The Power of Simple: a UX case study of how we made joining Cuckoo simple

Tommy Toner
Jul 30, 2020 · 9 min read

As the new kid on the block, we have a lot to prove. Broadband can be complex, intimidating and often painful.

It’s 3 months since we published our brand story. Since then, we’ve been busy launching the website, switched over our first customers, built the billing engine and gave one lucky person free broadband for a year.

This is a case study of how we made joining Cuckoo simple.

Image for post
Image for post

But first, our Manifesto

A reminder of what we stand for and why we’re all here.

Broadband is broken.
Terrible service, complex deals, sky-rocketing prices — it’s a long list.
And to top it all off, we’re forced to haggle for a new deal every year or risk paying extra. Which is why we’re doing it differently.
And finally putting customers first.
Not just by giving them amazing service, but by making broadband simple.
With one great speed, at one low price, on a one-month rolling contract.
So customers never have to switch again, because they’ll always be on the best deal.
Even better, 1% of each bill helps us spread the awesome power of the internet to where it’s needed most, like conflict zones, natural disaster sites and developing communities.

We’re called Cuckoo.

And we’re making broadband simple. For good.

Image for post
Image for post
Some of the crew (missing Tabatha) outside Cuckoo HQ (July 20). I didn’t get the wear dark memo.

The way customers interact with brands is changing

Traditionally, you’d have very little engagement with utility providers — unless something goes wrong. This is changing. People expect more.

Image for post
Image for post
The 1-star review which led us to update our messaging

For example, we received a 1-star review because someone felt our copy was misleading. So although we were confident that what we said was correct, we took the feedback on board. How could we be even more transparent; even more distinctive versus our competitors? Within 30 minutes, we’d updated the messaging on our site.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Our original homepage messaging [Left] Our revised homepage 30 minutes later [Right]

Understanding our customers

On average a customer switches provider every 6 years (Ofcom). People’s motives for switching vary. When we asked customers, 39% said they were disappointed being tied into a long contract, 38% said their prices were increased, 30% said poor customer service and 17% had no affection for the brand.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Feedback from customers has been the biggest driving force in our product roadmap

Long contracts. Hidden price rises. Terrible customer service. Things you won’t find at Cuckoo. Throughout all our customer touchpoints we aim to understand behaviours, triggers, pain points, and motivations. As you read on, you’ll see these insights influence all the design decisions.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
The Cuckoo Experience Principles

Our Experience Principles

Cuckoo’s brand promise — centred around the idea of making broadband simple, for good — is the backbone of the brand, including the customer experience. For us, brand and UX are two sides of the same coin.

We created Cuckoo because we knew we could do broadband better. Our experience principles set out to do just that, so users feel chuffed to be part of our flock, every time they engage with us.

Image for post
Image for post
We design our UX/UI mobile-first. Early mobile wires for our MVP prototypes (Feb 20)
Image for post
Image for post
Our first session at Cuckoo HQ defining the customer journey (Feb 20)
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

The Cuckoo join journey — a deep dive.

It takes twice as many clicks to switch broadband with the big guys than it does with Cuckoo. We audited all the key info we needed to capture from customers in order to switch them, then broke them down into a few simple steps. When it comes to online transactions, forms are king. Applying usability best practice, reducing any friction points, providing clear signposting and removing any distractions makes completing their goal of switching easier.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Questions and feedback from customers has played a huge part in our product strategy

Improvise, adapt & overcome

We’ve iterated on our product messaging on the homepage 25–30 times over the last 90 days. That’s roughly every 3 days. From looking at the analytics to listening to what people say to us, we use a ‘Test’, ‘Learn’ and ‘Iterate’ model to improve our service.

Image for post
Image for post

In June we launched our first paid social ads across Instagram & Facebook — giving us direct access to customers and hearing what they have to say. And they have a lot to say. Most of our recent new features or front-end optimisations have been inspired (or suggested) by people on our community or via social media. In the words of Bear Grylls; Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

Image for post
Image for post

Clear next step signposting

At all times, we aim to reduce the cognitive load of customers. By giving them clear signposting and only providing relevant content. Customers should have no doubt what their next action is in order to progress to signup.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Cuckoo’s focused join process vs Amazon’s shopping experience (they don’t want you to go the shopping basket, just yet)

Keep the user focused on the task

At this point we remove any distractions so the user can focus their attention on switching; any additional content is removed and the global nav bar is no longer displayed. It’s like the opposite of Amazon; rather than wanting you to add more things to the shopping basket, we just want to get you through the funnel as frictionless as possible.

