Allowing members to access their digital account in store

Membership is at the centre of everything at the Co-op and the Membership team works on ways to make it better.

I’m on the ‘Trading more’ Membership team and this week the first of 3 stores will get a Membership touchscreen for their shop floor. We’ve built 3 interactions.

1. Helping customers become members. The touchscreen gives high level information about Membership. Customers will be able to enter their email address and we’ll send them a link with details on how to join.

2. Encouraging temporary card holders to register and become members. The touchscreen lets temporary card holders see their rewards balance. They can’t spend their rewards until they register the temporary card so the screen asks them to enter their email address so we can send them a link with details on how to register.

3. Helping members add rewards after they’ve completed a transaction. The touchscreen asks members to type in a code from their receipts and adds rewards to members’ accounts for transactions when they didn’t swipe their card.

photograph of colleague Nancy using the touchscreen in the office. Touchscreen shows Nancy is signed into her account, she can see her rewards and she can add a missed receipt.

Why we’re doing this

The Co-op retail team is refurbishing 3 stores as we start to digitise them so we’re trialling touchscreens there. Firstly, we want to find out if customers and members will engage with us digitally, in stores.

We hope that the touchscreens will:

1. Improve conversion rates

We want to increase the number of people registering their temporary cards online. We’re hoping that the touchscreens will make membership more visible and help remind people of the benefits of being a member. By leaving an email address we’ll be able to nudge them to register their card and reinforce that message. We’ll track the conversion rate of customers leaving an email address and becoming members, or registering temporary cards.

2. Help users ‘do it themselves’

If members don’t swipe their card during a transaction, they can ask for a special receipt which allows them to add their rewards to their account later. They can do this themselves online (which accounts for 20% of visits to the site), or they can call the contact centre. These calls make up 8% of the membership-related queries. We hope the touchscreens will make things faster and simpler for members as well as reduce the number of calls our contact centre colleagues have to field.

Learning from user research before launch

We invited some people to come and test our screen in the Co-op Digital office. Seeing how people interacted with the screen was great and we made changes to improve the user experience based on what we saw.

When members and temporary card holders signed in, our original journey asked them to tap ‘Scan your card’ and they’d scan their membership card on the scanner. We found that the majority scanned straight from the home screen and were confused that it didn’t sign them in. We have now added in this functionality to make things smoother.

We also wanted to find out the type of data people would be willing to enter on the screens. We had a hypothesis that customers would not want to go through the full registration process on the screen because they’d need to enter personal details potentially in full view of other customers in store. Our user research told us we were right: almost all participants said they would have an issue entering anything other than an email address.  

What’s next

The screens are only a trial in 3 stores but if proven successful we could roll them out to other stores. We will use user research and monitoring to help us decide our next priorities.

We’ll post again and share how things go.

Liam Cross
Lead business analyst

Vicki Riley on user research at Co-op Digital

We’re recruiting user researchers.

If you want to help digital teams build the right thing, and if learning about how people behave and why sounds interesting, you might be a good fit. Have a look our job description for more details.

Our user research team come from really varied backgrounds. Here’s Vicki’s story.

(Transcript) Vicki Riley: I’ve been a user researcher for just coming up to a year now, I’ve been at the Co-op for 2 years. Originally I worked on the analytics and optimisation team. That involved looking at the the data so Google Analytics to find out what people were doing on our websites. But being a user research now I can really delve into why people are behaving in a certain way and shape the products that we’re building based on that.

User research is about understanding the behaviour of people. So rather than asking people what they would do we would prefer to observe them. So with colleagues that could involve shadowing in-store, spend a day in the life of a colleague who works in one of our food stores to really get to the bottom of what they’re trying to do, what their pain points are and shape what we’re building based on what we’re seeing rather than just what we’re hearing.

A huge part of user research is kind of getting out of the building, going out to the places that our users are working or spending time. There are a lot of assumptions in Angel Square or in any business there are assumptions and without speaking to the people who use your services or use your products you’ll never really find out what’s happening, you’ll never really get to the bottom of it.

