What was delivered?
This is a service design project which I contributed as a researcher and designer.
Our own confusions in UPS Corporate versus UPS Store led us to explore more about the gap and to come up with a feasible, more personal strategy for local UPS Store. Our client is the UPS Store by 10th St near GT campus, owned by Jack Frank, a veteran store owner since early 2000s. A new pickup service is introduced through research.
Story 1: Sophia went to the UPS Store for a prepaid envelope. She was told she could only get the envelope but had to go back on UPS.com to buy the prepaid label.
Story 2: Omid was moving out from campus and had to check out really soon. He went to book UPS pickup but found he cannot specify the time slot he wanted.
Story 3: Yuno lived near campus and found her package damaged. She called the nearest UPS Store at 10th Street for help but was told it was not their responsibility.
Wiki says: "The UPS Store network is the world's largest franchisor of retail shipping, postal, printing and business service centers......The UPS Store, Inc., franchiser of The UPS Store brand, is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Parcel Service (UPS)."
Customers say: “I always think they are from the same company, like a retail outlet? I just take it for granted.” “When I don’t want to go through the long forms online, I just go to the store. They are the same thing right?"
Jack the Store owner says: “No we don’t hire UPS driver, we don’t know where your packages are, and UPS will send consultant to us but mostly we have to take care of ourselves."
Let’s start from our client perspective before dealing with those huge ones of UPS. Our goal is to diversify and enhance the service from UPS Store on 10th St, who has been serving Georgia Tech students for more than 10 years.
- A more clear-cut service spectrum
- More revenue sources
- Personal touch to local customers (mainly students), instead of just a cold number assigned by UPS: Store 2557
- A seamless experience for customers online and offline
Research & Analysis
It was an adventure for us to be with the staff at the UPS Store, observing, taking notes and learning how to pack a Macbook Pro. Our interview questions focused on average transactions, profitability, experience, complaints, and their past attempts to improve customer services.
More quick interviews were conducted with the students visiting the store, mainly on their service choices, and potential interaction with Store website versus Corporate website.
Our observation and interview notes brought us a general idea about how the service is provided, touchpoints, pain points and opportunities.
Based on our research, we mapped out stakeholder eco-system and typical customer journey to identify opportunities and pain points.
Drilling deeper into the pain points and opportunities via brainstorming, we came up with three service ideas and brought them back to Jack with our stakeholder and customer journey map for this client pitch. Ideas were also shown to several student Store visitors via similar “speed dating” protocol in order to get feedback and preference quickly.
1. Change store configuration to invite self service and staff will work together with the customer on the same side of the counter - more trust, closer relationship.
2. Pickup service run by UPS Store, covering paper work, drivers, payment and handling in a more efficient, convenient manner.
3. Store locator plug-in to lead customers to individual store website for detailed service type and direct interaction with increased awareness.
Jack likes both ideas for store locator and local pickup, but concerned about changing the layout of the store from idea1. Customers love the idea of local pickup, also questioned about their usage frequency of the store locator if they live nearby.
Based on the preliminary research and speed dating, the local pickup idea stood out for further consolidation. We integrated the new pickup service with the current UPS Store website. On the other hand, the solution should take the drivers into consideration as well, which need to be mobile, linked with customer’s information, and could deal with payment. Other issues were taken into consideration:
- Phone reservation: the line of visibility should be moved up for Store staff to deal with more information
- Partially complete forms: users don’t want to fill in all information and they might just don’t know them all; Personal information should be stored for future usage
- Stop before making too much effort: if the customer really gets an urgent delivery(and that’s why they choose local service), they should know if it’s available or not and when
- Payment: pay online and/or pay on spot
With all suggestions and constraints, we develop our new service blue print and storyboard:
↑ Required form: minimum viable information for a pickup
→ Optional form: always welcomed to add more information
↑ Home page: Clearly notify next available pickup time
← Style guide: color, button, shadows and more
↑ Tracking: Profile information with recent activity for tracking
↑ Account: save for future usage
↑ Driver's homepage: see the upcoming pickup request with time slot, location and form completing ratio
→ Detailed shipment form: the driver could see the information needed for the shipment and fill it with the customer then get paid
Early on, we decided not to change the world - we didn't want to rebuild UPS or redesign fancy tech companies’ business models. We want to talk to local businesses who have been here for us GT students and make real differences. Luckily we got Jack and his coworkers who are supportive and passionate about what we do.
Beyond these research and mockups, we still need to conduct further prototyping and formal user testing for more iterations on features and interfaces. However, what values most is our attempt to think from process, from each touchpoint, from front and back stages, from a view of a journey. All of these are beyond an app or a website interface, emphasizing the logic and mechanism of the service. It’s definitely more challenging - interactions go offline, with real person, in different locations, and run asynchronously. All these reminded me my past days as an industrial engineer - optimization under constraints - but in a more user-centered approach:)