Pick any five, change anytime.
I was in charge of the whole design project, exluding the landing page.
I had seven weeks for the design phases.
I delivered a user research report, three user journey maps, three workshop briefs, one concept testing result, three usability testing results, and other miscellaneous items.
Why pay something you never watch.
"You know what, our data shows our customers spent 80% of their time on no more than five channels." This data alerted me a lot while we were having the lightning talks with the Marketing Team and the Analytics Team in Fios TV Test Drive design sprint. After Fios TV Test Drive project is done and received significant impacts on both customers and business, I started to dig more and wanted to have another conversation with them to see if we can explore opportunities to start another TV plan, which would allow users to pick and pay only for channels they watch.
After more than three months of silence from the Marketing Team and the Legal Team, I finally got a green light on this. Yes, once again we put customers' interests on top of our business interests, and I knew it would be paid back in the end.
It makes total sense. For every Fios TV plan we have, there are at least hundreds of "filler" channels that you have to pay but hardly watch: It is due to some legal and contractual reasons, but it ultimately deteriorated our user experience, deterring our prospects and loyal existing customers from enjoying our great content and simply walk away. If our customers walked away, then how Fios TV can still gain profits?
This is especially true when OTT streaming services are rising and eat a big portion of the market. We need to challenge and revolute ourselves before it is too late. We want to stop customers from making compromises.
Verify from users.
Objective data only does not warrant a successful design. As user experience designers, we need to hear directly from users to uncover more and verify. I partnered with the Research Team and conducted a feasibility survey. We asked users to list all their favorite channels and wondered if they would like to "Do-It-Yourself" their unique Custom TV plans versus pre-defined Custom TV plans. We sent out 5000 questionnaires via email and received 143 valid copies of the questionnaires back, in which results were shockingly one-sided.
1. When asked about listing their favorite channels, 101 out of 143 surveyees, listed five or fewer channels.
2. When asked about DIY Custom TV versus pre-defined Custom TV, 127 out of 143 surveyees would like to give it a try if the price was right.
3. 85 out of 127 surveyees were willing to pay slightly higher pricing to get more flexibility on "Custom TV" if it was truly customizable.
4. 101 out of 127 showed that some free sister channels that came with Custom TV can help incentivize them to sign up.
5. 122 out of 127 would love to be able to modify the channels at any time.
A product thinking process.
I wanted to start with a Product Thinking process this time, in which the following questions would be disentangled:
Part 1: User First
Problems: What problem do we solve?
Target Audience: For whom are we doing this?
Part 2: Job-to-be-done
Vision: Why are we doing this?
Strategy: How are we doing this?
Part 3: Output
Goals: What do we want to achieve?
Features: What are we doing?
Part 4: Outcome
Impact: What positive impact did we create?
By disentangling the questions above, we would be able to fill out the following blanks to make a statement about what our product is.
What is our product?
In order to______(Vision)
our product will solve______(Target Audience)
problem of______(User problem)
by giving them______(Strategy).
We will know if our product works when we see______(Goal)
and they feel______(Impact).
I discussed with my manager and thought a workshop could be a perfect venue to disentangled these puzzles, so we went ahead and get started.
Part 1: User First
Problem and Target Audience.
I wanted to state the problem from the user's perspective before anything else: after all, it was fundamental to this project. The problem here was, our customers were shouting for flexibility and freedom to choose and pay only channels they wanted to watch. They kept complaining about missing channels in the current so-called Custom TV plans they selected, and they were stuck in this two-year commitment unless they were willing to pay more.
The target audience we wanted to target first was the prospects and later phased to existing customers, covering everyone who was not afraid of cherrypicking some channels they or their family love.
Part 2: Job-to-be-done
Vision and Strategy
So why are we doing this? It benefits both customers and business: For customers, statistically and behaviorally, they want to have the freedom to choose whatever they want to watch and reduce the payments for those channels they do not watch, and this in return will help us drive satisfaction rate and NPS higher, which will result in higher New Acquisition Rates. For business, as long as our customers are happy, we would have more new acquisitions, and more revenue will come along. The so-called "common industrial practices" does not make it the right thing to stick to. Apparently, our vision here is to break "industrial practice" and empower our prospects and existing customers with their very entitled freedom and flexibility.
How are we doing this then? I start to think. One thing I want to avoid is to be solution-driven other than problem-driven, as solution-driven will derail you into a "tunnel vision", which makes you see only what you can see. Focus on problem, not solution. The core of the problem is our customers feel they are limited and forced, it includes freedom to make changes and pay less money. At this stage, I explored different strategies and conducted six interviews with research team to ask users to rank each concepts, each one had two votes. This is the ranking I got:
1. How about we allow them to choose several of their favorite channels, and they only pay for those channels they selected? The more channels they select, the more free channels they get. It got eight votes.
2. How about a day pass, weekly pass, or monthly pass, with which they can watch any channel they want? Perfect for those who only watch TV intensively within a period of time. It got two votes.
3. How about a metered TV plan in which we charge users only by how long they watch, and if they do not watch at all, we do not charge them. Perfect for those who do not watch a lot of TV. It got two votes. Apparently, most of our customers watch TV regularly.
4. How about we offer a free trial period and they can quit without penalty? It got no votes. It does not resolve flexibility issue on choosing TV channels at all.
I went back and forth with legal team and business team to understand if this most picked strategy worked on business side as well. I got some good news, with some revisions. Our strategy now allows users to choose five of their favorite channels, no more and no less, and depending on which channels they select, they will come with free sister channels. Customers can change these five channels free of charge once every month. There is no contract and no equipment fee. Customers only see free channels after they have finished selecting five favorite channels due to contractual reasons with content providers.
Part 3: Output
Goals and Features.
What do we want to achieve is what we called "goals" and goals produce clear results. With strategy settled down, my goal is simply to craft a product that would allow users to choose and modify their very own favorite channels.
What are we doing is what we called features. Features are the fractional piece of the product I want to craft. With vision, strategy and goals in mind, I break down this product into the following core features:
Users can select five channels and see what channels they have selected.
Users can make changes to five channels.
Users can see all free sister channels after five selections are done.
Users can search to find channels.
Users can compare different sister channels (I intentionally made it harder to compare sister channels due to legal reasons with content providers.)
Users can quit this plan at any time.
Some concepts during the workshop
That said, we came up with different concepts during the workshop.
Overall, my concept got the most votes, so I started to reiterate based on my concept, and borrow ideas from other concepts we created. I created multiple versions for further testing.
I, together with the Research Team, did a comparison study to see which one users prefer. I want users to lead the actual design because they know themselves better than anyone else.
After several rounds of additional testing and iterations, I nailed down the final design.
Please reach out to me for an interactive demonstration)
Part 4: Outcome / Impact
Give users freedom back.
If Fios TV Test Drive is to help customers choose from pre-defined plans, Fios Five takes a step further to break the bundle shackles and gives users true freedom. Same as Fios TV Test Drive, it was a huge success in the market. Statistically,
New acquisitions increased by 7.4%
Sign up rate was 34.7%
Call-in rate reduced by 25.9%
The average profit per customer is $3.54 higher than the Custom TV
The average satisfaction rate is 73.9% higher than the other TV plans
Through designing a product that fits users needs, we get more profits, with higher NPS, and we reduced our operational cost due to fewer call-ins. And most importantly, our customers are very satisfied.
Users are leading the design.
I learned two things from this project:
For any successful project, we always want to create a close connection with users, focusing on their issues, and use them to lead the design.
Focus on problems, rather than solutions to avoid tunnel vision during the design process.