SSE is one of the "Big 6" energy companies in the UK, and is constantly looking for new ways to retain customers and improve efficiencies.
EY had set up a couple of Continuous Improvement labs at SSE, each focused on a particular process customers needed to go through, with the goal of decreasing efficiencies and increasing revenue.
Although these labs were good at identifying efficiencies, they didn't use customer research or account potential impact on the customer experience.
The goal was to bring a customer centred approach to their existing labs, to identify new opportunities for efficiencies and also decrease the negative impact of any changes.
The first lab was focused on replacing non-smart electricity meters when out of warranty.
Bringing in user research
I was keen to bring user research into the process at the outset, so we began the project going to with engineers as they went to properties to replace electricity meters. This was a change to observe the experience the the engineers perspective, and also to interview customers in their homes about the experience they've had in preparing for and having this appointment.
We also spent a few days with call centre and the bookings teams listening to calls and observing how they worked, sop we could understand the challenges they face as well.
We also used complaints data to understand common issues that arose during this experience.
Using this insight, we built personas, journeys and a log of common issues.
The hot house
Armed with the insights we'd gathered, we ran a two day workshop called the Hot House, with 40 people from the various teams and offices across the country that are involved in this experience, including back office staff, engineers and directors.
Over two days we presented our findings, refined the journeys and developed a wide range of possible fixes and solutions.
Having all the stakeholders in one place, and sharing work openly broke down a lot o barriers between the teams, and also helped us get to know them so when we were trying solutions we knew who to go to.
Iterate, test and embed
Test and retest
To make sure we kept all solutions had time to be tested, we ran weekly lab testing sessions, where we could test ideas and paper prototypes to rapidly iterate ideas.
By the end of the 3 month programme, we had implemented a range of changes, with savings of £1.3M, with 6 month road map for further £3.5M.
Through the gates
The existing process has a series of gates that ideas need to go through a series of gates to make sure they pass particular criteria, such as amount of money saved, that the right stakeholders have been included etc.
To ensure the customer is always part of the approach, we added criteria identified from our research as being important to customers, and also added customer testing to the gates to make sure they were all held accountable to testing.
Building these customer factors into their existing gate process was key to making sure that the processes worked together.