Business Stream – reducing the cost to serve
Employer: Whitespace | Role: Lead UX Designer | www.business-stream.com
Whitespace planned, designed, and built the previous two Business Stream websites, and in 2017 it was time to start planning the latest iteration – this time with the thought of reducing the cost to serve at the forefront.
Objectives + goals
The website transformation project set out to improve the architecture, design, tooling and functionality of the site in order to benefit the user's experience. This was to be achieved by streamlining customer journeys and the overall business, by driving customers and new business through the sales funnel quickly and efficiently, reducing inbound contact and improving self-service capability. In light of the water market opening in England in April 2017, it was important that the site was able to meet the needs of new customers as well as existing customers. The site was to focus on functioning as a sales tool, switching the focus from primarily servicing customers to retaining the market share in Scotland and acquiring new customers in England.
Business Stream initiated their own research internally and externally and found that customers wanted to easily understand all their water and waste water options. Internally, the site was to continue being a reference resource for the customers service team, assisting the team with problem solving. Ultimately the goal was to reduce the amount of inbound calls and online enquiries for information which could be served easily to users on the website.
This redevelopment was to include a responsive site which was a first for Business Stream, and therefore it was essential that this followed the logical flow of information which would be applied to the desktop site.
Business Stream have a complex B2B service offering, they serve all sizes of businesses from independent sole traders to companies with 500+ employees and multiple locations. With such a service offering comes a wide range of audiences potentially visiting the site – inexperienced and unknowing users along with experienced, knowledgable users whose job it is to solely deal with this topic.
Initially I completed a lengthy content audit of over 3,000 pages and out of this produced a content consolidation task for the client. Ensuring familiarity with the existing content and tools, I methodically and purposefully approached the planning of the hierarchy within the information architecture.
The old site structure was complex, clunky and unintuitive. A significant part serving the right content to the right people at the right time is putting it in the right place which is underpinned by a strong site structure. I proposed an initial site structure and subsequent iterations based upon findings from thorough tree testing. One point of feedback which regularly occurred during testing was that users often couldn't find the right first click to take them to the information which was relevant to them and their business. We found that limiting the navigation on the homepage to three options allowed users to have a clear path and filter to the correct information without the frustration of taking the wrong path.
I extensively wireframed the various content page types, complex tools and calculators found throughout the site. Included in the objective of reducing the cost to serve was providing intelligent calculators for users to get accurate information relevant to their business requirements. These calculators required that I compose numerous spreadsheets detailing the calculations to be used by the developers based on the information provided by Business Stream - a slightly daunting task to say the least! First click and eye-tracking user testing was completed with a cross section of real users including SMEs, CFOs and internal teams who regularly used the site from Business Stream.
Understanding the complicated bills was another compelling concern for users. I created an interactive tool which allowed for bill examples to be uploaded via the CMS by the client and hit areas included as overlays. Clicking on these overlays expanded drop down areas next to the bill which revealed more in-depth information. For responsive bill viewing the individual bill parts were listed, along with supporting images, and the in-depth information shown below – this ensured that on-the-go customers were able to quickly find information too.
The design of the site compliments the simplified site structure and allows a fuss-free journey for users throughout. Both mobile and desktop users have taken time to reach out and praise the new website. The Client themselves had a great part to play in the streamlining of the new site too - making sure the content contained less jargon and gave just the right amount of information so as not to confuse.
Having worked closely with the development team and directly with the client themselves alongside account management, this site took around ten months to plan, research, design and build - and just in time for the opening of the English water market too.
At the time, it was the largest web build I had lead UX Research and Design for, which allowed me to gain confidence, skills and experience in dealing with not only complex tools but with senior members of the development and design team who passed on their wisdom along the way too.
Please note, I am hoping to receive some stats from the site to support the development work in the near future.