Improving UPC customer experience with the Total Experience approach 

How Hycom helped UPC reduce number bill-related calls by half using Total Experience design approach 

UPC Poland, owned by Play, a part of the iliad Group, is a converged operator, a leader in digital services, offering modern TV solutions, fiber-based internet and mobile and fixed telephony for individual and business customers. UPC services areused by over  1.5 million customers. There are morethan 3.7 million households within the UPC network, in more than 150 localities in Poland.  

UPC was known for providing tremendous client care, especially in a call center channel. To achieve high class experience regardless of the channel - UPC was to provide high quality digital self-service experience. Thanks to that, customers would be able to address their needs faster and at any time, which would lead to an increase in customers’ satisfaction level and reduction of service cost at the same time. 

New design approach  

In client's perception a company is seen as a whole, not as a set of independent departments, processes or channels. Customers just want things to be done, with as little effort on their side as possible. They do not care about what channel they use at the moment, but they want consistent experience even on every step of their journey.  

The channel becomes servile and is applied and tailored in reference to the customer’s needs. Therefore, it is a must to take this fact into account during the whole design process. It is hard to deliver this consistency and simplicity in customer journey design, because of the complexity of journeys, organizational disconnection of touchpoints and many obstacles they have to deal with.  Moreover, it is problematic for them to define where theys hould start the change and how to apply it. 

To design and deliver reliable multi-experience environment, principles from Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Agile were combined. To succeed, we engaged a widerange of skills on board and created interdisciplinary, open minded, agile team with combined proficiency in telecommunications area with expertise in customer research, design of user and employee experience, along with high IT skills. To catch the experience from customer perspective and define most critical micro-journeys, the whole customer’s journey was synthetized. By creating a high level, customer journey map, we were able to get a big picture of customer experience across all touchpoints and abstract crucial pain points. 

Being in constant touch with customers to verify design hypothesis  

The key to making informed decisionsis to have access to the right data. Therefore, during each phase of the project and for each channel separately, the team performed a number of research activities. Those helped to set the priorities, operational goals and directions correctly and to validate the ideas for designed solutions. Constant user research panel was brought to life to reach end-users when needed which greatly reduced uncertainty in the process at early stages of design work. 

Omnichannel perspective in solutions design  

Addressing all customer’s pain points at once is a big challenge – therefore, it is crucial to isolate key are as where the changes will start to be applied. During our analysis, we discovered that: 

  • At that time almost #1 reason of calls, received by UPC’s call center, referred to questions about payments and billing.  

  • Many payments were not settled in time which led to warnings of temporary service cut-off which led to customers’ stressful payment motivation  

  • The call center was solving problems of customers which roots originated in different touchpoints – emails, invoices, and self-service application. 

Therefore, basing on the insights, UPC decided to focus on billing and payments step in customer journey. As itoccurred to be the most urgent to improve and digitize. In consequence we narrowed down our work to: 

  • Discover main reasons why customers had difficulties understanding the bill and conducting the payment.  

  • Design and implement solutions to remove those obstacles in critical touchpoints for this journey looking at them as one multi-experience interconnected environment: self-service application, email, SMS, invoice and customer service support. 

Solving problems in complex multi-touchpoint environment  

Based on the qualitative research and knowledge from web analytics, the team understood that most UPC customers had used Moje UPC (self-service portal) to check their payments status and last bills. So, building a new, self-service environment was started around the topic of explaining the expenses and conducting seamless payment. The minimum, viable product (MVP) of the new self-service portal was focused on three customer motivations. The first one was preventing the customer from service cut-off by showing the current situation – if they have any overdue payments, which may lead to problems. The second one was to provide clear confirmation that the payment was successful and booked in company systems so they wouldn’t have to double-check in call center. The third was to make sure the amount they are paying for services is right – to help customers to quickly understand what the components of the bill are.

To achieve these goals team priorities and focus were aligned around problem-solving, not feature-building approach. Build-measure-learn loop was used to test the design hypotheses and iterate a potential solution to limit the risk of building the wrong things. Dozens of prototypes of self-service application, invoices, and email communication were examined with customers. To provide the most consistent experience for customers all elements of design were aligned regardless the touchpoint. For example bill explanation was identical on invoice and within self-service application. The details and explanation of the bill on invoice could be expanded within self-service application and easily accessed using QR-code. The designed prototype of the solution was tested with customers with qualitative and quantitative tools. Quantitative tests with use of Qualtrics™ tools showed, that redesigned invoice would have reduced number of calls to the contact centre for explanation by approx. 30%.

Improving customer and employee experience in contact center

Providing a multi-experience is strictly connected with the approach that customers should receive support fast and on the channel they prefer. UPC is known from high quality of customer support and that their consultants, who work in call center and points of sale, are highly qualified and dedicated to their work. One of the major obstacles they had to deal with was the fragmented application environment, which forced them to switch between many windows and browsers during each call or meeting. In the effect, the time of conversation became longer, and the whole communication got more difficult. The team’s aspiration was to:

  • reduce the effort of consultants by creating a system which would be easy to use, intuitive and provides all necessary information at hand,

  • increase customer satisfaction,

  • decrease service costs, thanks to fast and complete support.

Based on detailed research, the team designed prototype of digital system for consultants following design thinking and co-creation approach. The system was supposed to provide all necessary information about a client and assistance and step-by-step guidance in solving most common cases. For UPC’s customers combining those two approaches would deliver a better experience and save time.

Results and conclusions

As a result of all taken actions UPC has noticed significant results:

  • Decreased number of calls to the Call Center in reference to payments by 10 pp in the course of two years. This significant since bill related calls amount for substantial chunk of call center traffic

  • Call ratio of bill related calls (measured as % of interactions in self-care followed by a call to call center within 24h since a visit) dropped by half.

This shows that customers more often decided to use self-service channel to check the information they needed and were satisfied with quality and transparent presentation of the information.

If you're interested in similar implementation in your company or have some questions, contact us!