Case Study - Telekom Fiber

From millions of miles to millions of people: the customer experience for a nationwide infrastructure
Client
Deutsche Telekom GmbH
Area
Product Experience
Release date
2018 - 2020
Platforms
Web, Mobile, Communication

Overview

By 2025, every second German household should have a fiber optic connection. Everyone by 2030.

To achieve this, millions of kilometers of fiber optic cable must be laid. Covering the ground with a network of glass requires a collective effort. These cables will provide Germany with internet for decades to come. Faster and with less interference than ever before.

Connecting millions of households to the fiber optic network requires an infrastructure that can withstand the increasing demand.

We developed the experience strategy for the fiber optic business system in close cooperation with Telekom and supported its implementation until one million households were able to book their fiber optic tariff.

WHAT WE DID

  • Digital Experience Strategy
  • Product vision, roadmapping, and task breakdown
  • Interaction Strategy and Information Architecture
  • Communication Strategy
  • Design of customer & business-facing interfaces & processes
  • Analysis of existing and planned business processes
  • User research and usability testing
  • Cross-team collaboration

Outcomes

8 M

Households have been able to book a fiber optic connection since the end of 2023.

3,5 K

Areas were supplied with fiber optics by Telekom between 2019 and 2023.

1 M

Fiber optic contracts will be concluded at the beginning of 2024.

400 +

Construction service providers have been working with Deutsche Telekom's digital construction processes since 2023

DUMBO is a strong design partner. In a very complex environment, they have been able to set strategic impulses as well as develop "hands on" solutions with the product teams. Their work has had a lasting impact on the customer experience of fiber optic expansion.

Sebastian Simmer
Vice President E2E Fiber Customer Experience & Processes, Telekom

The balancing act between visionary guiding principles and the next release

400+

Participants in more than 20 Scrum teams across Europe

26 %

Every fourth person has the option of booking a fiber optic tariff since mid-2022

The expansion of a modern fiber optic infrastructure is one of Deutsche Telekom's most important goals. In the future, more than 80 million people will be supplied with fiber optics at the touch of a button. Not an easy task.

Taking into account the approval process and construction, laying a single fiber optic connection can take several months from order to commissioning. In the meantime, many people are involved: Technicians, civil engineering companies, property owners, landlords, janitors, residents and Telekom service staff.

In order to master this challenge, Deutsche Telekom began radically restructuring the previous method of fiber optic expansion in 2018. The objective was to achieve greater efficiency and simpler practices for customers and employees with digital processes throughout the entire construction chain. They are tackling this task with more than 20 Scrum teams in 4 European countries with the aim of stabilizing the business system to enable scaling.

During the development process, we created a customer experience strategy together with Telekom's experience design team. The aim was to satisfy everyone involved throughout the entire operation, from ordering to commissioning the connection. And despite all the adversities and imponderables, Telekom's premium promise must be tangibly delivered.

To ensure an appropriate production pace, it was crucial to withstand the operational pressure while providing new impetus. So that everyone involved works hand in hand to find solutions in this complex working environment.

Highlights

01 Developing and implementing an experience strategy Making sustainable decisions under operational pressure
02 An user interface where everything comes together in real time Designing encounters and processes without leaving anyone behind
03 Get the right perspective with the Agent View Tools for support that are always one step ahead
04 Efficient management and seamless control of construction processes With an interface that works behind the scenes

Developing and implementing an experience strategy

The expansion of the fiber optic business system was planned years into the future. To make it tangible for day-to-day product development, the big picture was broken down into increments that could be prepared and released from quarter to quarter. There was one design team for every 20 Scrum teams. That corresponds to 5 designers with over 400 participants. Since the time budget was limited and the expectations for the project were high, we had to be hands-on from day one, and the digital solutions had to be both scalable and tailored to the customers.

To make sustainable decisions under operational pressure, we needed tools to keep up with the scrum teams and tools to stay ahead of them. This has enabled us to make decisions in an agile environment that pay off in the long term.

Orchestrating processes for a premium experience

To actively shape the customer experience, it is important to understand how things interact with each other. Every interaction, whether active or passive, has an impact on the experience.

Together with the product teams, we evaluated both internal and external business processes. We also documented them in the form of a service blueprint to orchestrate the processes in front of and behind the scenes, along with guiding development within the teams. Looking at the big picture, we were able to identify weaknesses at an early stage and intervene in good time. Every team member should understand how their own work fits into the big picture.

From release to target image with the Living Vision

With the Living Vision, we have developed a target and an actual state at the same time. The Living Vision is a prototype that contains realistic concepts and new requirements. Always with a view to an inspiring, ambitious solution. This enabled everyone involved in the project to take every step, no matter how small, in the right direction. With the Living Vision, the experience design team was able to actively support the planning process, introduce UX requirements, make sustainable decisions, and eliminate difficulties and concerns at an early stage.

Scaling design systems with the help of Events

When creating the design system, it was important that the interaction of the components was controlled by events in order to display information in real time and convey it in a personalized way. Both user interaction and systemic or temporal conditions can trigger events. To process this, all participating systems had to communicate with each other in the background.

We used an Event map to define processing rules, and make events and triggers happen. This ensured synchronous communication across different teams and touchpoints.

