Research, journeys and strategy
Profound opportunities can emerge when research is able to explore the breadth of the user journey from start to finish
The problems and opportunities that organisations choose to address can sometimes appear limited in scope. In this case – there was a desire to improve an existing web component offering functionality for configuring a car; its model, style, trim and accessories. What was missing was knowledge of digital and real world user journeys and behaviours to provide an understanding of what, how and why customers did around making a car purchase decision.
This holistic view enabled a perspective not only revealed a solution for useful changes to a car configurator component – but also highlighted overall strategic opportunities, as well as tactical executions – all of which offered substantial advantages over competitors.
Audi was considering changes to a Car Configurator component within it’s web and mobile portals. Car Configurators are common to auto manufacturer web experiences and were believed by Audi to be a key part of the user journey and highly valued by visitors.
We discussed how to approach the work, and agreed that it was important to understand the context of both digital and real-world user journeys leading to a Car Configurator, how people engaged with the Configurator when they arrived, and what they did afterwards leading towards a purchase decision.
- I pitched for and won the work from Audi
- built a small team (a researcher / designer and a note-taker observer)
- facilitated production of the audience recruitment spec and hired a supplier to arrange interviews
- managed the project team and conducted interviews myself
- worked with the team to produce a controlled vocabulary XLS sheet suitable to hold both quantitative and qualitative data
- analysed the research findings
- managed the production of a stakeholder presentation and a 1.5 x 3.0 metre wall chart as a synopsis of findings
The project process
A total of 50 individuals were interviewed in-person or via Skype who were living within urban and suburban areas of London, Manchester and Birmingham as well as other folks based in rural areas.
Although primarily a digital project, the entire customer experience was considered and mapped onto a 1.5 x 3.0 metre wall chart. This included detailed findings firstly for customer circumstances that generated purchase triggers; needs and uses for a vehicle alongside financial situations. A segment followed which highlighted research / shopping activities, one of which was visiting the manufacturers website – a component which we focused on in-depth. Finally, behaviour around test drives and purchasing decisions were investigated.
The customer journey map which was produced displayed the full range of behaviours revealed in the research as well as a stats lane to indicate where significant numbers of individuals were engaging in a specific type of behaviour. Further information included quotes from customers to humanise and contextualise their feelings around their experiences. And finally, strategic recommendations were produced for each customer journey segment.
Outcomes / results
This was a robust piece of work which produced a valuable roadmap for Audi UK, providing an opportunity to refocus strategy in a manner which is congruent with customer behaviours and needs.
There was a great benefit in holistically examining the user journey / customer experience of purchasing a vehicle. When comparing the findings to the customer experience offerings from most auto manufacturers, we found that only a very small minority were somewhat in-synch with the needs, beliefs and behaviours exhibited by customers.