I love working with designers and interaction designers, content designers. They’re really involved in the research and they bring a different perspective to things. They have different backgrounds, different experiences, different knowledge so it
really helps to have a diverse group of people doing the research analysing the
research.

I’m learning something new pretty much every week because I’m working on different teams and moving around a lot learning from people who’ve done user research but 10, 20 years so for my personal development it’s been brilliant this last year I’ve learned more than I have in my entire career.

I’ve wanted to work at the Co-op for a long time ever since I’ve finished University. They’re a company that really makes a difference in the community and I think user research has an opportunity to shape that, to shape what we do in the future.

Vicki Riley
User researcher

 

Steve Foreshew-Cain: the Funeralcare service exits beta and Design Manchester has begun

(Transcript) Steve Foreshew-Cain: Hello and welcome to this week’s Co-op Digital update.

Well since I last spoke, our Membership app trial with our colleagues has begun and over a thousand people have already signed up to join the trial. They’ve been giving us loads of feedback already and we’re learning quite a lot from it so we’ll be sharing what we learn on our blog.

Some other great news, the service that we’ve been working on with our colleagues in Funeralcare has exited its beta phase. There’s been a lot of hard work since we did the initial inception back in April 2016, but as a team were really proud of the product that it has been built and the amazing job frontline colleagues have done to help us design a service that we have proven works and will give colleagues time back to care more. So big thank yous to all of those involved.

Now you may remember a few weeks ago I told you that The Federation had been nominated for an Inspired Places Award 2017. Voting opens today and we’ll share the link on our blog and our Twitter account so please, please vote and remember if you’d like a tour of The Federation, get in touch with Victoria Howlett who can arrange that.

This week also saw the start of Design Manchester, Manchester’s annual design festival. It runs until the 22nd of October and there’ll be talks exhibitions workshops films and loads more across the city celebrating design in all its various forms. We’ll be running and speaking at several events this year too so we’ll be talking a lot about service design, something that’s really relevant to what we do here in the team. Everyone’s welcome so please once again, the links to register will be on our blog. Please take advantage.

Now, yesterday it was our pleasure to host the first Northern Data Governance Forum. It was great to welcome lots of organisations to share their thoughts and experience on data governance. Thank you to Catherine Brien and Ian Thomas from the team who were amongst the speakers there.

And finally this week Kate Towsey has joined us as a user researcher and she’ll also be helping us build our very own user research lab in The Federation, so welcome Kate, it’s great to have you onboard.

That’s it for this week you’ll find our latest vacancies on our blog and don’t forget to subscribe for all of our updates and follow us on Twitter.

We’ll see you next week.

Steve Foreshew-Cain
Group Digital Director

 

Co-op Digital talks service design at Design Manchester

Today’s the first day of Design Manchester 2017, Manchester’s annual design festival. From today until 22 October, there’ll be talks, exhibitions, workshops, films, fairs and parties across the city celebrating design in its various forms.

The Co-op is sponsoring the festival, and Co-op Digital is running and speaking at several events this year too. We’ll be talking a lot about ‘service design’ – something that’s really relevant to what we do here at Co-op Digital.

Group of people at The Federation for the launch of Design Manchester this morning, 11 October.

What do we mean by ‘service design’?

A ‘service’ is something that helps someone do something. Co-op services help our customers and members to save money; give to local causes; find out where their local Co-op store is and when they’re open; make a will or organise a funeral. These are just a few.

Co-op Digital has helped our Funeralcare team to give time back to funeral colleagues, so that they can spend more time with families when dealing with bereavement by putting parts of these services online which has made things simpler for users.

For businesses, service design is an holistic, end-to-end design approach that takes into consideration business, customer and colleague needs and creates shared value.

Service design is about collaboration and this is reflected in the events we’re involved in at Design Manchester.

Here’s a round-up.

