Clever thinking. Beautifully executed.

Doggedly creating a better customer experience

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What we did

Design and build


The central aim of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is to never turn away a dog or cat in need of help. Caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes. They take care of over 7000 animals a year and are constantly searching for new ways of making the rehoming process more efficient and effective.

Battersea wanted to launch a new online re-homing form on their main website. They were aware that simply adding a new form and allowing applicants to choose their favourite animal from the online galleries would potentially lead to an influx of unsuitable applications, which could overwhelm the re-homing teams who carry out the suitability checks and interviews. They were looking to build a form which would both encourage more applicants and match them to animals more accurately. The ultimate aim being to get more dogs and cats into suitable new homes more quickly.

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Our Approach

We worked collaboratively with Battersea from the off. We realised that it was not enough to understand the goals and potential users. We had to get into the real nitty gritty of the current offline process and supporting business systems to get a full sense of how taking the experience online could be as effective as possible.

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Crafted suitability criteria

The key aim of the project was not only to encourage more applications but to ensure that the whole rehoming process was accelerated by matching potential homes and animals as closely as possible before the rehoming team received the applications.

We started off by spending time understanding typical user journeys and breaking them down to essentials needed in order to determine the suitability of rehoming applicants. We then created experience maps and conducted a series of workshops with key staff and observed rehoming interviews to capture how the offline process worked and how potential users would be using the application.

We established the criteria needed to both improve the quality and reliability of the application process.

The rehoming teams were delighted to work with our teams and get the chance to air their views and ideas on how the process could be improved.

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Designed effective user journeys


Using the initial research we collaboratively developed wireframes to show how the online application would work taking into account the key needs of users, Battersea staff and the animals.

A fully interactive, lo-fi, responsive prototype was created to show how the online form might work in a number of scenarios including on-site application and online applications.


Delivered integrated solutions

We built the solution into Battersea’s existing CMS solution hosted and managed by another Digital Agency.

The final deliverable was tightly integrated into their Salesforce CRM solution which contains the details of all the animals looking for a new homes and all applicants looking to provide them. The CRM is a key element of the business processes and directly supports the end-to-end re-homing.

The enthusiasm that the Realise team brought to the original pitch didn’t diminish throughout the whole project. The online application system has surpassed our expectations with 120 animals being rehomed to customers who completed an online application.
— Tom Roberts, Digital Manager - Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

The results

Battersea already knew that any new online form would drive more applications but they wanted to make sure that it increased the efficiency of the end-to-end rehoming process and didn’t introduce lots of unsuitable applications.

The new form has delivered on this key aim with early indications suggesting that the re-homing team’s average interview time with applicants has been reduced from 1 hour to 20 minutes.

Battersea run three separate centres and using the matching criteria built into the solution they have been able to place more animals from applicants second choice of centre.

Geographical reach has also been extended with sharp increases in the number of applications and subsequent placements from places such as Scotland, the North of England and the Midlands.

A pleasant surprise was that the form and subsequent process is now so efficient animals are being placed without them even being set up fully on the system.

The form has had a direct impact on animals like Djibril, Effie, Rosie, Lulu, Rolo, Miley, Chief, Pip, Wolfie, Dexter, Sky and Sweet Pea who are getting a second chance at finding a loving home more quickly than ever before which saves Battersea time and money. A virtuous circle which allows them to invest in further improvements enabling them to finding homes for even more vulnerable cats and dogs.


Key Stats

  • 380 animals successfully rehomed as a result of customers using the new digital product. 

  • The percentage of website visitors applying to rehome per month is three times higher than this time last year. 286% increase in rehoming applications relative to last year.

  • 14% of people who visit the rehoming application landing page go on to submit an application. 14% is the charity benchmark for submitting a 1-step form. The rehoming process is complex and the form has 24 steps so Battersea are confident that it is engaging and easy to use.

  • 74% of online applicants are being considered a match in the matching system.

  • 66% decrease in rehoming interview time. 

  • 36% of online applicants are specifying a second Centre they’d be happy to rehome from.

  • 66% of online applicants in the first two weeks came from outside of the M25, compared to around 23% of all applicants for the same period last year.

  • 1.2% increase in rehoming overall, compared to a -14% decrease for the rest of the year.

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How we could help you

Our collaborative approach to developing effective solutions which take into account the customer experience and business needs can be applied to any complicated process which combines both offline and online. Technical expertise in designing and developing and complex and highly integrated solutions allow us to consult and deliver for a wide range of business problems and technologies.

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