Q&A: The need for humanised mobile solutions - Mobile World Live

Q&A: The need for humanised mobile solutions

30 AUG 2018

Gary van Broekhoven, head of customer experience at mobility services company DMI (pictured), believes developers creating apps for enterprises need to listen closely to what the end user wants.

In an interview with Mobile World Live, he explained these users often know the solutions to their issues, and it is the developer’s job to help achive them – rather than just coming up with their own implementations.

What is meant by a humanised mobile solution?
Gary van Broekhoven (GVB): One that is developed and designed based on consumer insights. To achieve this, app developers must understand their end user’s behaviour, something solely accomplished through user interviews, observations, and continuous testing throughout the development process.

It is only when this occurs that a solution fulfils its purpose.

For example, I have found time management systems in workplaces are often hard to use. In such circumstances, it appears whoever designed it clearly never spoke to the user or asked for any feedback to understand their needs.

As a designer, my role is to figure out both why a company is building a solution and how the user would use the solution instinctively. This creates a humanised mobile solution.

What’s more, businesses that don’t serve their customers end up losing them and eventually shut down. History is littered with companies that are no longer with us because they stopped listening and serving their client’s needs.

How can companies better understand customer behaviour?
GVB: There are a number of tools for carrying out research and learning about a customer’s experience. Such tools can be used at different stages in conducting research both at the beginning, in the interview process and later on, when it is time to code the information to devise your strategy.

I have devised a method called GRAMS which aims to guide a conversation at the interview stage, to pinpoint and draw out all the important areas of the customer experience.

Tell us a bit more about GRAMS
GVB: GRAMS is a consumer insight method to help developers quickly discover customers’ goals, reality, alternatives, motivation and, ultimately, the solutions.

GRAMS guides an interview conversation so that app makers can understand what people’s goals and objectives are; learn about their current circumstances and motivation; understand solutions already on offer; and find out the customer’s solution to a problem and support them in achieving this.

Can you give examples of companies that have done this well?
GVB: I think the O2 platform and the Virgin Red loyalty app are good examples of apps that have massively grown and are used by millions.

This is because, in both circumstances, the value of using the app is clear to the customer: both were based on listening to the users and, consequently, created easy-to-use apps.

Does the humanised approach apply to chatbots as well?
GVB: Most definitely. Before you begin implementing machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) technology to a chatbot solution, you must understand your customer’s current experience and what it is they are looking to solve. Once this is established, through human-to-human conversations, you can begin to identify the most important cases that chatbots can solve.

In my opinion, too many chatbots are currently poorly implemented, which suggests those businesses do not value their customers enough to allow real humans to help. That said, when used correctly, bots can be used to find a solution faster – though for this to happen, research around the customer experience should have been executed beforehand.

What role can AI play?
GVB: At this point, AI can be used to identify patterns and automate tasks, but currently the fundamental understanding of users is best attained through understanding the customer’s experience, achieved through interviews, observations and consistently testing your product with your customer’s feedback. Remember, “it’s not what your customer drives that counts, but what drives them”.

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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