I had the pleasure of working as a product owner co-op at Telus Digital this past summer. This was an amazing experience where I learned from really talented and intelligent people. TELUS taught me that behind every great product is an excellent decision-maker and communicator. Through this experience, I learned some very critical skills that I believe promote excellent products and skilled product owners.
These are my biggest takeaways:
1. Know the business requirements and product roadmap like the back of your hand.
2. Always have a pulse on the customer. Understand their behaviour, motivations, and biggest pain points and be able to communicate these to stakeholders.
3. Make it a regular occurrence to review the data and be able to speak to what it means for your product.
4. The biggest distinction between a good and great PO: A great PO knows every answer to every question about their product. A good PO knows where to get them.
While at TELUS, I was a Product Owner on two separate teams: My TELUS Login and Registration and My TELUS Home Solutions.
I owned three of my own projects including a rebrand of the TELUS Self-Serve portal, a migration of TELUS login, registration, and role management emails, and a "Link Account" personalization campaign that targeted users with multiple related unlinked accounts. I further worked with my Home Solutions team to develop better process and standards for the teams workflow.
The TELUS self-serve portal, now called "My TELUS" was formerly "TELUS My Account". Now you might be asking, "Why was such a minor name change so necessary?".
The decision to take on this seemingly small project came from several problems associated with the former branding. Here are a few of the key reasons:
1. OUR CUSTOMERS COULD NOT FIND US
Research on common search terms for this portal showed that our customers were searching for "My TELUS" instead of "TELUS My Account" and as none of our content reflected this name, the site ranked 5th or 6th in Google's search results (most people only look at the first 5 results). Poor search experience = a very frustrated customer who can't figure out how to pay their phone bill.
2. THE INDUSTRY STANDARD
Rogers, Bell, Shaw and Verizon were all using this naming convention (My TELUS, My Bell, My Shaw, My Verizon). In an industry where customers characterized by the frequent movement of customers from one provider to another, it becomes important to maintain the industry standard so that for example, a customer who was formerly with Bell could use the same naming convention when searching for their new account with Telus.
3. A NAME THAT REFLECTS A CHANGING SELF-SERVE ECOSYSTEM
TELUS is heavily investing in growing and expanding the ecosystem of their self-serve experience. While I can't explain this in detail, this name change is more reflective of the experience they hope to create for their customers.
This project stretched the entire TELUS organization. I managed TELUS digital's involvement while liaising with a team of members from other TELUS departments including marketing, channel experience, customer experience, client identity and business technology to name a few.
All of the major touch points for this project had a July 4th release date, with more minor pieces following in the weeks after. Alongside the name change, TELUS had to additional goals for the project: 1) To increase the number of My TELUS users and 2) To increase My TELUS app downloads. Therefore the rebrand deadline was also used as the basis for a wider marketing campaign with communications that went out to all customers.
The Digital team was responsible for the content strategy, building all of the marketing pages, and updating all existing references of My Account to My TELUS across our various touch points (Support pages, the app and web experiences, email notifications, and vanity URLs). Digital also performed redirects on all long URLs containing references of My Account.
When I began this project, I made it a priority to get to know the people I would be working with and to familiarize myself with what they work working I kicked off the work with one-on-one meetings with every Prime (these are the Product Owners and SCRUM masters on the teams that were completing the work). In these meetings I got to know the individual, I got insight into what their team was responsible for, and I asked what their concerns were with regards to this project. Therefore, when the time came that someone had a question, or wanted to know when something would be completed, I either had the answer or I knew exactly who to refer them to.
The pieces of the puzzle were many. I created an audit of all of the work that needed to be done, and combed through all of the pages that were within or associated with the My Account self-serve experience. I sent these off to the Primes to ensure that nothing was missed. Once I had confirmation from the Primes, I communicated the work Digital's would commit to to the team I was working with from the wider TELUS organization. I laid out exactly what Digital would be responsible for, communicated our timelines, and set expectations for our deadlines.
