Paul Child of Join the Dots presented an EasyJet case study at the Online Research Methods conference this morning in London. He began by quoting Claude Debussey: “Music is the space between the notes.” Similarly, a community is much more than the topics or questions you ask.
Communities of course are more than just asking questions: there’s deduction, observation and projection. For EasyJet, communities are part of a larger landscape of research. Join the Dots works with other agencies used by EasyJet to make connections between community insights and other data: CRM data, flight stats, sales data, online analytics, consumer attitudes and market trends.
The community helps in three main ways:
- What we already know – Join the Dots created imaginary postcards from consumers representing key trends. Rather than do a new study on the boarding process for a new services executive, for instance, Join the Dots leveraged past research to brief them.
- What we get with perspective – The community provides the ability to talk about the customer “in the round,” rather than just about isolated aspects. Join the Dots synthesized customer satisfaction data with information from the community to paint a picture of how consumers viewed the boarding process.
- What we observe – Join the Dots asked community members to simply record what they experienced on a flight and then contrasted it with observational data.
“We want to get off the hamster wheel of asking the same questions in the same way measuring things that don’t need to be measured again,” said Paul. “Let’s get off the hamster wheel and move forward across the open country!”
The community is four years old and Join the Dots and EasyJet still have much planned:
- Getting closer to the inflight experience, using mobile data capture and in-crew observation. This raises practical issues with airport security, flight safety (when you can’t use a mobile phone) and international roaming charges.
- Assessing changes regarding the brand. EasyJet has undergone a significant amount of change and has shifted marketing from pricing to a more emotional connection with its travelers, emphasizing the great things that happen in consumers’ lives after they step off the plane.
- Understanding needs for the EasyJet mobile application, used for shopping for flights.
- Adding customers from new countries, as EasyJet expands it service across Europe.
“We’ve reached a stage now with the Community that we’re able to leverage maximum value out of it by exploring beyond just asking questions. When I’m asked for the view of the customer the first port of call is the we already have the intelligence to hand, and the community is a key part of this,” according to Shaendel Hallett, head of insight at EasyJet.
In summary, whether for communities or any research process:
- “Look beyond the ‘research’ data you collect.”
- “Constantly revisit your assumptions…things change.”
- “Make sure you’re always connected to the people.”