Publicis.Sapient was helping Accor Hotels during their digital transformation process. After several months, a lot of work had been done to map the existing hotel owner and guest experiences. It was now time to turn a selection of value propositions identified into something more tangible, generating new concepts for features / products or services, validating them with users and learning from results, initiating a continuous test-measure-learn loop. We were also asked to coach Accor staff on putting a user-centric approach into practice, help them identify quick wins and longer-term opportunities.
The Discovery phase was already well advanced when I got involved in the project. Over 20 experience maps had been made, and over 20 new value propositions were identified. In order to spearhead the Digital Transformation process at Accor by example I was asked to render 3 of the value propositions more tangible. This meant generating a series of concepts for new features/services/business rules, conducting experiments to validate them and outline an ideal future experience embodying the value propositions.
Before starting research activities I was asked to train the Accor team on deriving actionable insights from observations. We did a 2-hour workshop with a practical exercise which was instrumental in making people aware of the process and value of research applied to an everyday activity: Finding a hot beverage in the morning.
Armed with our technique to turn research into action, we started interviewing Accor staff from different business units: Customer service call centre, Usabilla reports, Customer insights team, Emails team, Web forms reports, Hotel staff software teeam, among others. After a few interviews we started gaining insights into key pains and gains experienced by Accor guests through the lens of our 3 value propositions, and started mapping them along a typical customer journey.
I conducted a simple ideation exercise around generating multiple divergent concepts for addressing the pains and gains we identified. People sometimes focus just on solving pains as solutions can be easily deduced, however that is rarely enough to outclass competition. So we did a second pass to maximise gains and add delighters to the experience where appropriate.
We needed a way to test all our hypothesis so I spent some time sketching how they might manifest themselves to end users. After a few internal tests and discussion we fine-tuned the concepts and produced higher fidelity mockups intended for communicating the concepts and testing with guests.
We didn't have much time as the projected was shortened due to budget cuts, so we recruited 5 participants to test the concepts and coach the Accor service-design-lead-to-be on the process and value of testing. I created a simple protocole to identify the perceived value of the different concepts for guests and gain deeper insights into their context, concerns, pains, goals, needs and aspirations.
We learned a lot from the tests:
- which concepts resonated the most with guests, and which ones to avoid
- improvements to certain concepts
- identified new pains and gains to take into account during future explorations
- deeper, richer understanding of guest context, needs, goals and aspirations
I condensed and added the key learnings into the initial experience maps so stakeholders at Accor could follow the reasoning behind the proposed features and services, so they can see where they can best create value, prioritise and derive actions for their respective roadmaps.
Accor were delighted with the outcome of our 5-week process for making Value Propositions tangible. Not only did they get a set of short-term measures they could put in place to improve guest experience straight away, but they also got a set of new service concepts to explore feasibility in the long-term and, above all, they felt empowered by a set of new tools and a user-centric perspective for driving product strategy.