Bringing Answers Closer to the Surface
The Ask Ford platform is a new self-help section on owner.ford.com surfacing key answers to common customer questions only Ford can address.
- Information Architecture
- Website Development
- Customer Experience
How might we help Ford customers get the answers they need faster?
Though the Ford Owner site holds a plethora of knowledge, customers’ still experienced frustration and difficulty as the Net Promoter Score plateaued and the number of calls to customer service representatives (CSRs) continued to rise over time. FordLabs was engaged on this journey to identify top priority customer questions and to ultimately improve the customer experience to find help.
UnearthingAll the Gaps
As owner.ford.com covered a broad range of topics, we needed to identify and narrow down the specific topics that were most questioned yet imposed the highest level of frustration.
Through various experiments, we began to gain an understanding of the customers’ common answer-seeking behaviors. We synthesized our findings into insights that de-risked assumptions for potential solutions.
Gathering & Analyzing Web Analytics
First, we realized we had no insight into how customers were interfacing with the Ford owner pages–where they were going, what they were trying to find, how their experience was. To circumvent this, we quickly pulled existing analytics reports showing site performance metrics and sorted through past user feedback which provided an in-depth analysis of current site usage.
A key takeaway was that customers desired to find answers quickly without being overwhelmed by numerous options and without the barrier of logging in. They also dreaded calling a CSR due to long wait times, the fear of being judged, and impeding language barriers.
Deciphering User Claims & Actions
Next, we assessed how effectively existing content communicated the necessary information through guerrilla usability testing. We showed participants different versions of phone-to-vehicle pairing instructions, observed their actions, and gathered their feedback.
Based on the assessment, we found that though users claimed to prefer video tutorials or images, a majority of the participants did not choose to use visuals in reality. This showed that the higher effort required to produce high quality video or image tutorials were not the leanest viable solution for us to pursue.
Uncovering Most Valued Features
By conducting a ‘Buy a Feature’ experiment, we uncovered the features that customers truly value. By giving participants fake money to make purchases, they showed us that their most valued features included an accessible search, live chat messaging, and guided question paths. They also showed that a chatbot was least preferred because it seemed impersonal.
It’s overwhelming to look at all this. I’d just search “pair my phone with SYNC” because I don’t want to bounce around all these articles to figure this out.
The Ultimate Guidefor Customers
By focusing on the most important questions customers were seeking answers to, we were able to design and build a new self-help guide that surfaced these answers to the top.
Additional barriers to entry were lifted such as removing the unnecessary layer of logging into one’s account prior to viewing content, which resulted in increased customer engagement.
This new platform primarily included an accessible search engine that returned relevant results and a guided question path that showed only the six most frequently asked topics. Content findability which was at first an overwhelming experience of duplicative, overlapping, and irrelevant answers is now a guide that empowers customers to choose their relevant and intended path to accurate answers, which increased user task success and customer satisfaction rates.
The Ask Ford page has now replaced a fragmented and confusing experience with one that offers clear visibility and transparency to the most visited content. It is directly accessible globally at help.ford.com.
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