This week's 'day in the life' comes from a man who has a broad-ranging digital role in a very large organisation.
Tom Barton is an online capability consultant at BT. Let's find out what such a role entails...
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Please describe your job, Tom! What does an Online Capability Consultant do?
At BT we want to be number one for customer service and my role is all about ensuring that happens across the digital estate.
I am responsible for turning our customer management and service journeys into an online experience that’s easy and efficient for our customers to use.
I am responsible for creating and eliciting all the new requirements, defining user experience and wireframes and managing the development and launch of the product.
Our team is working on some great experiences for our customers and ranging from paying a bill or reporting a fault right through to changing their TV package and tracking an order online.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I sit within the Digital team in BT Consumer, in a sub team called Digital Capability which includes both in life and project work.
I report to the Senior User Experience manager.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
You certainly need to be analytical, to allow you to review data quickly and to make effective UX and process decisions.
Strong user testing skills and an inquisitive mind really help to get to the crux of the problem to ensure what you design is fit for purpose and allows customers and advisors to perform their task as effectively as possible.
Strong people skills to ensure you can take everyone on the digital journey – our commercial and operational colleagues have great ideas and plans, but it’s up to me to give them clear options for how they turn them into reality online.
The ability to learn quickly and grasp technical concepts at a high level allows you to marry your technical and design knowledge to spot how to cut risks, fix issues and save money.
Tell us about a typical working day…
My role is really varied so it really does depend on what needs doing!
I start every day with a stand up to ensure we all know what everyone is doing and if anyone needs any support with the day’s activities.
After that it can get quite varied but most days involve defining and writing requirements for the next piece of functionality. I will chat with the process SMEs to help turn complex business processes into an online experience.
Once we have these I will brief our UX designers to start bringing the idea to life.
After a call with the development team to ensure what we have designed is feasible we will update the wireframes and brief the Visual Design team to the final functionality created.
After all this it’s time to optimise what we already have live and work closely with our marketing team to analyse the data and be on the lookout for changes that make the online experience even better.
Busy day eh!
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I love working for such a high profile company and especially in their digital team. We are a relatively new team and have grown from 20 to 130 in a matter of years.
The team has a great mix of ages and backgrounds and everyone is great to work with – also not wearing a suit is always good!
It’s great being able to see an idea turn into something a customer can actually use. I know it’s cheesy but I really think we are making a positive difference to people’s lives – making everything they do online easier, quicker and more personal.
I think my favourite thing about my role is its variety. One day I’ll be creating wireframes, the next analysing Omniture data to ensure we are getting the most out of what we have – I really get the chance to get involved in all aspects of the online journey.
The only negative is the time it takes to implement change. We’re getting better with more agile processes coming in but with such a big company getting things changed can be a bit frustrating at times.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
We use quite a lot at BT but the main ones we use are Channel Share and Propensity to Contact.
Our goal is to remove calls from the call centre and help people self-serve as much as they can, the more people we can get online the better. We want customers to have the same personal experience online as they do when they call up.
Propensity to Contact (or PTC) measures how many customers go online and then phone up within seven days. We take the approach that if someone has gone online and then had to phone up, we’ve failed – the lower this measure the better.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
- Axure – wireframe tool. It can be pretty complicated when you start learning how to use it but when you get the hang of it, what it can do is pretty impressive
- Omniture and Excel – To crunch those numbers
- Treesorter – A lot of what we do involves getting people from A to B in the easiest way. Treesorter allows us to test where the best place to put everything is
- Trello – A great online tool to help with lists and team tasks
- Jira – Our defect tracking and requirements tool
Which brands do you think are doing digital well?
I think digital is really exciting at the moment and there are loads of brands that are doing some pretty great stuff, but if I had to pick some I would go for:
John Lewis – The way they marry up online and offline activities make shopping extremely painless. When I have had queries or issues, is has been such a stress free experience it solve these.
Amazon – Similar to John Lewis, however I know there is so much more they could do with the data and resources they have. I feel they are just testing the water at the moment – Watch this space!
Skyscanner – I’m convinced I have booked more flights since I started using Skyscanner! The amount of data it has to crunch in such a short space of time is impressive. It’s so easy to use and the ability to customise everything really helps with usability. It translates seamlessly from desktop to mobile as well
Do you have any advice for people who want to work in ecommerce?
Try to learn as much as you can about the full customer lifecycle and how digital can affect every aspect of it.
The more exposure you get to more roles such as marketing, SEO, UX etc the better as it will allow you to understand how each role comes together to create the full end-to-end experience.
It’s really important to stay up to date and read articles and blogs on the latest trends and digital best practice. It’s easy with so many free resources online – many companies also offer free conferences that are great to attend.
No matter what your role is in digital, it’s vital you keep the end user in mind, whether that be a customer or a back end user. It is vital everything is designed with them in mind.
I think most importantly just have passion for getting into digital and work hard, and the rest should come naturally.