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In addition to its full-service child care centers, Bright Horizons works with companies to provide back-up care services, which parents can leverage if their regular child care falls through. This service offers employees a safety net when schools close due to weather-related causes, when unexpected work-related travel is required, when primary caretakers become ill, when prior arrangements fall through, or when any circumstance prompts unscheduled child care needs.
To utilize this safety-net service, parents would reserve care by contacting Bright Horizons 24x7 call center or by visiting their website. But frantically visiting a website or filling out forms on a phone is a cumbersome process at best, particularly given the ease of requesting service through a mobile app.
Constructing a mobile application is never easy. Many business rules and contract items must be built-in and supported. It’s a type of dual challenge on the back end to meet the contractual obligations while at the same time providing a contemporary experience to promote user interaction, according to Andrew Williams, Director of Product Management, Bright Horizons.
Bright Horizons has an established history as a brick-and-mortar leader in child care services and education. But since the company lacked any mobile application development experience, they turned to Propelics, an Anexinet company, whose proven expertise in mobile strategy and solutions has also made them an industry leader.
Propelics first began by conducting user-story workshops to determine how most individuals would engage with the mobile application and quickly discovered users were likely to take several different paths when making back-up care reservations. For example, users could either request center-based care (and drop a child off at a Bright Horizons center) or in-home care (Bright Horizons sends a child care professional to the users home).
Propelics determined that it made more sense to focus on addressing the users most critical need ”booking reservations” rather than try to squeeze all of the bells and whistles into the first version of the app.
Since our users are working parents who are rushing around from meeting to meeting, we wanted to simplify the reservation process for them and make it a quick and easy task to check off their list. Propelics was critical to helping us understand how different scenarios would be represented in the mobile app. We knew this was the number one, most impactful area to focus on first, Williams stated.
Initially, Bright Horizons was concerned about how many reservations the app would be able to handle. However, after diving into the analytics, they realized people were using the app for reasons other than just making reservations. Many users were double-checking the application to confirm their reservation, cancel a reservation or review their profile information.
To complicate matters, application use was much broader than originally anticipated, and requested features needed to be tied into the legacy platform, with the flexibility to pivot to the new design platform already under construction. Propelics ensured the initial mobile application handled every criteria elegantly.
When first introduced, fewer than 1 percent of reservations were made via the new mobile application. But growth came quickly. Now we lead with our mobile application and a QR code so users can easily download it right at work, Williams said.
We realize a large percentage of the population prefers to perform their daily tasks using mobile apps. This application reduces frustration and friction and literally makes users lives easier by not forcing them to call or log-in to the computer. Our customer interactions are seamless because Propelics focused on making the mobile application as easy as possible to use.
Bright Horizons customers are companies, but the users of our care-request service are the companies employees. Interactions are simple and step-by-step, and the experience has a native, intuitive feel, added Williams.
Today, Bright Horizons mobile app users can input just about any information needed to build a complete customer profile. New dynamic features have also been added, such as the ability to copy and edit reservations, along with touch ID for thumbprint authentication and GPS to locate the nearest child care center and get directions. A new feature released in the Spring of 2018 allows parents to upload medical forms by simply snapping a photo.
Propelics knows the success of its clients mobile applications drives revenue and helps them achieve their business goals. The user-centric company takes an agnostic approach to user interactions with mobile applications and utilizes multiple entry-channels, native elements and modalities to make every mobile experience as frictionless as possible.