March 22 – October 12, 2018 (7 months)
Are you ready?
Every day, AT&T rolls thousands of trucks to businesses that have ordered an installation of some kind. Of those truck rolls, something like 20% of those installations fail to complete, costing AT&T billions of dollars per year.
AT&T retained the services of Boston Consulting Group to conduct extensive research into their business and technology spaces and recommended incubator-type projects that it could execute outside of the AT&T ecosystem to quickly discover if the products would be successful. Once the list of opportunities was whittled down, three projekt202-ers (2 designers, 1 developer) — along with more than a hundred other contractors — joined forces with BCG to build out some of these products.
Let’s put this failboat in dry dock
The main product I worked on was called Appointment Manager. Its goal was to significantly reduce that 20% installation failure rate. Before I began, the product manager conducted interviews with AT&T technicians to discover the pain points that they were encountering when arriving at a job site. There were a lot of simple issues, like the customer forgetting that they had an appointment, so they weren’t in the office. Then there were more complicated issues, like the physical unpreparedness of the building to receive the installation — locked utility rooms, running wire between floors, etc.
The idea that the team came up with was to create a web app that customers would use to make sure they were ready for their appointment. It would ask them to confirm some information about the order, verify that the contact information the technician had was accurate, and that the building was physically ready for the installation. This was all based off a workflow that AT&T was (rather unsuccessfully) doing over email at the time.
We built the first version of the product and piloted it with a handful of AT&T customers. The overall flow was well-received, though they did ask for less technical language to be used in the questions around the physical readiness of the building.
Because this project was not being run by projekt202, it was unclear if we would be able to do any proper validation testing. Gratefully, we had a user experience ally on the team who was able to secure budget and time for me to run the validation tests. This was an eye-opening week for the team, as we discovered that there were some significant problems with the email invitation that was being sent to users. No one had been looking at that, and in fact it had been crafted independent of our core team. In an effort to encourage click-through above all else, the copywriter had severely downplayed the time commitment and nature of the Appointment Manager. The email used words like “confirm” and “verify,” and claimed the process would only take “a few minutes.” When asked what they thought would happen next after clicking the call to action button in the email, participant after participant described an almost zero-effort experience. The reality that I then walked them through stood in stark contrast to that, presenting a survey-like experience of 13 questions — some of them quite technical in nature. Customers expressed that they felt decieved by the email.
As a result of the validation, we were able to rewrite the invitation email to help the customer better understand what was being asked of them and why it was so important. We were also able to eventually work with AT&T to reduce the number of questions and simplify the language on the remaining questions. Follow-up validation was recommended to make sure we correctly addressed all the initial validation insights.
At the time of my departure, Appointment Manager was making a difference in reducing the number of failed installations. It remains to be seen if this trend continues as it is rolled out more broadly.