How did you ensure launching the new platform was a coordinated and planned approach?
We established a Mission Control group to manage the transition period and we were able to return to the office in small numbers just at the same time we started to invite members to register.
We knew it was a critical part of the project plan to get members to register on our new portal, you really only have one chance. Their first experience has to be great, otherwise we can lose future engagement. I explained last time how we batched up the invitations to register to small, targeted groups initially before ramping up. At the end of each day, we could go through and understand what did and didn't work.
For example, very early on a small number of members on older Android devices were having difficulty with the verification code. We were able to use our analytics and narrow it down to a specific model and browser. So very quickly we could tell our call centre, look, “if someone says this not working, ask them. Are they on Samsung with this version? In that case, we know how to fix it”. This then gave us time to test and release a fix.
Mission Control had oversight of every aspect of go-live and this team, together with multiple dry runs in the weeks before go-live led to a very smooth transition and successful launch of our new system.
The size of our membership means it is vital that we plan our resources to match the needs of our membership.
A key design principle was to build in reporting tools from day one. We can use this to forecast future demands, track SLAs, provide management information as well give insight into ways we can improve our member journeys.
Improving user journeys
The simplest one, - the one we've got the most data on - is the registration process. We had a four-step registration process, and we could see that we had a small percentage not getting from stage two to stage three - they were just giving up. When we used Google Analytics, we were able to identify that the issue was with an Android operating system.
Next, we’re looking at the retirement journey and how easily a member can work through our options at retirement, which include the option to look at pension increase exchange. We have built in the option to give instant feedback as well as call our call centre to quickly speak to someone.
Every journey is mapped and we will be looking at all of them on a regular basis to see what we can improve. This is managed by our operational excellence team who manage our continuous improvement process across the business.
We've got a number of survey and feedback tools.
When a member has stopped their journey, we send them a simple survey to find out whether they’d achieved everything they’d wanted to do. We ask them questions like: What were you trying to do? Were you trying to do a transfer? Were you trying to do a retirement quote? Or trying to update your bank account?
We've got an extensive suite of KPIs unique to BTPS. Some are linked to the feedback scores that we get from each member. As an example, we track the percentage of journeys completed digitally. The target isn't 100% - because we know that there are a number of journeys where the right solution is not to do it online, the right solution is to speak to somebody. We also introduced member effort as a KPI across both digital and offline journeys.
For example, when you've had a death, the last thing you want to do is figure out how to register on someone else's website and fill in a PDF. You want to speak to someone with empathy on the end of the phone, who knows the situation and can help you go through that paperwork.
External support - how did you get this done?
We had a team of different partners who were able to supplement the skills and experience that we already had.
The software provider, Procentia, were critical and we had a dedicated team allocated to us. We also worked with digital journey experts, Landscape who helped design the portal and carried out the member research that came up with the 18 personas for the different types of members.
We want to be self-sufficient as much as possible. It was very important that key knowledge didn’t leave when people finished the project, so we allowed time for a proper knowledge handover.
AI / Biometrics
Going forward, we're looking at smart AI, voice recognition ability, Robotic Process Automation, machine learning and so on.
It is continuous improvement from here – very exciting!
You need to look at the skills you have within your existing teams. You need to be brave enough to say our own people either don't have the time, capacity or skills - and therefore you will need to bring in some extra people. It's identifying skills gaps. So, where we didn't have any website designers, we used external agencies.
I think one of the key things we did was around taking people out of the business to help design the new system. What we didn't want to do is ask them to do their day job and help on the project. We actually planned for them to be 100% out of the business, and we put in extra staff to cover them so that they could be 100% devoted to the project. That made a huge difference in the end and meant we could deliver business as usual and the project in parallel.
Finally, allowing enough time for testing, testing and more testing is vital!
How we can help
We hope you enjoyed our blog series with Roger Higgins, Head of Member Services Technology at BT Pension Scheme.
We have numerous years’ experience helping firms transform the digital experience for their customers.
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