Shaping communication to improve the experience of car travel

Published 16 Jun 2021 6 minute read

Our client, an expert in customer relationship management, sought a user-centred approach to develop mobile driver communication support in Thailand.

A holistic view of the driver experience was essential to shape and inform strategic planning. On this basis, FUEL Research & Consulting were commissioned to explore car journey making from a driver’s perspective, including the various pain points and frustrations associated with travel.

The team at FUEL Research & Consulting recognised the need to use an ethnographic approach capable of capturing journey moments in context and in real time.

Traditional ethnography was too expensive and impractical, it would have taken far too much time. Researchers sought to exploit drivers’ relationships with their mobile phones to get as close as possible to the real journeys being made.

Access was a vital consideration and Further’s flexible online qualitative research platform offered the perfect opportunity to engage participants in different exercises and gather feedback for a rich holistic impression of overallexperiences
and occasions.

The Solution

20 car drivers were recruited to reflect different business and leisure requirements. Participants were tasked to record journeys during a 10-day period using text, images and video clips to capture journey moments and frustrations.
In addition, mission based tasks, discussions, idea generation exercises and projective techniques were deployed to supplement understanding. This offered the opportunity to explore inner thoughts and feelings, and add greater depth
of understanding using desktop-based exercises for more thoughtful considered responses.

Further shared advice on best practice for participant engagement and activity design to leverage the full range of benefits using the online qualitative approach. This helped to achieve excellent levels of participation with exceptional quality feedback.

 In total 140 journeys were shared including 700 photos and 80 video clips

FUEL Research and Consulting brought driver journeys and experiences to life, helping the client to develop a stronger sense of customer instinct and empathy.
In total 140 journeys were shared including 700 photos and 80 video clips. Further’s online qualitative research platform held a number of distinct advantages:

  • The ability to engage on a longitudinal basis developed understanding of the journeys made on different occasions – from the planning stages all the way through to completion
  • Taking images and short videos was relatively non-intrusive
    when busy ‘on the road’
  • Participants were able to upload media and comment at times and places where it was safe, and during occasions when they had more time to reflect
  • Engagement remained high as participants were able to express themselves using the media that they felt most comfortable with. Some preferred writing, others prefer taking images and videos clips with audio commentary
  • Because drivers uploaded their photos and videos, those involved in the project didn’t just hear the problems, they saw them and felt them Compelling ‘real life’ examples promoted stakeholder engagement, inspiring future communication development with clear points of action. On this basis, bringing the voice of the customer to the business shaped communication development to make car travel more comfortable and enjoyable.

 The project was a great success with exceptional levels of engagement. Together with thousands of words, we captured over 700 photos and 80 videos from only 20 participants. When planned carefully, mobile ethnography provides this great balance between researcher and participant- led agendas. You learn some wonderful things based on questions that you never even asked or thought about.

Craig Griffin,
Chief Insight Officer, FUEL Research and Consulting

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