The first step to enjoying a party is to get in the door. If the event is popular, it can mean a long wait outside. We need an top-notch bouncer working the door.
In order to grow the base of the product, we needed to register and approve applications from an increasing number of users. As membership expanded, the speed of approval threatened to throttle the rate at which we could roll out— some users were getting through registration and approval in less than a week, while others were taking a month or more.
With safety and security as key drivers, we couldn't simply capture an email address to grant membership— the process was necessarily complex, with significant real-world asks from the user, and a lot of hands-on review from our in-house accounts team.
To act effectively, we had to identify and rank the most critical bottlenecks in registration and approval processing, and send the project roadmap there first.
Who has the most issues with registration?
Slow processing impacted our entire user base, but was of particular concern when a client/worker duo joined together but were approved separately— one would have to wait for the other to catch up, and a gap in service could be significant for the support-seeker.
On reviewing records, however, we noticed that this cohort of "converts" typically got through the process quickly. We interviewed users from this segment, and compared the experiences of others who had taken longer.
Professional experience emerged as a crucial ingredient— folks who had worked in disability or related sectors typically had the necessary paperwork on-hand, and knew how to answer questions about their work expectations.
Those who were new to the sector were charting unfamiliar territory— they were less confident about which types of work they were qualified for, less likely to know where to get certifications, and generally weirded out by consenting to a police check.
The X factors were ambition, confidence, and clear communication. Across all persona cohorts, those who were highly motivated were the most likely to have their qualifications pre-organised, to complete forms accurately, and to respond quickly to contacts from our approval team— all of which kept the process moving along smoothly.
Which issues are most common in processing?
Once submitted, a new application could be provisionally rejected for a number of reasons. The user was asked to review and correct the issues, and rejoin the the approval queue at the bottom.
The resubmission process created significant drag in momentum, so our best course of action was to avoid applications being rejected in the first place.
We looked through all of the rejected applications and tallied the reasons why— four of the top five were documentation-related. Some were the wrong certificate type, others were expired. The registration form could not identify potential errors, so they waited in queue until a human could review and reject them.
What are our best courses of action?
First off the block was working with the approvals team to streamline the queue workflow. If we sorted users by their stage in the process, we could reduce double-handling, and hopefully impact the wait times generated by the rejection/resubmission loop. We tested this workflow as a prototype in action, which gave us space to develop admin tools to support it as a permanent process.
To fuel the momentum of workers who were new to the sector, we aimed to amplify their knowledge and confidence. We redesigned registration to present requirements as a checklist up-front, and included in-context education resources to keep them informed and engaged, especially at points where analytics showed they were most likely to submit erroneous data. We also included more cheerleading and success stories about folks coming in from non-traditional backgrounds, to reinforce confidence in their journey.
Finally, we looked for ways to make the document-collection process smarter, and to steer users toward uploading the right thing, the first time, and minimise the risk of kickbacks and delays.