There's nothing better than the licence to innovate and a client who is willing to be bold and let us experiment. Luckily for us, that's exactly what happened. With a set of 10 legacy products, a customer base of 3.6 million across 148 countries and a herd of commercial partners to keep happy, this relationship was driven by a desire to innovate from the very beginning.
Our client's travel product was a successful and profitable business with a strong network of commercial partners and airport relationships. It provided high value benefits for customers, primarily offered as a loyalty benefit by financial sector partners.
Our work together began when our client was in the early stages of developing their exciting new travel experiences proposition. They had a vision of transforming their business away from relying on an anonymous relationship with consumers through partners to an increasingly direct engagement with consumers, engaging with a broader and higher-value range of services.
To progress this transformation, our client asked us to help articulate the core service model, uncover insights from a global sample of customers, and collaborate in the creation of the future service experience for the new proposition. This turned out to be the start.
Over the next three programs, we worked together to define and validate a completely new product proposition, create a product migration strategy and digital experience for customers, and set out the vision and experiences needed for our client to become a global travel platform.
Early builds of this product are currently available in markets globally.
The travel industry has been through the wringer in recent times. A growing demand for business travel pre-2020 was followed by the utter carnage of a global pandemic and, more recently, cost of living crisis. Businesses have had to be savvy, pivot when needed, and create services from scratch to meet rapidly changing demands. So, rewinding to 2019 – if you had looked at our clients' successful and profitable businesses, you may have wondered why we were trying to reinvent it in the first place.
Well, that's the point. Every business, no matter how well they appear to be performing, should be focused on building new propositions with the potential to become tomorrow's core business, and our client was brave enough to agree. Although their product was successful, it was reliant on outdated consumer behaviours in an increasingly digital travel ecosystem. They saw the possibility of the cliff's edge and came to us to help them do something about it before they got there.
Through a combination of fresh perspectives, lateral thinking, and modern approaches to strategy and design, we have worked together over the past few years to continue to realise the untapped opportunities there are in the markets our client has strong footholds in.
Insight driven proposition development
The aim of our first engagement in 2019 was to visualise the new product propositions' digital customer experience and map the entire service ecosystem with all its touchpoints. A significant moment in this engagement was the customer research.
You see, the new proposition was exciting and had generated a lot of buzz for our clients stakeholders – research was seen as a blocker to many and we were struggling to get the buy-in that would allow us to conduct essential research with consumers across territories to explore, refine and de-risk the new proposition.
To prove the value of research for our excited stakeholders, I worked alongside lead researcher Lauren Coleman to design, plan and facilitate a series of customer focus groups that be would held at our clients headquarters in the UK. These focus groups were designed to actively engage these stakeholders in the process – having the customer focus group in one room and stakeholders watching remotely next-door, mapping insights as they heard customers reactions to the new proposition in real-time.
This provided a common and enduring understanding of what was seen and heard during the research and fuelled the desire to continue conducting these focus groups across the globe.
My role in this process was to design and prototype the assets required for the customer focus groups. I created the assets for the customers to use and give feedback on, as well as the assets that our stakeholders would use to map their findings. To define these assets, I worked with Lauren to scope the sessions to focus on the ‘sticky’ parts of the new digital experience. On the day, I co-facilitated the consumer focus groups, mapping their reactions and keeping them engaged throughout.
Ultimately, this work directly provided new opportunities for the developing proposition and was used to update the wireframes, prototypes, and futurestate service blueprints that were becoming increasingly closer to production.
De-risking consumer migration
Our second engagement began in March 2020 as our client was well on their way in the development and roll-out of their new digital product proposition for B2C customers. However, the question of how they would "migrate" their existing 3.6 million customer base from their 10 legacy products onto a new single proposition, while keeping their commercial partners happy, was a lingering business challenge.
This is where we were asked to step in. To map out and design the experience for a number of migration journeys. This was to help ensure that each key customer migration process had been well thought through and clearly documented to underpin a range of business processes for our client, their network, and issuer partners.
My role on this programme of work was to lead the mapping of the processes and experiences needed to migrate customers from each legacy product to the new product proposition. These process maps would form the basis for the digital experience that my colleague Stephanie Fletcher would design.
I’ll always hold this piece of work as an impactful one on my career. The sheer number of legacy products and processes involved were challenging to bring together. To address the complexities of the number of legacy products involved, I ran numerous co-working sessions with stakeholders from across the business to map out these processes product-by-product.
This programme ran for 6 weeks and concluded with a consistent set of migration process maps outlining the steps required to migrate customers from current legacy products to the new one.
Outcomes & the future
Each engagement with this client has been designed to drive the progress of the original vision for the new digital product proposition. With the success of the product in the market today, my most recent engagement with this client has been to explore the opportunities that emerged throughout the previous programmes.
My role has been primarily focused on identifying a series of broader business opportunities that sit beneath the new product proposition by running co-design sessions with stakeholders from our clients' network and their issuer partners. This culminated in a programme focused on creating a holistic digital access experience for customers wanting to use multiple partner products within the product proposition.
Over 12 weeks, I defined and validated a design strategy to promote customer access across our clients' products. This was delivered as a set of futurestate service blueprints articulating best practices for the management of self-serve customers and developing the visual storytelling outputs for our client to improve their commercial partner relationships.
This design strategy is now an ongoing internal initiative for this client.
Global travel experience company [NDA]
2019 – 2022
Service Designer – Jack Strachan, Lead experience design – Stephanie Fletcher, Lead Product – Julie Jouault