However in full disclosure, all of the teams on TELUS Digital are incredibly busy with large backlogs and rigid product roadmaps, so needless to say, getting things completed ahead of schedule was not in the cards. Every team had the rebrand work scheduled, just not scheduled until 1 or 2 weeks before the deadline. Therefore, I used the downtime leading up to the July 4th to get organized.
The Login/Registration team I worked on had several touch-points that referenced My Account including email notifications that were triggered by our experience, on-page instances of "My Account", and last, the login page for all of My Account. While the rebrand work was taking place, my team was also consumed by our biggest project of the year; a redesign of the Login experience for My Account that was being built on our new technology stack so safe to say, the team was busy and there was a lot of learning to be done. That being said, May and June were mainly consumed with sorting through business requirements and testing designs. The developers on my team had some down time so I realized this would be the perfect time for the rebranding work. Therefore, I prepared the necessary changes and asked our developers to implement them while they had less on their plate. This way on the day of the rebrand, the only real work that would be required from my team was making the pages live. This was an excellent decision as I was able to focus my time and attention on other areas of the project in the weeks approaching July 4th.
Three weeks before the deadline, work was underway and the pieces were on track when a communications team from the larger Telus organization got word of the rebrand. This was the team that was responsible for reporting on Telus customer satisfaction ratings and they brought up the concern that TELUS already had an entire customer-facing portal called My TELUS that was dominantly used by elder people and encompassed TELUS Webmail, horoscopes, news, and weather. They mentioned that Telus customer satisfaction was at a record high that year, and the company was neck-and-neck with Rogers for having the best customer experience. Their worry was that when Telus My Account became My TELUS and URL redirects were made, the original My TELUS users would become confused and frustrated and would start to complain. These complaints would ultimately bring TELUS's status down and we would lose first place for customer satisfaction to Rogers. Their recommendation was that we hold-off on the rebrand until the beginning of August (the end of the rating period) or we find a compromise that would keep these My TELUS users happy.
This was a significant hurdle, mainly because it was surfaced so late in the project. The content strategy was finalized, marketing communications were done, and all teams were on track for a July 4th release. Therefore, myself and the rest of the rebrand team decided to create a compromise.
I worked with our content strategists to come up with two critical solutions to this challenge.
The first was a very prominent CTA for Telus Webmail users that went live on the July 4th launch date. The CTA said "Looking for TELUS Webmail? Click here." on the marketing landing page. The goal being that a user looking for Webmail would see it the moment they landed on the page and would be redirected to the Webmail portal without much frustration.
The second fix came later, and was created in reaction to the behaviour we were seeing after launching on July 4th. Many Webmail users were finding themselves on the Login page for My TELUS, and without a second thought, they were entering their Webmail credentials but were receiving errors and were unable to log in. This was a high impact experience as elder customers who landed were generating a lot of complaints about the new experience. As a solve, I worked with our personalization team to identify customer ID's tied to a TELUS Webmail account and created a banner ad that showed for these customers on the Login page. The banner said "My Account is now My TELUS. Looking for TELUS Webmail? Click here>".
This combined approach ended up driving down complaints as they successfully communicated the changes that were taking place, and offered a direct path to the solution.
In all, the My TELUS rebrand went very smoothly. All of the critical changes went live on July 4th and we saw the impact of our work within days. App downloads increased, new My TELUS users skyrocketed, and the number of active accounts soared as well. This increased visibility and traffic around the My TELUS experience was sending more and more users to My TELUS to pay their bills or make changes to their account instead of waiting on the phone with call centre for hours on end. Ultimately Telus's key objective of enabling our customer to do what they want easily was fulfilled.
My summer at TELUS was a fantastic experience that I will always look back on for the challenges it presented me with, and the opportunities it gave me to solve them. I learned a great deal about what makes a great team, a great product and a great product owner. I have taken everything I have brought the knowledge I gained from my time at TELUS to the work I'm doing now and it has made a world of a difference.