Paul Rouke
Founder & Director of Optimisation
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  • User Research
  • User-Centred Design

5th May 2020

7 min

The world will never be the same again. Businesses will never be the same again. Sectors will never be the same again. People will (hopefully) never be the same again. 2020 is already proving to be the most profound transformation of humanity that anyone has experienced.

As I sit here in my living room writing these words, I pray for each and every person that has been affected negatively with current circumstances. I also pray for all the owners of businesses large and small that no matter how they have been or are being affected currently, they will come out the other side taking positives from what has happened.

PRWD in 2020

Here at PRWD, if you would have told me 1 year ago that today, May 5th 2020:

  • We would all be working from home
  • We would no longer have an office
  • We would be a team of 3

I would have wondered what the heck you are on about!!

As it is, this is the reality, and recently I shared a detailed look at how PRWD has changed dramatically along with surviving potential bankruptcy. Looking ahead into the rest of 2020 and beyond, I would like to share how we are helping businesses.

7 Ways We Are Helping Businesses in 2020

1) Uncovering insights which make you more customer-centric

With such unprecedented changes going on in the world, within businesses and from a consumer perspective, like never before companies are needing to adapt and become more customer-focused.

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For me, when a company commits to becoming more customer-centric, and if needed evolving their culture and mindset, this is absolutely timeless. It transcends a whole business. It provides companies with a greater chance of surviving and thriving through challenging circumstances.

Since I started PRWD in my bedroom over 15 years ago, I have had this passion for wanting to help companies we work with to pay more attention to their customers. To have more humility, investing the time to speak to their customers 1–1. This passion is as strong as ever!

2) Speaking to your customers & prospects in their homes

With the current lockdown and also once it is lifted, speaking to customers in their homes will continue to be an incredibly valuable activity for companies to invest in. This type of research, titled remote user research, allows companies to get a glimpse into the world of their customers and potential customers.

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Since 2017 we have conducted an increasing amount of remote user research, primarily using the fantastic platform Lookback.

The Lookback platform allows us to speak to and conduct research with anyone wherever they are in the world, on both desktop and mobile devices. It allows us to live stream the research sessions to our clients. It provides instant access to the recordings for sharing across your business.

Lookback provides an incredible platform for understanding customer behaviour, perception, expectations and motivations through remote research.

3) Understanding how to improve your full customer experience

For most companies, the customer experience isn’t just the website. Whether there is a customer service team, live chat, email communications, text messages, delivery drivers, apps — these days there is a range of ways we can and often do engage with customers and prospects.

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Uncovering where friction points exist in different areas of your full customer experience can lead to important improvements which make a real difference to your brand perception. Little touches to show that you care about your customers can go a long way, and help create advocates of your business.

Since 2018 we have worked more and more on full customer experience research studies, primarily using the incredibly powerful platform Indeemo. We have conducted multi-channel research studies for brands including Allianz and Sofology, and we are seeing more and more interest in companies looking to start understanding friction points in their customer experience.

4) Applying our research & UX design across any sector & anywhere in the world

Understanding your customers and prospects, and designing a better customer experience, isn’t just for certain sectors such as e-commerce. Any company, in any sector, can benefit from investing in user research and user experience design.

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Since I started PRWD one thing that I have aimed to do is work with companies across many sectors — always applying the same research and design methodology, and simply tailoring it to the sector, the audience, the experience, the objectives.

What this does mean is that over the last 5 years we have worked in a diverse range of sectors with a range of different size brands. Here are just a few:

  • Education — Kumon, Manchester Business School, UCLAN, Lancaster University
  • Sports — Red Bull, Nike
  • Charity — Oxfam
  • Mult-channel Retail Games Workshop, HSS Hire, Moss Bros. Harveys, Bensons, Cotswold Outdoors, Lakeland, Paperchase, Wilko, Schuh
  • Pure-play Retail — Clos19 (LVMH Group), BeerHawk, King & McGaw, Suntransfers
  • Travel & Leisure — Skyscanner, Center Parcs, Day Out With The Kids, Manchester Airport Group
  • Financial — Allianz, Sage, Bank of America, Carfinance 247
  • Public Sector — NICE
  • Price Comparison — MoneySupermarket, Compare the Market
  • Other — Ditto AI, Vehicle History

5) Designing & researching proof of concept experiences before one line of code has been written

More and more companies are looking at ways of designing new experiences and getting some sort of validation on them prior to moving into the often costly and time-consuming development phase.

Since 2016 we have been using various UX prototyping tools to not only design new experiences, but then conduct research on the prototypes. This type of approach, “user-centered design”, has such immense benefits for companies — not just the time and energy it saves in futures development costs.

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What we have seen in the last 2 years in new and richly powerful UX prototyping tools which allow us to design rich and immersive experiences, closely matching what people will see on the live website. From these prototypes, we conduct research and identify refinement opportunities and new customer-led suggestions for incorporating in to the prototype for further research.

With company budgets now getting even more compressed due to financial impact of current circumstances, I feel more and more companies will be looking to reduce the risk of moving into a costly development phase without genuine customer feedback on what is being planned.

6) Being completely honest and transparent

Particularly with everything going on in the world, businesses and people within them are looking more and more for what is true, and people are wanting to work within transparent environments.

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Integrity has and always will be something that is core to PRWD. Working openly and transparently is how we work. Now more than ever it feels like what is so close to my heart is what companies are looking for.

7) Being completely specialised and focused on what we do

Now more than ever I feel companies are looking for specialists to add value into their business.

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With the huge changes that have taken place within PRWD over the last 12 months, now more than ever are we relentlessly focussed on what we know we are best at:

  • Conducting behavioural research across the full customer experience
  • Carrying our user-centered redesigns of complete user experiences
  • Providing training and consultancy for companies aiming to become more customer-centric

Thank you for reading this, it is hugely appreciated.

If you and your business are looking for a new agency to help you navigate through 2020 and come out flourishing, please get in touch with me paulrouke at prwd.co.uk.

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