Today’s Wills and Probate talk to Jennifer Macpherson, Head of Service Design at Exizent about their Research Community.
What is the Exizent research community?
The Exizent Research Community is a panel of professionals who provide wills, estate planning or estate administration and are passionate about influencing and improving the industry, both for their clients and their own firms.
We have a service design-led ethos at Exizent which means we are always looking to solve problems that our customers face through the development of well-designed solutions and services. By its very essence, service design is based on deep engagement with the users – and potential users – of your product. We always worked very closely with our customers, who provide feedback and inform our priorities for new product features and enhancements. Then, at the start of this year, we launched the Exizent Research Community where we work with professionals in the industry; having the community enables us to involve, and design with, the people that have first-hand knowledge and experience.
Those who are part of the Community are invited to take part in regular research activities, from discussions to testing new ideas with us. No prior knowledge of Exizent is required to join our Community, and it is absolutely not a sales channel. It has been created for the sharing of ideas on how we can use technology to improve ways of working when administering estates.
Why is it so important to have a research community?
Service Design has underpinned everything we’ve done so far. Designing good services and products is not just about getting feedback at the start. It is a constant process of improvement, development, and innovation. It is about designing with the people that will use or benefit from the service to make sure not only that we solve their initial problems, but that we continue to provide solutions to new and emerging issues by building them together.
The research community is also really important in terms of enabling smart collaboration. Our aim is not to develop isolated features or products; we want to design in a way that connects to the wider service that the person is experiencing. We therefore need to understand our customers’ (and potential customers’) whole experience in order to help improve the entire journey. Every interaction is important, whether it is a phone call to us or using a new feature for the first time. By having a dedicated community, we can work closely and regularly with the experts to do that.
How do you use the feedback and insight you get from the research community to inform product development and delivery?
Our approach is to continuously deliver improvements and features to Exizent that respond to the needs of those involved in or impacted by bereavement and the related administrative tasks.
We use the insight we gain from the research activities that we run with the Community, alongside our customer feedback, to inform solutions directly. From problem definition through to design and delivery. The Community is involved continuously, not just at the early discovery stages. This can include interviews to learn about their experience of a particular task and to discover where the pain points are for them, reviewing and co-designing ideas before we finalise solutions, and testing before they ‘go live’. As a recent example we’ve been working with the Community to inform our new Estate discovery feature.
Do you think the research community will always be an integral part of Exizent?
Absolutely. We will never stop listening and learning, and as Exizent becomes an integral part of the bereavement landscape, we’ll scale up the way we involve the Community and continue to be informed by our customers.
We want to ensure that we’re offering solutions to real issues that the industry is facing. Those issues are going to change and evolve, and we’re committed to providing solutions that address those problems.
Are you looking for new members?
We’re on a mission to make the bereavement process easier for everyone, and we’re always looking for legal professionals working in wills, planning and estate administration across the UK to get involved as contributors in the Exizent Research Community. Those who are part of the community become our ‘go to’ audience for feedback and insight. Our community members are invited to regular research activities that help shape improvements to the Exizent service, there is no obligation to take part; contributors choose which activities they’d like to be involved in, and how frequently. As a thank you, we make charity donations and send members thank you vouchers after their involvement.
Find out more about how to sign up here.