Billing digital transformation

A year-long service design project across physical and digital channels
ROLE
Lead Service Design Consultant

People management
Project scoping
Project planning
Stakeholder management
Design management
Writing proposals
Research design
Participative research
Field research
Workshop design
Workshop facilitation
Prototyping and testing
Presenting and documenting work
Implementation support
EMPLOYER
As a solo consultant in partnership with

Isobar is 6,500 people in 85 locations across 45 markets globally, united as one. Our mission is to transform businesses, brands and people's lives with the creative use of digital.

Client

Hungary's leading telecommunications company providing integrated TV, landline, internet and mobile services with more than 10,000 employees to its 5+ million customers

Challenge

Digital bill payment adoption at T-Mobile was below expectations, while stores suffered from low-value transactions, like physical bill payments.

Results
” 20% of bill payment resources can now be used to better serve our customers.”
Zoltán Pereszlényi, Director, Magyar Telekom

The solutions improved adoption at key points of customer journeys reducing costs by 1 million dollars annually:

  1. In-store evangelists approached customers while they were waiting in line at the stores, and had them try online payment on their own devices
  2. Bill notification emails went out for all customers, with a no-password link to online bill payment
  3. Under banked customers were migrated out of stores to pay their bills at newspaper kiosks and post offices.
People

As a Lead Service Designer led a team of five for 3 months, who worked on two competing concepts. The members were T-Mobile's representatives, typically mid-managers from affected departments (eg. digital, billing, treasury, call-centre).

My team was part of a wider initiative, and branched off after the field research and concept generation.

My team for 3 months made up from store agent, IT&S, bill recovery and customer experience representatives.
Process

To tackle the complexity of a large organization, like T-Mobile we designed a participative design process. Participants from 20 departments worked together for a year to develop solutions to the challenge.
Team members took part in:

  • guided ethnographic research,
  • ideation and concepting workshops,
  • prototyping and testing rounds,
  • designed and evaluated pilot projects
  • and led the implementation of the new or improved services.
The team before the team
A cross-department project team made sure we have all the orgainzational knowledge needed in the room.

PHASE 1: From exploring the problem to initial ideas

Inside-out perspective: How does the provider see the service?

We started by going through data readily available in the organization, and by putting the knowledge brought by the different project team embers into formation: an initial inside-out blueprint.

As a result of this first holistic look at the costs and the end-to-end process, the project team proposed a new scope: a greater emphasis on the method of bill payments, instead the initial focus on bill representation (having people sign up for electronic billing). This new gained power of the participants deepened their engagement with the project.

Mapping the customers' end-to-end bill payment flow based on the team's understanding of backend processes that support it.
Interactive sessions to go through the client's existing customer research and data on the cost structure of different bill payment methods.
Outside-in perspective: How do the customers experience the service?
Home visits and contextual inquiries in small teams helped the project team to understand the customer's habits, barriers and attitude around bill payments. The most useful insight were the 'hacks' customers developed.
A project team member presenting what his team learned on the field through an archetype and a customer journey.
Problem definition: How to make the biggest impact benefitting both the customers and the business
We synthesized what we learned at workshops.
Identified digital adoption routes and key barriers.

After going through a best practice landscape and key new tech enablers, the project team ideating on the selected challenges.

PHASE 2: From competing concepts to implementation

I was leading a team developing two of the five competing concepts.

Three teams, five competing concepts

The story of once concept
The idea on a sticky
A rough sketch, the team used to make sure they are on the same page.
A rough business model, business stakeholders could give feedback on.
A customer journey describing how the concept would play out from the customers' perspective.
Key assumptions to test are also mapped on the journey.
Prototyping and testing
Prototype 1: Acting the new service out, with a different concept team as test participants.
Prototype 2: Testing the new service in context. Testing assumptions around customer behaviour.
Prototype 3: Another in-context test. The focus now was more on testing the backend processes and the front-end actions.
Final pilot launched at several locations to see how KPIs perform under volume.
Involving domain experts
Together with a UX designer, the team zoomed in on the digital parts of their concept's customer journey.
Sketched paper prototypes were the means of brainstorming between the project team members and their UX designer.
The team used low-fidelity functional prototypes for user testing.
Documentation
Service Blueprints served as the holder of the holistic service visions.
Every organizational unit involved in the implementation received a copy.
IMPLEMENT
Implementation support
Service Blueprints proved to be a great tool to highlight the gaps in the service rollout.
Particularly the ones that needed cross-department cooperation.
Implementation roadmap for the five new services
Impact check
Followup field research during the large-scale pilot to see if the new services deliver on the expectations.

NEW SERVICES DELIVERED
Store signage directing people to the new bill payment partner's closest location.
CASE STUDY VIDEO
After the project I led the production of the case study video. The interviews with key project stakeholders shed new light on the value of service design.
Personal takeaways

It was interesting to see the power of an emergent organizational unit, like a service design project team. As it wasn't part of the static political landscape, it had the chance to rise above agendas and achieve true collaboration.

Many of the client-side team members became advocates for design thinking inside T-Mobile, and this tribe of ours brought many more exciting projects later on.

How I did in this project?

When we worked together I liked that he was always able to show another angle, a new perspective challenging and improving what we were working on. He was always open for feedback and reflection, and he was really managing his professional progression. He is a multifunctional interaction designer and transformation consultant who is ready to learn incredibly fast and act as a service designer, UX designer, researcher or facilitator.

László Ágoston
Lead Service Designer, Isobar Budapest

Francis was an integral part of the Service design and Innovation team at Isobar Budapest, where we have worked together, and he was my favorite neighbor at our desk. He has deep understanding of both service an UX design, with great personal skills for bringing the user-centered perspective to the decision makers' table. He is eager to share his knowledge and keen on learning from others. He has a bright, open and balanced personality that has always put an ease on our work even when we were under pressure. I think every work place needs a colleague like him.

Judit Boros
Service Designer, Isobar Budapest

Working with Francis is double the fun. First he is a real professional caring every little detail paying maximum attention. Second as a kind person it is always fun to be around with him.

Zoltan Havasi
Head of Strategic Planning

I had the chance to work together with Francis in a service design project dealing with bill handling. He is a very smart and creative person and a pleasure to work with, because his teamspirit is outstanding and uses servicing design tools very effectively in order to find the best solution.

Krisztina Polgár-Podonyi
Decision Support Senior Channel Manager at Magyar Telekom