Design a system to help restaurant owners (Merchants) to receive reservations requests from nearbuy customers.
Overview of Nearbuy:
The initial business model of nearbuy app is to provide the best deals in the city. Thereby, encouraging customers to step out.
To provide hassel free customer experience and keep a track of billing cycle of each merchant. Nearbuy had introduced NearbuyBuisiness App which was given to the merchants to redeem the voucher or deal bought by customers.
To close the loop of step out experience (search — buy — book — pay)
It was a design initiated project. Thus, my role was to work very closely with the sales head and product managers to convince them about how the solving the proposed problem can help nearbuy coming at par with competitors and create better experience for merchants and customers of nearbuy.
As a product designer, here is the process
- Analyze the competitors in the market
- Qualitative research by booking a table using other platforms
- Use data to quickly validate the assumptions
I tried to identify these problems by interviewing the customer support executives and sales executives of nearbuy.
- Introduction of reservation system keeping in mind the nearbuy customer.
- Use of minimum dev effort for MVP
Here I tried to divide the user in two groups merchants & customers. I wanted to identify the following with the help of the user interviews.
- Why merchants prefer reservation from nearbuy customers?
- How reservation will help to provide better customer experience?
- The painpoints during the journey?
Key Interview Questions
These are few of the questions to understand the merchant’s outlook towards the reservation and to validate the proposed solution by the business which reservations.
- Is reservations important for you?
- How it helps you?
- For how long do you hold a table for a customer in case he does not reach on time?
- How would you like to get the reservations requests?
From Nearbuy Customers:
- Do you think making a reservation before is helpful?
- Tell me one situation where you have reserved a table but you were asked to wait?
- How do you prefer to make a reservation?
After interviews, I tried to create the Job Stories with the PM’s so that we both can come on one page and understand merchants needs and fears.
We had a long sessison but I have highlighted the main job stories.
Understanding the current behavior of Nearbuy customer:
With the help of analytics, I wanted to understand the buying pattern of the nearbuy customer. As I believed, that it will be important for me to propose a concrete solution.
Data analysis: (as per the data for Oct and Nov 2017)
Maximum users redeem the voucher in 0 to 1 hour after purchasing it which indicates the following
- User decisions are quick and spontaneous.
- User will prefer purchasing a voucher once she is sure about the plan of visiting an outlet.
- User is not willing to block the money in purchasing deals for the future.
After doing a user research, I was clear that the simple reservation process might not work for the nearbuy merchants and customers as I have to keep the operation and current user flow in mind. Therefore, I divided my ideas into short term and long term plans.
Short Term Plan
- Allow merchant to accept or reject the reservation
- Accepting reservation with waiting time
Long Term Plan
- Auto accept reservation by the system
- Auto accept reservation of defined set of reservation by merchants
- Pausing an offer in case of an event
Launch & design Strategy
Introduction of Reservations Through IVR Call
To introduce and test reservations in a cost-effective way.
Provide merchants the ability to take action on reservations through IVR call.
Reasons for adoption:
- Easy to adapt by the merchant
- Easy to implement
- Easy to design and develop
- Low investment by business
- The merchant does not take a call.
- The customer does not turn up on the reserved time.
- The merchant went during the different timeslot.
- The merchant cancelled the voucher after making the reservation.
I wanted to think of script which is short and can be learned by merchnats. Therefore, after few iterations I decided on this.
The experiment showed, that merchant generally dont deny the request as he do not want to loose out on the business. He generally accept the confirm and ask user to wait. Thus, 2nd option has worked well for keeping the communication clear between both the users.
- 7 out of 10 of merchants respond to 1st IVR call
- 8 out of 10 merchants respond to 2nd IVR call
- Around 2 out of 10 merchants either did not respond or customer support reach out to them on an alternative number.
- 7/10 merchant was taking action on the call thus, the customer experience on nearbuy.com is not hampered.
- Since it does not require a smartphone or any training. It helped users to adapt to it easily.
- Lose track of bookings that he has received
- Lose track of no. of redeemed bookings
- Poor network
- Details about no. of guests is not provided
The method of responding to reservation through IVR call is fine but wasn’t built around helping a user to keep track of the bookings in a friendly manner. Thus, there is a need visual platform to help them keep track of the no. of bookings and redemption of booking.
- Relying on cost-effective method to test the MVP
- It was a success in terms of providing a good business outcome with fewer development efforts.
After the first iteration, to achieve the business goal which is to increase the adoption of business app. The decision was taken to introduce the reservation and offers on nearbuy business.
Introduction of Reservations and offers on Merchant App
To launch reservation feature on nearbuy business app and web to achieve the primary business goal.
- Provide merchants the ability to view and take action on reservations on the nearbuy business. .
- A lot of merchants don’t have the smartphone
- Internet connectivity issue in some areas
- Responding to an IVR call is easier
- User is not much tech savvy
- Gives merchant freedom to set an offers and reservation type
- Easy to track the reservation details, voucher details and payments
- Adoption is to the app was slow due nature of the users