The importance of naming services after user goals

Andy Ireland
Dec 23, 2020 · 3 min read

Andy Ireland from our Service Design team explains the importance of naming services after defined user goals.

Despite Service Design being fairly new to BT Design, we’re already making great strides in showing the benefits accurately naming the services we offer customers. Here’s how we do it.

The first step is to define what a service is. In BT Consumer Digital we worked together to form the following definition:

Service: Everything we do to help users meet their goal.

Why do this?

We wanted a high-level understanding of our many user journeys and services. With a lot of squads working on similar journeys, we want to avoid duplication of effort and disjointed experiences that could significantly affect users.

With a shared high level view of our journeys and user goals we can more successfully collaborate on designing changes.

So with our user goals identified, the next step is to use these to name our services. But why is this important?

By naming your services around user goals it helps:

  1. Users find your service — and helps them understand what that service does.
  2. The business and teams focus on helping our users achieve their goals.
  3. Product Owners align metrics and measurements with what users are trying to achieve.
  4. Identify design patterns that are used so that we can design for consistency and efficiency.

How are we doing this?

Our Service Design team collects a high level view of how customers experience end-to-end journeys by:

  1. Encouraging collaboration between teams and business units to form a shared understanding of our user needs.
  2. Joining up the dots between the digital teams and the real world. Helping teams zoom out from the detail of day-to-day delivery to see things from a customer’s perspective.
  3. Spotting the gaps where we know less about our users. This helps us learn more about our users’ unmet needs and helps identify opportunities to innovate.

Once we have this view, we’re able to define and name our services.

Again, working collaboratively with the digital squads and the identified user needs, we can begin to use the ‘5 Whys’ technique to identify what our customers are trying to achieve.

We first tried our naming services technique with the billing and payments area of the EE website. The process we followed was to:

  1. Gather a list of squad responsibilities and items our squads work on, for example the ‘Top Up’ service.
  2. Split these items into user goals; eg ‘top up my phone’.
  3. Create categories for similar needs and name them; eg ‘Payments’.
  4. Run the ‘5 Whys’ technique on the category name to ensure it’s named in a way a user would understand it, eg ‘Make a payment’.

From 100+ squad responsibilities and user needs, we were able identify five key services within billing and payments:

  1. Update my payment preferences
  2. Make a payment
  3. Check my current usage
  4. Check my spend
  5. Query my usage or spend

Within these are many user needs — for example, within ‘Make a payment’, we have many journeys and needs such as ‘Top Up’, pay a bill, and so on.

What does this allow us to do?

Now we can take a holistic view of user needs and pain points to create the most value for our customers.

Having this holistic view allows us to identify our user goals, connect the dots internally and improve our future collaboration.

What are our next steps?

We’re going to hold sessions to map out a whole service with the teams related to billing and payments and establish a community around these user goals. This will help people gain a shared understanding of the problems for users and find the next steps to improve the service.

We’re continuing our journey into embedding Service Design into BT, so please comment below if you have any insights.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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