An user interface where everything comes together in real time

People's expectations are changing. If you order a pizza today via one of the many delivery apps, you are kept up to date on the status of your order with real-time updates. You can watch the delivery as it moves through the city and slowly approaches you. In the case of construction projects, this could hardly be further from reality.

Uncertainty causes worry. And we were determined to avoid that feeling at all costs. To do this, Telekom had to guide and organize customers as well as the construction service providers and service provider management in Telekom's Fiber Factory throughout the expansion process and keep them up to date on their progress. The aim was to eliminate ambiguities and ensure the expansion without falling behind schedule.

A good user experience only works if you are active at all levels - whether strategic vision and comprehensive analysis of the journey, conception and preparation of the screens for developers, or prototyping and support for the teams during implementation. DUMBO was an excellent partner here, delivering at all levels.

Gordian Knaus
UX Lead Fiber, Telekom

The feeling of progress where progress is not immediately visible

When you are eagerly awaiting something or working towards something with anticipation, the feeling of progress is reassuring. Compared to this, however, progress in the development of a fiber optic area takes a very long time. Only the actual intervention in your own four walls is quick.

Our concept was to make what is happening behind the scenes visible and to turn the focus away from our own four walls and onto the neighborhood. With this goal in mind, we designed a map that renders the expansion area with live data in order to make the progress of all activities visible. Every single day.

Coordination of encounters and interactions

What difference does it make if you need one day more or less? A lot, because thousands of properties and people are involved.

Deutsche Telekom has to bring people together every day without being on site to ensure everything runs smoothly. SMS, email and app communication are used to automatically and meticulously contact individual parties and coordinate everyone involved.

According to surveys, individual moments of contact caused a considerable amount of confusion and concern. After all, strangers are entering a private home. Security concerns took center stage. This made it all the more important to shape the face-to-face moments. With the help of transparent communication, trust was created and risks were limited in order to make the appearance of strangers in private living spaces a pleasant experience.

Encrypted links enable joint efforts

Deutsche Telekom customers are dependent on third parties when laying fiber optic cables: Owners who have to approve the intervention in the building fabric; janitors who open the door and yard; and others who represent you. The willingness to actively participate in the process varies depending on the role. So we had to get rid of all the barriers.

We created a concept to use crypto links to include different parties in the process without requiring login or registration, which should eliminate unnecessary overhead. Everyone should get personalized access to the central status page of the property to fulfill their own part of the development.

Get the right perspective with the Agent View

There is also a lot going on behind the scenes: a service team is available to customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the expansion. The aim of the specially trained team is to ensure customer satisfaction even in difficult times. This is because construction is ongoing, continuously and with many construction companies at different locations in Germany at the same time. A new agent portal makes it easier to keep track of customers' concerns and provide them with advice, assistance and feedback.

Slip into any role

There are not only new processes, but also new players in the fiber optic business system. And each one has unique rights. To ensure the flow of information and communication, we allowed agents to take on the respective point of view of the caller. To do this, we integrated the status page of the property into the service portal and mapped the caller's interface in a fully functional and responsive way. This enabled the agents to provide information both technically and in terms of content.

Insights for product development

The documentation of telephone conversations takes up a lot of time. That's why it often falls by the wayside. With the help of a keyboard-optimized control of the Agent View, documentation should be simplified using predefined topic fields during the service call. In this way, data should be collected in order to provide product development with quantitative and qualitative insights into the service volume at an early stage and, if possible, automatically.

Efficient management and seamless control of construction processes

200 k

households were able to receive Telekom fiber optics in June 2023 alone.

Telekom is working tirelessly with civil engineering and electrical companies to expand the fiber optic network. As new areas are developed, thousands of new connections are added every day. But resources are scarce. This makes it all the more important that they are used sustainably and efficiently.

A service specially developed for fiber optic expansion helps to manage construction service providers and expansion projects, manage orders and complete work steps on time.

Processing thousands of order data and addresses

To ensure efficient expansion of the areas, individual connections were grouped into projects or areas based on their address data. This enabled suppliers to track individual orders as well as process selective and mass address data in a way that complies with German law and data protection.

Recognize dependencies and obstacles at an early stage

Process steps can run in parallel or sequentially, autonomously or cooperatively, depending on the expansion area and the capacity utilization of the supplier companies. The service tool had to ensure that all active processes were mapped and that obstacles, deviations or dependencies were detected at an early stage. In addition, notifications and alerts were used to prioritize and manage outstanding processes.

Managing resources and keeping timelines

Efficient scheduling is essential for operational planning. Services were developed for the tool to automate and speed up appointment scheduling. For this purpose, appointment scheduling between the customer and the delivery company was seamlessly integrated into Telekom's communication channels. In this way, Telekom always retained control over the flow of information and the customer journey.

Working with DUMBO has changed my perspective on user experience design. When technology and design, software and architecture develop side by side, synergies are created that benefit not only our customers, but also our IT. I was particularly impressed by DUMBO's ability to transform sober technical content into beautiful design.

Roland Schier
Lead Business Architect digital Hub Giga Business System

We look back on an intensive journey and would like to thank the Telekom Fiber team for their perseverance and tireless work in driving the fiber optic expansion forward while always focusing on the customer. It has been a pleasure to walk the path with them.

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