At Arnold Clark, Europe’s largest independent car dealership, I led a project seeking to use technology to “roll out the red carpet” for customers. As the sole designer on the project, I transformed the test drive experience, increased customer satisfaction and massively increased conversion to sale.
Working with a cross functional team of developers and product managers, I conducted comprehensive research, including mystery-shopping, telephone interviews and analysed statistics from our live chat logs and customer service complaints records. I mapped out the customer journey from first curiosity through to customers driving away their new car. It didn’t take long to discover the pain points in the journey.
My research revealed that the back and forth of organising an appointment to see the car of your dreams could be simplified; previously users had to submit a request, then wait for a sales team to contact them.
Based on our research I designed out a flow and worked with the development team to build an MVP. Each morning we sifted through a raft of emails to manually arrange appointments with branches - automating that feature would have taken far too long to test our hypothesis.
However the design of the experience didn’t stop on the website. I worked with Arnold Clark branches to ensure our service included personal touches that interviews with customers had revealed were an important factor in them feeling comfortable when buying a car. For example, in our prototype customers would be greeted with their car parked at the entrance of the branch with a personalised sign in the window and a member of staff ready to help them out.
We rolled out the feature to a limited number of branches to begin with. I checked in with the sales manager after each test drive to see how it went and collect any feedback that could help us improve the service. Our primary metric was vehicle sales but we were also interested in qualitative feedback from the team at the branch and customers. We personally emailed customers asking about their experience. We also measured fine grained metrics like bookings completed and customers’ arrival rate to identify where improvement was needed.
Although our sales team was giving good feedback, we only saw a small number of customers using our feature to book a test drive. We focused on increasing the number of users interacting with the feature through a series of multivariate tests. Our small changes resulted in a significant increase in online test drive reservations, as well as maintaining our high conversion rate.
After our pilot we made further improvements and set to work automating the manual steps and creating a roll out plan for other branches. By the end of the project our feature had a conversion rate from booking to sale of 54.8%, significantly higher than the 11.4% of the former enquiry method.Next project