Service design jam days

Service designer and user researcher Kathryn Grace from Co-op Digital is leading a two-part, co-created event on consecutive Saturdays. The first ‘jam’ day will be an introduction to the importance of service design in a city. Different companies and organisations from Manchester will be sharing skills and their approaches to service design.

The second jam day will be an opportunity to put into practice some of the things we learnt from the first day. The aim of the second day will be to develop a service within 24 hours.  

Read more about the service design jams

We have a great design community in Manchester and we’re privileged to help showcase those in service design. 

Panel discussion: Service design and Manchester

Technology Engagement Lead Emer Coleman and Co-op’s Group Design Director Ben Terrett will be part of the panel to discuss how cities grow and evolve. The panel will specifically be talking about how Manchester can attract people and businesses that can develop and maintain vital services that make a city work and make it an enjoyable and easy place to live in.

Read more about the Service design and Manchester event

Design city reframed

Co-op Digital’s Lawrence Kitson will be speaking about service design as a team sport. He’ll explore how we can make a difference and affect change by co-operatively designing great end-to-end services that solve user needs and provide shared value.

Read more about the Design city reframed event

Everyone’s welcome (not just designers!)

Yep, this is Design Manchester so we’re expecting to see a lot of designers over the fortnight. But our events are open to all. If you have an interest in how Manchester’s future is being shaped and how cities ‘work’, these events will be of interest to you. We’re mostly aiming to open up discussion and get people talking about, and sharing ideas about, the design of services across Manchester.

Kathryn Grace
Service design and user research

Gail Mellows
Designer

We held a massive retro and this is what we learnt

Holding team retrospectives helps us make sure we keep questioning the value in the things we’re working on and the ways we’re working. Retros give us a chance to reflect and learn.

At the Co-op, the Membership team is made up of 8 smaller teams with separate sets of objectives. Each small team holds regular retros and although they’re beneficial, we wanted to try a really big, joined up retro to see how that could help the wider group.

Photograph of a wall with hundreds of post it notes from the mega retro stuck on it. The big membership retro write up is written in red pen on the wall.

Six discussion points with long-lasting benefits

As a delivery manager, hosting retros falls under my remit. What I love about hosting them is that there’s no right or wrong way of doing them and I have the chance to experiment with different formats each time.

This time, after discussing them with other delivery managers, we chose these 6 giant retro topics:

1. Autonomy – how do you feel about the support, tools, skills you have and how trusted are you to get on with things?
2. Purpose – what’s your understanding of why you come to work and how your work contributes to the bigger picture?
3. Mastery – do you feel you have the opportunity to develop and use your skills?

These 3 ideas come from Daniel H. Pink’s book ‘Drive: the surprising truth about what motivates us‘. Of course, we want our teams to feel motivated so talking about things that contribute to feeling that way is important.

We also spoke about:
4. Agility – how agile are we and how could we be better at working in this way?
5. Unity – how well do we work as a team, support our colleagues and feel able to ask for support?
6. Thoughtfulness – how well do we learn from mistakes and take alternative action?

All 6 of these topics are general enough that any digital team could use them in a retro.

The nitty gritty: how we did it

We split into groups of around 8 people – the average size for most of our individual team retros. We chopped our time into six, 20-minute rounds which felt like just enough to explore a topic but not enough time for people to lose interest.

Photograph of some of the membership team standing around a whiteboard talking about the thoughtfulness topic.

Outcomes: reality, aspirations and ideas

People had a lot to say. They had over 500 post it notes-worth of things to say in fact which is great: it means they felt the environment was safe enough to raise their issues. We grouped the post its into 22 themes and worked through each theme to figure out:

  • what our reality is now
  • how we’d like things to be
  • how we could make that change happen

We dot-voted on each theme to help us prioritise our actions.

The team came up with hundreds of ideas for how we can improve but one popped up again and again: dismantling and redistributing our central test team and giving crews more responsibilities for testing, quality and releasing. So that’s how we’re working now.

Try this at work

The general consensus for us was that holding a massive retro was useful. We found it’s worth keeping these points in mind though.