Image for post
Image for post
It takes twice as many clicks to switch broadband with Plusnet, TalkTalk & BT than Cuckoo

The Cuckoo 3 step sign-up flow

Switching provider is daunting. This is only made more intimidating with long, complex forms. Our competitors are presenting customers with up to 7-step forms in order to switch to them. Our primary aim was to reduce this number to 3 simple steps, whilst still capturing all the essential information we need to switch someone.

Image for post
Image for post

Make it specific to the user

When a customer enters their address, we give them a specific estimate of the speed they would be getting with us (rather than the average of our customer base).

Image for post
Image for post

We’re transparent about our speeds and our prices. We go one step further and humanise what that speed actually means to them; for example, 60Mb/s is perfect for Netflix, gaming, downloading, and streaming HD TV on multiple devices. We avoid ambiguity at all times.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
With Cuckoo, you can set your Wi-Fi name and password when you sign up

Give control back to the user

With Cuckoo, you can set your Wi-Fi name and password when you sign-up. Say goodbye to random, forgettable codes. Creativity encouraged. Do you know of another provider that does this? — none we know of yet.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
[Left] Choosing which project you want to support with the Cuckoo Compass [Right] Waitrose in-store green coin initiative.

Setting your Cuckoo Compass

We take 1% of each bill and use it to help get the internet to places it’s needed most, like conflict zones, natural disaster sites and developing communities. And then we ask during the signup, which project you would like to support. Do good, simply by being on our network.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Helpful content

At key decision points in the journey, we recap what the customer is signing up for, so there are no surprises later on. We ask for as little input as possible to ensure a somewhat mundane task feels effortless to complete. We do as much of the heavy-lifting as possible so our customers are left with a feather-light load. But we also make sure nothing sounds too scary or challenging.

Image for post
Image for post

The Switch Process

It takes roughly 10–14 days to switch someone over to our network. We’d love to speed this up but it’s defined by Openreach and Ofcom. We looked at all the moments during that period and defined when people would need the most reassurance that their switch is going well and to give them timely information to assist their onboarding.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Keeping customers informed at all stages of the switch.
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Customers receive up to 6 emails & 2 SMS throughout the signup process to keep them informed

Constant communication is key

Once a customer has signed up they gain access to their Cuckoo account. (I will write about My Account in a future update.) This is where the self-help tools we’re building will live, where you will be able to view your referral info and of course update all your personal information (you can do that already, actually).

Image for post
Image for post

Let people know what’s going on

We use the bright yellow Cuckoo message bar to deliver key messages to people. At the moment, it’s letting users know they’re one of the first on our network and that some things aren’t perfect yet. At least we’re honest :) If you’d like to be one of the first too, then head to our site and sign up.

Image for post
Image for post

Making switch day special

You don’t have many physical interactions with your broadband provider. Perhaps the odd engineer visit when you switch provider. If an Openreach engineer is needed they’ll send you a text to let you know.

Image for post
Image for post
Cuckoo router packaging design using our new punchy ‘swoosh’ creative

So the one moment, when you first receive the router — we wanted to make it exciting. Here’s a sneak peek at the top-secret new packaging design. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Inside of our router booklet

Setting up the router

We did an audit of some of the competitors box-opening-experiences. To be fair, some of them have clearly invested in slick packaging (hoping one day Alex will let me splash some serious Cuckoo dollar on shiny boxes that explode with glitter on opening…) but the reality was, the setup instructions were still incredibly difficult to decipher. Not-so-quick-start guides, confusing messaging and baffling acronyms. We decided to create a 3-step guide that’s just as straight forward as our box. Simple.

Ever seen a router set itself up? 🙊👀 Switching to Cuckoo is so simple, it almost does it itself…

Image for post
Image for post

Getting online / viewing your Wi-Fi details

Once you’ve plugged in your router and the light goes green, you’re all set to go. Now you just need to enter the Wi-Fi details you gave us at signup and voila.

If you’ve forgotten your details, simply check your welcome email or just login to cuckoo.co anytime.

So that’s our Join Journey and Switch process.

Next up for you: We’ve now removed our early access list and opened the doors to all. So what are you waiting for? Switch broadband, for good.

If you enjoyed this article, please show us some love by sharing or clapping 👏

cuckoo-internet

Switch broadband, for good.

Tommy Toner

Written by

Head of Brand & UX at Cuckoo. Currently building the type of broadband company your mum would be proud of. Mountains. Outdoors. Adventure.

cuckoo-internet

Stories & updates from the team behind Cuckoo Broadband.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store