Product strategy: year 1 update

Our progress and what we’ve learned so far

Product strategy: year 1 update
  1. Radically improve our ability to measure outcomes
  2. Enable a seamless client journey
  3. Validate our tailored, tactical advice strategy
  4. Transform our phone, webchat, email, and video (‘remote advice’) platforms

The role of product in Citizens Advice is growing

This year we’ve added 3 new product teams to the function; we now have 10. The new teams are: client referrals, contact centre platforms, and local Citizens Advice data management. These new teams were each set up to align with a workstream in the strategy, to tackle service-wide problems with a product-led approach.

We’re developing the team too

The product strategy has brought clarity and purpose to our work, which product people tell us is really important to their sense of achievement and to understanding how their work contributes to the ‘bigger picture’ at Citizens Advice. That’s great in itself, and we’ve added to that with some specific activities:

Design Sprint series with UK Black Tech

We’re making progress against each of our workstreams

Progress on workstream 1: Radically improve our ability to measure outcomes

This workstream is distinct from the other 3 in that it’s targeted at cultural change and evolving our ways of working. The goal for this year was to establish an outcomes-based way of working that allows us to quantify the value that product teams are delivering, and to inform decisions about future work — we did this in 3 ways.

Introduction to an outcomes-based approach for Product — explainer video
Creating the Casebook outcomes-based roadmap — explainer video

Progress on workstream 2: Enable a seamless client journey

In this workstream we’ve focused on tackling the biggest and most common pain point in the current user journey: when a client is referred to/from a local Citizens Advice office to another service, such as a Law Centre or branch of Shelter. Partnership working is increasingly important within the voluntary sector as a way of meeting complex sets of client needs, and many funders now require organisations to work together as part of holistic service delivery contracts.

Progress on workstream 3: Validate ‘tailored, tactical advice’ strategy

In this workstream the majority of our effort has been towards migrating 10,000 pages of content to our new content platform, and rebuilding our public facing website, our advisor facing website, our intranet (used by national and local staff), and our corporate website.

  • Moving from unstructured content to structured content served by a content API. This radically changes how our content design team create, manage, update, and publish content and we’ve been iterating and improving the publishing experience to make this as easy as possible.
  • Moving from a full stack content management system to a headless content management system, based on Contentful
  • Creating our design system — a set of reusable tools, components, and design patterns that can be applied and reused across all our digital products, with web accessibility built. We’re really proud that our most recent external accessibility audit resulted in a 100% pass rate against the WCAG 2.1 standard
  1. Partnering with Twitter U.K. on a prompt feature to help people who might have been scammed and are searching for help
Twitter Scams prompt

Progress on workstream 4: Transform our remote advice platforms

This workstream has been dominated by our largest and most ambitious programme of work: Remote Advice Platforms. This team has the challenge of modernising our phone services, which take around 3 million calls per year. This work is jointly led with our Operations colleagues, as the work entails not only re-platforming our contact centre technology but also radical changes to our operating model and the skills needed to run a modern service.

  • defining 6 core qualities for the new contact platform in consultation with our local offices, advisers, and national teams: interoperable, flexible, scalable, reliable, accessible, and affordable
  • completing a complex and intensive procurement process to select our contact centre platform technology and support services, including the change management capacity needed to migrate to the new platform from our existing
  • designing the operating model and staffing profile to support a new way of working, including a permanent in-house product team and the operational staff to deliver, iterate, and support phone services in the long term

So what’s next?

Now that we’re through the ‘adoption phase’ we’re thinking about what it means to move into full operationalisation of the strategy. As Citizens Advice undergoes further change, we know that Product has a key role to play in strategy and transformation. This is particularly true with the need to meet the growing demand for advice services — which are all underpinned by the need for case management, data products, contact centre technologies, and advice content delivery.

Workstream 1

  • Iterate our outcomes frameworks, having tested them in earnest
  • Connect product outcomes to our developing organisational strategy
  • Bring data from other channels into our data platform to give us a more mature view of the client journey as well as enabling product teams to self-serve more freely

Workstream 2

  • Build the outward referrals flow to be ready to begin pilot
  • Begin research into opportunities and challenges around internal referrals (referrals between different Citizens Advice services and local offices)
  • Consider the potential of community referrals; facilitating referrals between organisations outside of the Citizens Advice network
  • Start replacing the separate case management system that supports the Consumer Service, with the intent of joining up our client data

Workstream 3

  • Complete the migration of advice content
  • Experiment with the capabilities of new content platform, particularly in enabling self-service for clients
  • Deliver new tailored advice tools, such as decision trees, for priority areas

Workstream 4

  • Build out the new contact centre platform on Amazon Connect, including all operational workflows, eg interaction voice recognition and call flows
  • Migrate all existing Citizens Advice phone services to the new platform
  • Explore the potential to connect our new contact centre platform with other products such as case management (Casebook) and knowledge management (AdviserNet)

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Head of Product @CitizensAdvice . Passion for equitable tech. Ex @CDS_GC @Justice_Digital . Board @LocalWelcome . Fellow @CloreSocial 🏳️‍🌈

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Kylie Havelock

Head of Product @CitizensAdvice . Passion for equitable tech. Ex @CDS_GC @Justice_Digital . Board @LocalWelcome . Fellow @CloreSocial 🏳️‍🌈