Co-op Digital are based in Manchester, where I live.
One of their goals is to go into The Co-op’s existing businesses and help them make the most of new digital opportunities.
As part of a new digital team, I had the chance to work with CLS (Co-op Legal Services) to improve a specific service they offer -- will writing.
The aim of the project was to build a digital service to let their customers start creating their own will online.
Previously, this would have to be done 100% in-person or over the phone. Will writers would spend a lot of time with repetitive tasks, such as transcribing details or explaining how wills work to customers.
The project would hopefully both increase inbound leads, and also free up the time of their will writers.
The application we built took the customer through a series of dynamic questions, which would change based on the answers given.
Due to legal requirements, the process was not 100% online and required a short phone-call to verify the person was indeed who they said they were.
The final stage of the online journey allowed the customer to book a timeslot in a will writer’s diary for this call. The will writer was then presented with all the revelant information ahead of this chat.
Whilst the application was straightforward from a technical perspective, there were hurdles to overcome.
- There is a lot of complex legalese when it comes to writing a will. We had to present this information in a way that way simple enough for customers to understand and confidently answer our questions. I learnt a lot from our brilliant content designers.
Customers are handing over extremely confidental information. We had to work closely with the security team to ensure we were handling this data appropriately.
We worked quickly and iteratively. Agile development in this way was new for The Co-op, and so there was a lot of effort to get this project live.
We worked closely with The Co-op’s Head of Wills, James Antoniou, who talks about the project in this video.
To complete the handover of the project to CLS, I trained two of their engineers to take over development and maintenance of the application. They had no previous Ruby or Rails experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed giving this training. Nothing reinforces your knowledge of a subject like teaching.
The handover was a success and the application has since been expanded to offer other legal services beyond will writing, such as prenuptial agreements and lasting power of attorney.
Have an interesting project you need help with? If you think we’d work well together get in touch. My email is ed at edforshaw.co.uk.