Making digital water bills crystal-clear

This is the story of how two designers at Clearleft re-designed a water bill (in a very short space of time!) so that customers could understand exactly what they’d been billed for, without the need to call up with questions. Read it in full here - --- The challenge for Southern Water Southern Water had a serious problem: the cost of serving each customer was high by industry standards, and despite the high spend, customers didn’t seem to be too happy about the service. The most relevant evidence we found: half of new customers call up after receiving their first bill, confused about what they’ve been billed, and why. The internal structure of the company was compounding this problem: as with many companies, the customer experience sits across departments and organisations with very different goals and budgets. To help Southern Water, we’d need to create alignment to find a strategic win. ---- The Results Fixed a critical problem for users The results of our prototype test showed that we had successfully fixed the nagging issue of bill shock, which, when launched, has a high potential of increasing customer satisfaction. Lowered cost-to-serve Thousands of unnecessary customer-service phone calls are likely to disappear because of our bill redesign, with a potential cost-saving of millions of pounds. Demonstrated a new way of working By working transparently onsite, and by exposing stakeholders to customers during the testing, we’ve showed the organisation the power of design-thinking and putting users first.