  1. Organisers will need to commit to a couple of days preparation and evaluation before and after the event.
  2. There’ll always be sceptics. Don’t let them stop you giving it a go. If it’s not valuable for your team, you don’t have to do it again.
  3. Be prepared to act on feedback quickly. If you don’t, there’s no point doing the retro.
  4. Don’t try and fix everything at once. Prioritise a couple of things and let the team know you’ll be addressing those things first.

If you’ve tried a retro on this kind of scale we’d be interested in finding out how it went and what effect it had on team morale. Let us know in the comments.

Rob Wadsworth
Delivery manager

The last 2 weeks in Co-op Digital

As always, there’s been a lot going on over the last fortnight. Here are 8 highlights.

1. We put our app for members live on Monday and so far we’ve had 1,000 colleagues sign up, with 500 downloads. We’re trialling it with colleagues and a handful of members at the moment to validate our assumptions. Users can give us their feedback through the app and we’ll post more about what we’re learning and where we’re going next as the trial continues. You can read about our discovery into the app and our progress 2 months later.

2. The Leading the Way team went to a conference for Food store regional and area managers. We showed off our products How Do I and My Schedule and got some great feedback. We also ran sketching sessions with over 200 attendees! We asked the field teams to share their ideas on how life could be made easier in store which was a really useful exercise. We also got lots of validation on things we are already doing.

3. Congrats and thank you to data scientist Alex Waters who organised our first data hackathon. Around 50 folk from around the Co-op Group teamed up and worked with data that wasn’t familiar to them and used tools they’d never used before. You can see highlights of this massively valuable event on #coopdatahack

4. Our Head of User Research James Boardwell and our old colleague Tom Walker have set up a meet up for user researchers, User Research North. Tom wrote a post explaining why they’ve co-founded this group and last night they held their first event at The Federation. Speakers included Gillian MacDonald, user researcher at Co-op Digital and major foodie, and Mark Branigan who worked with our Funeralcare team.

5. We held our first show and tell for everyone who works in The Federation. Each organisation described what they do and what they’re working on. Here’s to more of these cooperative vibes please.

6. Danielle Haugedal-Wilson has been asked to join our Co-op Member Council. She’ll help make sure that members’ opinions and concerns are heard at the highest level in our business. Nice work, Danielle.

7. Alberto Brandolini came in to show us how to do some ‘event storming’. Alberto says this technique helps teams “tame complexity with agility” and by helping them understand the bigger picture. Thumbs up to Gemma Cameron for organising this.

8. Lastly, hey there and welcome to our new starters. Digital Engagement Manager for The Federation, Rebecca Rae and quality analyst Paul Carey have joined us.

If you’re interested in working with us, have a look at our work with us page. You can also follow the blog and follow Co-op Digital on Twitter.

Gail Lyon
Head of Digital Engagement

Life as a software engineer in Co-op Digital

Software Engineer Nancy Richardson shares her thoughts about working in the Digital team.

(Transcript) Nancy Richardson: What I love about working here at Co-op Digital is I feel that at the end of the day that I’m making a difference. The products that we have are very well thought out and I’m also excited about the future as I’ve heard of some of the things that Co-op could be working on in say five years from now. Also I enjoy the diversity of the people I work with, we’re all different ages, different backgrounds.

I was attracted to the role because of its full stack and polyglot approach. This makes the work very varied, you could be working in the front end, back end, or on DevOps, and every sprint could be focusing on a different area of the stack, so this makes it very interesting. And I come from a Ruby background but now i’m learning Java which is really different from ruby but I feel very supported.

I’m learning from my colleagues on the job and there are also code show and tells. There’s even dedicated learning time. I think now is a really good time to join the Co-op because Co-op Digital is starting to expand so you have more influence in helping develop our standards, our ways of working, our teams stack and our practices.

Nancy Richardson
Software Engineer (Membership)

We’re looking for engineers at the moment. If you’re interested take a look at our Work with us page.