Identifying who our suppliers are
When I joined, our supplier facing team in Booking.com Taxi was heavily focused on increasing the number of events we received from our suppliers with the hypothesis that more events equaled a better pick-up experience. However, after identifying a large gap in our understanding of their user needs, I raised this to the leadership team and ultimately conceived and executed a research plan that altered the direction of our supplier tooling entirely.
What I did:
Research planning, execution, and archetype creation
Big gaping gaps
It was odd to me when joining that Product had a clear objective to increase the events received from our suppliers without any real understanding of their processes or exactly how those events took place. With nearly 300 suppliers at the time, it seemed inconceivable to me that they all worked the same and followed the same processes. Though, without any research to back my hunch, I had to pitch the value of what knowing this could bring to the company.
The wind-up and the pitch
I formed a research plan that included contextual inquiries with two separate suppliers at their dispatch offices where we could observe their everyday inner workings to understand them in their most natural form. The second part of the proposal involved driver interviews at the airport, just before the drivers were scheduled to meet their passengers so that we could better understand the people who our customers were meeting and the issues they faced.
Well, needless to say, Leadership bought into the proposal or you wouldn’t be reading this case study 😉
Wow… we had no idea
After spending just 2 days with our suppliers it brought light to processes and numerous job roles we were completely unaware existed. We saw the excruciatingly painful process of how “Booking Coordinators” imported all of their bookings. We learned how “Traffic Coordinators” manage flight delays and ensured drivers arrive on-time. One supplier had an in-house app that all the drivers used where the other managed their schedule through excel spreadsheets. The list goes on and on but from our findings, we created 5 different personas.
Tip of the iceberg
This base research was incredibly insightful. It gave us the information we needed in order to create the fundamental questions to ask the rest of our supplies in order to form proper archetypes. Questions such as fleet size, dispatching software, pick-up type, etc. This resulted in an enormous spreadsheet that we then filtered with the key criteria to formulate four archetypes in total.
With archetypes in hand… now what?
This research completely rerouted the focus and objectives of our supplier team. We were now able to understand which archetypes provided the best customer experience and why. We took these learnings and focused on the supplier segments that needed help in achieving this higher level of quality. We could do this now by building them what they needed rather than imposing new processes and tools into their already existing workflows.
“Incredible work and transformative in the light of how we think about our supply partners, how we acquire and manage them. Well done!”Managing Director
“One thing I can say for sure is that Miranda is just obsessed with delivering the best customer experience possible. She's always thinking of better ways to serve the user and build a great product. She would go and interview users who are using our product or even chat with the transport partners to understand their pain points and bring back valuable feedback from them into the team. She never hesitates for once thinking something is outside the scope of her role for once and jumps into it headfirst if it'd benefit the team. [...]”Product Lead