A friend’s recent woes when changing from an ADSL to fibre internet connection with the same ISP highlighted this classic UX design fail: the context gap between the service provider and the service consumer. And also the siloing gaps between related processes within the service provicer.

From the customer’s perspective [D], the process is linear and straightforward. They were dealing with the same company. They have been a customer for years. And they were merely switching from one product (ADSL connection) to another (fibre connection.) So they filled in the online plan changeover form and clicked Submit.

Outcome: Their ADSL connection was shut down within 48 hours. And the new fibre connection… was not able to be connected for weeks because reasons. This meant they had no internet connect for all that time.

From the telco’s perspective, the changeover process likely comprises multiple independent subprocesses [A], [B], and [C]. (I am only guessing here.)

[A] is a straightforward end-of-service process. End the service, send the final bill, and hopefully thank the customer. Done.

[B] is also pretty straightforward. Set up a new billing account, send out the new modem to the customer. Welcome on board! Done.

[C] is even simpler. Send a job request out to a contractor to asking them to hook up the customer to the fibre network.

Splitting a complex problem into smaller chunks will make the design process easier. But it comes with a risk that the final designs don’t come together as a connected whole when this is required.

Clearly in this example, [A], [B], and [C] should be more interlinked. As this is a product switch, the cancellation of the old service should only occur after the new one is confirmed to be working by the 3rd party contractor and the modem has been sent out.

If this integration is too hard, then the customer needs to be clearly told there are three separate processes they must manually trigger and keep an eye on. Though far from ideal, this at least gives information and control to the customer.