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User Research Case Study

#research #userexperience #interviews #surveys

Market and User Research for OVO Energy

The Customer

OVO is the UK’s leading independent energy technology company and supplier - they serve nearly one million customers with intelligent energy services.

Today OVO is not only an energy retail business: it is a group of innovative, dynamic companies, all striving to harness technological advances with great customer propositions to create more abundant renewable energy for everyone.

The Request

OVO Energy was planning to land in Spain. They were looking for a partner to help them adapt their product by researching the Spanish market and its user needs.

The goals of the project were finding out why and how customers change energy supplier, to understand the experience in retail energy from Spanish customers and how they want their signup process to be.

The Idea

What makes a consumer choose a (new) energy service? Because OVO Energy should convince the Spanish consumers to make the switch from the users current provider to them. We want to give the solution for this by conducting research.

We split this up in three stages; in-depth interviews, participant surveys and a new round of in-depth interviews. We wanted to start with qualitative research, after which we could quantify it with surveys. Then a final round of interviews could validate our final hypotheses.

The Challenge

The challenging thing about this project was on one hand completely understanding a users behaviour in energy consumption, and then also identify what makes the Spanish user different from the British.

WHAT

- Products and services users prefer
- Triggers them to action
- Users are willing to spend

WHERE & WHEN

- Users search
- Users get more information
- Users join

HOW

- Users search and solve questions
- Users take decisions
- Manage issues

WHY

- Users look for alternatives
- Decide to switch

Our Work

Our Role

We were in charge of the market research process. We partnered with Teacup Lab in Madrid to conduct the interviews in their lovely lab placed downtown. We managed the project entirely from discovery to reporting and we are still collaborating with OVO Energy to ensure they can digest all takeaways provided after the study.

As usual we encourage co-creation among all the profiles involved, frequent updates and quick remote work sessions. Our goal is always to make sure that the team collaborates seamlessly including stakeholders and professionals and we make the most of all available points of view, to ensure the quality of the research.
online hangouts meeting

Interviews

Interviews give insights into what the user thinks about an interface or a process, and are mostly a qualitative research method. You gather relatively little data that focuses on how a user feels and thinks. They can point out what site content is memorable, what people feel is important on the site, and what ideas for improvement they may have.

For this project we conducted interviews in different stages. First to help us figure out our customer profile, and later to specifically research what makes a consumer choose an energy service.

Surveys

Surveys are a set of questions that you send out to your users. They are effective to gather quantitative data, since they require much less time than interviews. It enables you to draw conclusions from a large set of data and facts.

The survey used for this study has been created with care, since it is challenging to get the answers you need through an online form. We sent the survey out to 1,000 participants, which enabled us to draw conclusions from facts instead of doing this from a more subjective qualitative study.

The Process

In the first stage of the project, we conducted ten in-depth interviews with Spanish customers. Each interview lasted up to 60 minutes, and had a strict guide to follow. After the first five interviews, we had a workshop with the team to process the first results. After this we adjusted our script for the final five. With the gathered info we wrote a report about the energy supplier consumer behaviour.

Whilst this first stage was more about qualitative research, we conducted quantitative research in the second stage. We conducted a survey amongst 1,000 carefully selected participants.This to confirm or reject hypotheses that were formed after the interviews, and also to possibly give new insights. Looking at the results, we could draw some good conclusions on how the consumers behave.

For our final stage, we conducted ten more in-depth interviews that focused on the competitors. With our completed consumer profile, we created questions that would figure out how we could make consumers switch from their current provider to OVO Energy.
picture of an interview
picture of the test room
picture of a team meeting
picture of Henry Keenan
Henry Keenan
Senior Product Manager
OVO Energy

Customer Review

I provided a general brief to a few different agencies, and BeHappy’s response was the most impressive. We both had a similar mindset about product development and user research. They were interested in my project, and I could tell they had a collaborative, agile working style. (...)

It’s easy to get in touch with them, and they are very accommodating with their time. We appreciated how they conducted the interviews in person. (...)

They used modern, collaborative tools such as Trello, Google Drive, and Miro. We used Trello for high-level project management and Miro to collaborate by sharing documents and images. We communicate via WhatsApp and email.

Data Visualization

When gathering data, it is crucial to visualize this in meaningful ways. This can give you insights that you do not get from just looking at an Excel sheet. Even the tiniest of data sets can use imagery to shed new light on collected data. Within this project we had many sets of data; both quantitative and qualitative. How did we visualize these to increase its value?
wordweb
heatmap of cursor movement
You will notice a difference in data visualization between quantitative and qualitative data. This makes sense, because from our interviews we gathered a lot of individual thoughts and opinions whilst our surveys gathered numerical data.

We video recorded all our interviews, and documented all the participants answers. The challenging, but important, thing with qualitative data is being able to find relationships. After this we were able to group answers and gather valuable quotes.

Quantitative data is easier to visualize, because these mainly consist of numbers. We created different graphs and tested what worked best for each dataset. There are also many other ways to visualize data. We for instance grouped often mentioned words, and visualized cursor movement on an interface.

The Results

We delivered three elaborate reports with all our findings of each research stage. We were able to give OVO Energy an insight on the Spanish customers. This helped them with creating a plan on how to adjust their service for the Spanish market.

They have started applying our recommendations and research takeaways, but they are still testing their value proposition adapted for the Spanish market. They launched OVO Energy’s first landingpage in Spanish: https://www.ovoenergy.es/.

gif that previews the OVO Spanish website

The Future

Our main task now is helping OVO to understand every takeaway and make sure insights are not missed during the process. Quality assurance processes and guide the project for further improvements and expansions. This is as important as the research process itself.

OVO Energy is also planning to expand in other European countries soon. In the following months we will try to help OVO Energy improve their digital experience design to be even more efficient and delight their users as they do with their service
project timeline project timeline

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