Case Study: Liberty Global

Pan-European retail transformation

Liberty Global is the world's largest TV and broadband provider, connecting 21 million customers under the brands of Virgin Media, UPC, UnityMedia and Telenet.

Innovation is at the core of their vision and they are constantly seeking ways to transform and improve how customers engage with their services in both the physical and digital world.

Delivering best in class customer experience

As well as a huge online presence and e-commerce platform, Liberty Global has many physical stores where customers come to try out products, talk through their subscription and hardware options and get help and support in person.

We recently carried out the research, design and prototyping of an enterprise mobile solution to tie in with the redesign and launch of the UPC flagship Swiss retail store. This tool, housed in an iPad, was able to display and demo products, as well as answer care and support questions. In short, it allowed busy staff to deliver the best in class customer experience, without exception.

Objectives

Our first task was to understand the needs, motivations and pain points of several user groups. We uncovered that many of the store's customers tended to either want to find the right products to buy or needed help solving an issue they were having with an existing product.

Interviews with staff revealed they had to deal with multiple things - trying to keep up to date with the latest products and subscription options, as well as troubleshooting questions from customers, including technical enquiries. It became clear the staff encompassed varying levels of experience, ranging from store managers to casual weekend workers.

Next, we needed to engage sufficiently with the staff, extolling the benefits of the tool we were developing so that they would become its enthusiastic ambassadors. We were keen to glean as much insight from the staff as possible, since co-designing with end users is often the best way to generate great products and also helps with onboarding of the new processes and new tools.

Results

We delivered:

  • A full map of the customer and staff journeys across physical and digital channels
  • Prioritised user stories with complete technical evaluation of all back-end systems required
  • Fully interactive prototypes on devices with all journeys from the map accounted for
  • High fidelity design and interaction patterns documented ready for development

Understanding the challenge

We analysed the previous 12 months data from the call centres, as well as the analytics across the sales journeys on the websites, to get a quantitative view of the problems Liberty Global’s customers face.

We built on this broad view with ethnographic research in some of the retail stores. This allowed us to observe the staff using their current tools in their natural environment. Coupled with staff interviews, these insights informed a large scale mapping exercise where common journeys and pain points were connected to the players in each scenario.

Working across multiple countries

A major challenge Liberty Global face is to understand both the universal user problems in their sector whilst acknowledging the nuances between each Liberty Global brand in their respective countries.

To best understand how to deal with this, the team set out to conduct a series of interactive workshops across Europe with representatives from head office as well as the retail stores themselves. In these workshops we presented the journeys we had identified and the different brands from each country helped us to iron-out the quirks and technical constraints of their particular country.

Building innovation in an iterative way

We took everything we had learned into the build phase, adopting agile working in an iterative sprint based process to produce a series of high fidelity prototypes for the tool. The final product showcased the brand and the technology available to them on a handy iPad interface. This allowed maximum freedom for staff to move around and create a truly collaborative feeling to the sales experience.

We knew a major advantage of an in-store sales experience was being able to showcase a product in all its visual and audio glory. To this end, demonstration tools were built for staff to show prospective customers.

The prototypes encompassed a complex subscription customisation tool so that customers could select the groups of products that really suited them best. We were able to accommodate the various combinations and bolt ons that Liberty Global offer in a way that made the products feel simple and understandable.

We were able to build in support tools to help staff answer questions around products and services. This included a series of account look-up and amendment features that had previously only been possible to resolve by staff phoning the call centre on behalf of the customer. A series of troubleshooting and diagnostic tools meant that the top ten customer queries found in the research phase could now be answered immediately in-store.

Retail staff were delighted with the tool and in just ten weeks major stakeholders had a clear roadmap to digital transformation of the in-store sales and support journey.

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