Vodafone aims to provide their customers with the best possible service, to allow them to get the most out of life. In a very competitive and ever changing environment, Vodafone NL recognized the importance of having a Customer Experience team constantly immersed in their customers’ perspective. If innovative services are to survive in the marketplace, they need to match the needs and behaviours of the customers. STBY was asked to support the Customer Experience Team in reviewing and improving the most important customer journeys undertaken by Vodafone’s customers. Over 4 months, STBY worked alongside Vodafone in conducting, documenting and analysing in-depth qualitative research. An innovation model based on the customers’ perspective was co-developed and opportunities and service concepts explored through co-creation workshops.
In-depth qualitative research to understand the customer journeys
To understand what their customers aspire to, Vodafone actively measures and monitors a variety of sources. Data about their customers comes from their CRM system, customer support systems, online behavior and social media. This data offers a lot of information about what is happening (such as x% of customers do not purchase after visiting the shop), but doesn’t give so much insight into why it is happening (are they not happy, do they decide to buy online, or do they go elsewhere?). STBY therefore started with a in-depth qualitative research wherein new and existing customers where interviewed about their recent contract renewals. During this interview, a customer journey of the whole purchase process was explored with each participant: from the first trigger and broad orientation, to the deliberation of relevant options, the decision to sign a new contract, and the receipt of the fully functioning phone and/or sim card. Each step in the process was explored in depth, taking time to understand what the participant did and why, but also reflecting on how it did or didn’t match prior expectations.
In the analysis of the customer journeys of these participants, a ‘typical’ customer journey pattern of 21 steps could be identified. This customer journey was represented on a big poster, wherein each step was visualized, shortly summarized and supported with quotes from the interviews. For each step, key consumer insights were formulated: recurring problems or opportunities for improvement. To connect this poster with the existing Vodafone data, another poster was made, linking the steps and insights to the quantitative data mentioned earlier. This poster gave Vodafone a complete overview of the actual current situation, and worked as a handy tool to discuss and prioritize the various problem and opportunity areas.
Keeping the focus on customers while improving the customer journeys
Based on the research data, the individual departments (online, store and telesales) made lists of improvements and categorized them according to the effort it would take to solve them. Some improvements required little effort and could be implemented quite easily. Other problems were more complex and had to be analyzed further in order to come up with adequate solutions. STBY supported Vodafone in both.
First of all, in order to quickly implement the easy-to-solve problems, STBY made scenario’s to show where and how the solutions would fit in the improved customer journey, to point out the potential effect they could have. For this, the participants interviewed during the research where once again the starting point. By taking their individual customer journeys as a basis and by mapping the solutions on them, scenario’s were developed and visualized on a new set of posters. Introducing the solutions in the context of potential new usages made it very clear how and why these solutions would benefit the Vodafone customers. After printing and attaching the posters in a strategic place in the office (i.e. close to the coffee machine), the posters really became a popular tool for joint conversation and reference. Teams often gathered around the posters to discuss what to implement first and why. They also used them in presentations and added sticky notes with additional ideas on them.
Secondly, for the more complex problems, workshops were organized wherein multidisciplinary teams from Vodafone worked in groups towards deepening the problems and deriving opportunities from them. STBY organized a couple of those workshops and participated in others that were facilitated by THNK. In a collaborative effort new service concepts were developed. STBY made a couple of illustrations of these concepts to help communicating them to the wider organisation. These illustrations support team leads within Vodafone to explain the core idea and to gather a team which will help them to gradually implement it.
Throughout this project, insights from actual customer experiences were a red thread in the work. They helped making sense of the quantitative data, helped prioritizing particular problems, inspired the development of new solutions, and provided a context to test those solutions. Also, by focussing on communicating the results of the process in a very visual way, the results of the research and the workshops naturally spread within the organization and provided a common language to support the multi-disciplinary project team.