an installation date, schedule reminders, and get quotes for their new service and its installation. We then tested them on real customers and technicians.
Why a service design approach is valuable for organizations wanting to create better service experiences
Employees contributed to the creation of solutions.
To truly improve the onboarding experience for TELUS customers we had to improve the onboarding experience for staff. Involving staff helped establish a shared understanding across the organization and empowered employees to co-create solutions using their experience.
TELUS had an opportunity to learn, iterate, and improve before making changes to their service.
Armed with the data from the usability testing, the Customer Experience Management team were able to present leadership at TELUS with recommendations that were validated by staff and customer needs. Prototyping eliminated risk and increased confidence for TELUS as they decided on where to focus their efforts in the next phase of their service design project.
Increased capacity and diffused service design within TELUS.
TELUS saw the value of a service design approach and had their own internal service design team in place before starting this project. Our work complimented their efforts to establish a design mindset by applying these methods to more projects. By working with a partner more people within the organization were exposed to human-centred, iterative ways of creating knowledge.
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