The Challenge

Carfinco provides automotive loans for new and used vehicles to Canadians utilizing a network of franchises and select independent partners. In order to enhance the experience of their customer and meet their future vision, Carfinco identified the need for envisioning a new and more expansive online customer experience. This new vision would change not only how typical customers interact directly with Carfinco, but also ensure customers have positive, consistent, and efficient experiences.

The Solution

With the desire to harden their vision, Carfinco partnered with DevFacto to generate and develop new customer experience ideas and understand how technology could assist in their customers’ self service. DevFacto recommended an approach focused on the ideation methodology; an efficient and highly effective way for organizations to experiment with ideas and uncover an ideal solution by combining creative solutions with technical possibility. For Carfinco, this meant engaging key stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs) to collaborate with DevFacto throughout the process.

Ideation Benefits

  • Ideation participants build empathy for other business units
  • Consensus is built without boring requirements meetings
  • Iterate and optimize a solution without costly consequences
  • Communicate visually to have meaningful conversations

Mission and Success Criteria

To kick things off, DevFacto facilitated a session to define the mission, constraints, users, “pain-points”, criteria for success, and workshop participants to help guide the remainder of the process. The resulting question, or mission for the following workshops, was defined as “how might we improve our customer’s experience?”

Inspiration Sessions

Inspiration sessions to educate and inspire both DevFacto and Carfinco team members were held with a focus on divergent thinking, or creating choices.

Participants began by writing down their own ideas to the mission question; these ideas were focused on simple and concrete thoughts without story telling or explanations. Through context switching techniques, DevFacto was able to continuously draw fresh ideas from participants. Some of these contexts included:

  • customer perspective vs. CSR perspective
  • infrequent vs frequent processes
  • simple processes vs. complex and tedious processes

Once ideas had been generated, a second exercise was facilitated to organize these ideas into groups. During the grouping exercise, the team was challenged with solving questions around how ideas may be combined, simplified, or removed completely. The grouping exercise provided an open environment where participants continued to challenge ideas and think freely.

At the conclusion of the inspiration sessions, DevFacto evaluated the findings to create a mind-map and high level information architecture, which visually indicated ideas, groupings, and questions that were generated as part of the exercise.

Prototyping

Now that a series of ideas had been generated it was time to start utilizing convergent thinking techniques to get closer to a viable solution. DevFacto’s User Experience (UX) specialists facilitated these sessions through interactive “paper prototyping”, where each participant was provided a pen and paper to start creating their own paper mock-ups. Once the mock-ups had been generated, the best and most important elements were moved to a larger page that would encompass a more concrete prototype, built from the generated ideas.

Once the ideas had been prioritized and the paper mock-ups were complete, DevFacto evaluated the findings. But this time, clickable prototypes were created to provide a more concrete product that could be reviewed and improved upon.

Design Review and Iterative Improvement

With a more concrete design established, DevFacto met again with Carfinco SMEs to review the design. Carfinco SMEs were provided with scenarios and tasks to be executed against the clickable prototypes. The design review process with the SME group spanned three sessions to allow for iterative and continuous improvement based on feedback from each session.

Once the SME group had completed the design review phase, the key stakeholder group was re-engaged to walk through the prototypes to determine any risks, constraints, our additional business rules to be worked into the developed prototypes.

The benefit of following this process is that it provides a concrete and visual representation that allows users to interact with the solution much like they would a fully featured application. The result is that participants can outline obstacles and identify missing business requirements at a much faster rate and with more accuracy than traditional requirements gathering sessions.

The Outcome

As a result of the ideation process, DevFacto was able to recommend an approach that Carfinco not only understood, but also had confidence in due to their involvement and guidance throughout the ideation process. With that in mind, the development of the new Customer Web Portal kicked off shortly after the ideation process completed with confidence that the overall customer experience will be improved due to a richer self-service offering and reduced call wait times for actions that require Customer Service Representative (CSR) interaction.

“DevFacto empowered us to view our project differently by utilizing the ideation process.  This process gave us a higher level view of how we wanted our customer experience to flow and identified potential issues before the build instead of after we went to production.  It also allowed DevFacto to integrate their teams deeper into our requirements so when it came time to build, the transfer of concept and data to the development teams was easy and efficient.”

Galen Gower, VP Business Development, Carfinco Financial Group Inc.

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