Digital transformation that flows

Summary of outcomes

  • The new digital platform has resulted in a 20% reduction in billing contacts.
  • Yorkshire Water now has a detailed playbook that includes ten accessible and inclusive communication and design principles.
  • The wealth of new research data will be used to further improve customer experiences.
  • There has been a significant improvement in the way customers pay their bills, report faults, can ask questions and access the support available for vulnerable or less affluent customers.

The challenge

Designed to tackle the environmental challenges caused by increasing population levels, Ofwat’s new AMP7 regulations have incentivised utility providers to deliver more customer-focused services, affordable bills and increased resiliency in the water network.

Serving millions of customers from diverse communities, Yorkshire Water needed a partner that could help them improve the delivery of their online services and design a new “genuinely customer-centric” digital platform that would reduce the number of inbound calls and ensure customer communications were as inclusive and accessible as possible.

The solution

Using a hybrid team – which included 14 specialists from CDS, four analysts from our SimpleUsability team and eight in-house digital specialists from Yorkshire Water – the project was delivered in three sections: service design, user experience (UX) and then user-interface (UI) design and development.

Our service design recommendations provided valuable insights into Yorkshire Water’s customers, which were validated using a mix of primary user research, persona development, user journey mapping, pattern analysis and experience prototyping

The research underpinned the content strategy and wireframes created by our user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers. We undertook a joint approach to development, testing, planning, and prioritising which ensured the new website went live on time and with more functionality than originally planned.

The result

“We have seen a substantial reduction in billing contacts in the first three months since launching the new website and, importantly, we also have a wealth of new digital data that will help us continue to make customer experiences better and reduce contacts even further."

Andrew Bush
Digital Communications Manager & Product Owner, Yorkshire Water

“During development, accessibility and inclusive design was always a focus. CDS’s knowledge allowed us to make countless small, important decisions and adjustments, with each widening the pool of customers who can use the website without issue.” he continued. 

“CDS’s squad had a great depth of talent, allowing us to deliver a lot in a relatively short period of time. They worked hard, they worked smart, and they made it easy to be confident in the project’s success.”

End-to-end, the project was delivered in just nine months. The new Yorkshire Water digital platform went live on time with more functionality than originally planned and has improved the way Yorkshire Water’s 5 million customers pay their bills, report faults, ask questions and access the support available for vulnerable or less affluent customers.

More importantly, Yorkshire Water has a detailed playbook that includes ten accessible and inclusive communication and design principles that can be used to underpin improvements to their digital services for years to come and sets them up to not just meet, but exceed the objectives set out by Ofwat’s AMP7 regulations.

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Jason

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