Digital transformation within SME's

How the transformation contributes to an optimal customer experience

Research by Capgemini shows that as many as four in five consumers (81%) are more likely to spend money on a product or service at a company where they get a better customer experience. The customer experience is more than ever crucial for a business to survive. As an organisation, you should not underestimate this.

But how do you keep up with the rapidly changing expectations of your target group in this area? And what role does the customer experience play in the digital transformation? We will explain this on the basis of our Eurail case, in which the customer experience was central.

What is a good customer experience?

A good customer experience is characterised by high customer satisfaction, little dropout and a target group-oriented approach. Putting the customer first is therefore crucial during the development of new products and services, which influence the customer's experience with your brand. After all, it is not your experience, but a customer experience. That is why the customer's opinion is central to the development of new digital products. The feedback you get from customer-oriented sessions is very valuable and ensures that you always offer your customers and users the best customer experience.

Eurail case: optimal customer experience

The Eurail/Interrail pass offers travellers a rail pass for all of Europe, with which they can easily visit various destinations. Eurail offered these travellers a good app that was popular. However, this app was limited in its possibilities, because it only showed the train times and schedule. The necessary papers and Eurail/Interrail pass were sent by post. Travelers had to store this pass carefully and fill it in with the destinations they had visited, as a kind of diary.

In the Design & Discovery process that we did with Eurail, we focused on the user experience. We set to work on developing a completely new app and experience, with the starting point: ‘Best trip ever’.

Fase 1: Research, understand and define

In the first step of the project, we mapped out the challenges, researched the needs of the users and clarified the objectives of the platform. We did this on the basis of desk research, customer data, market data, target group research and interviews with both users and internal stakeholders.

According to internal stakeholders, the app had to be improved. Until recently, the current app mainly functioned as a travel planner, but did not fulfil any other functions. Moreover, the app was not a basis for further development. It was also important to replace the paper Eurail/Interrail pass with a digital, improved version. Finally, Eurail wanted other services to be developed to achieve the ‘best trip ever’ objective. Which one exactly would become clear from the interviews with the users.

For example, target group studies and interviews showed that a social component was less important for travellers. Travelers did not have much need to make connections with other travellers on the train, while this was an idea from the stakeholders ...

Fase 2: Idea generation, prototype and validation

In the concept phase that followed the first phase, we translated the developed vision into an actual solution. The ideas resulting from the research phase were analysed. Could they really offer solutions to the challenges and problems that had been identified? Did they provide a better customer experience? The best ideas were turned into a prototype. This prototype was then validated with the users, but also with people in the target group who had never used the app. Through these tests, we discovered whether travellers really wanted the solutions we had come up with.

The users turned out to be very enthusiastic about the fact that the app could also be used offline. Travelers often had a data bundle that ran out quickly or was not valid at all in Europe. Hence, this was an important feature for them. Another idea that was well received and was therefore further expanded was about discounts on hotels, among other things. After all, the users of the app were (and are) travellers. We therefore built a functionality that allowed us to offer travellers exclusive discounts on hotels and other amenities in the destination city. The prototype was carefully validated and the results formed the solid basis for the third phase of the project.

Fase 3: Product backlog, MVP and Roadmap

In the last phase of the Design and Discovery process for Eurail, the validated products were converted into a product backlog, an overview of all parts of the new application to be developed. This was an important part of this phase to determine the final costs and schedule. Together with Eurail, we determined the minimal product (MVP = Minimal Viable Product) with which we would go live based on this backlog. The definitive live date was also set for this MVP.

‘Best trip ever’

At the end of this process, Eurail knew exactly which validated parts they needed, how they fit within the current IT system and what the roadmap looked like. This brought them significant benefits.

  1. Better user experience: by integrating the ticket into the app, travellers no longer had to keep a diary of the destinations they had been to. This was all automatically saved by the new app. The offline functionality was also incorporated into the app. This was one of the important demands of the users in the concept phase. This not only made the app a functional tool, but actually helped the user to experience the starting point ‘Best Trip Ever’, by inspiring them and serving them on a personal level.

  2. Work more effectively: the app made the ticketing component much simpler. Previously, travellers were given a paper ticket. That part of the customer experience had to be improved. With the new app, this old-fashioned cost-waster was a thing of the past, by now putting the ticket digitally in the app. Logically, this immediately saved costs, as paper tickets had to be printed and sent by post - whether the user lived in Amsterdam or Australia. These costs were a thing of the past with this transformation. Moreover, the data and the more efficient process provided Eurail with much better insights into travel behaviour than before.

Would you also like to start with a Design and Discovery process?

We call the three phases that we have gone through the Design and Discovery Process. This process is based on the philosophy of design thinking. In this, a company's challenge is converted into a prototype, like the one for Eurail. All in all, it has resulted in a greatly improved customer experience for Eurail. And it doesn't stop there, because we constantly test choices based on user data and interim validations.

Do you also want to start with a Design and Discovery process? Please contact us on +31 (0) 35 737 02 20 or info@elastique.nl.

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