Evolving customer digital self-service

  • 2021

  • Design Research

Commissioned By:

Yarra Valley Water

Designed In:


Customer self-service is a critical element for a seamless customer experience. This mixed methods research revealed the qualitative and quantitative properties necessary for the successful design of Yarra Valley Water’s new self-service portal, My Account.

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  • Our existing customer self-service portal has approximately 27, 000 registered customers. An efficient and easy to use digital self-service is a critical component of customers' digital experience with us for supporting completion of personalised self-service account management. However, a usability evaluation revealed that our customer self-service portal was under-performing and not meeting customer expectations or needs. It revealed a customer experience where at least one in four people were unable to complete basic tasks using self-service. The business sought a re-design of the portal that would both uplift usability and increase uptake of self-service.

  • The research was planned to deliver three outcomes: evaluate usability, determine the drivers of value for customers, and test the usability of the new self-service experience. To fulfill this, nine research methods were applied. Rather than collect and analyse data in stages, one method at a time, our approach was to have all methods in field concurrently so that emergent findings could be adopted into design iterations. The result is an evidence-based, customer validated design that is now being built for customers.

  • Once released, the re-designed digital self-service portal will enable more customers to complete more tasks via self-service, especially those related to account management and inquiries related to water use. This has operational benefits for reducing calls to the contact centre, for improving overall customer satisfaction, and for supporting delivering a seamless omni-channel service experience.

  • Customers expect digital experiences to behave in similar ways. Base-lining the usability of our existing customer self-service portal revealed its under-performance for addressing standard usability principles. The usability evaluation showed a portal that was outmoded and lagging other digital self-service that customers interact with. Our research remit was two-fold: inform UX uplift and determine the value drivers that will deliver greater benefit to customers. Our evaluation of current state usability plus the usability testing during re-design, provided insights for achieving UX uplift commensurate with current best practice. The self-service user archetypes, customer value proposition and jobs-to-be-done hierarchy provided previously unknown insight into customers unmet needs and desires. These were critical for directing our design solution to evolve digital self-service for our customers beyond just a straight-forward UX uplift.