We heard a few weeks ago from Jamie Trollope as he told us about how the digital services teams here at DVLA are really putting the customer at the heart of product design. The team looked at how digital technology can be used in conjunction with market research and social media to gain clear understanding of what our customers want.
Internal comms is no different. It’s really important to keep in touch with what customers and audiences want to hear about and we’re really keen to exploit digital technology to do so. One of the simple tools we use to keep a check on that is a basic opinion poll on our intranet site. Updated every 2 to 3 days, we usually get a response rate of around 1,000 (roughly 20% of our staff), and this really helps give an idea on peoples thoughts, opinions or awareness about a range of topics.
We knew it wasn’t a replacement for ‘proper’ market research, and we had only ever used it as a pulse check for internal communications. But I was very interested in a Thursday afternoon discussion with the View Driving Record team when the idea came up to use it to help them meet the Digital by Default service standards. The team had 2 versions of a portal screen they needed to test, quickly. Recognising the value of having the opinions of a potential 1,000 DVLA staff at our disposal we thought about how we could get their views on the screens, without the cost and logistical nightmare of breakout sessions or focus groups.
By the end of that afternoon we had found a solution. Having recently introduced a video player function onto our intranet homepage, that we already use for our CEO blog and to show staff our YouTube videos, we decided to use our in-house creative team to produce a short video to be streamed digitally to every PC in DVLA. That video would give an overview of the service, show them the 2 screens and then ask staff to vote via our opinion poll, on which they preferred.
Perfect! Well, Nearly.
Whilst that would give us a rough count of which screen they preferred it would never tell us ‘why’. So our Customer Insight Team designed an electronic survey as a link through for people to provide further information on their choice.
We then had to work really quickly to get the video filmed and edited, get survey produced, and coordinate the whole exercise to go live by the Tuesday morning.
This had never before been done within DVLA but the team were keen to try something new and pulled out all the stops to get it live on time.
It was new for staff too. They had never been asked for their opinion in this way or on this scale before and we decided not to do an explanatory article about why we were doing it. We just put it live to see what would happen.
We had a good response rate, but lower than normal at around 560 responses. 59% for ‘option A’ and 41% for ‘option B’. It told a story and encouraged some to write further details on why they made their choice.
It’s fair to say it wasn’t perfect. But we had decided to give it a go, see if it would work, and learn from it.
So, what did we learn?
Trying to show people a web page in a video the same size as a YouTube video doesn’t provide great clarity. This made it difficult for the responders to see the detail of the differences. We also learned that by crowd sourcing opinion in this way, providing a poll is a quick way of ‘doing your duty’ and so once the responder has voted there is little enthusiasm to fill in a further survey. So a more iterative way of gaining the insight may need to be considered in future.
But I was really pleased that we found a way that Internal Comms could work with the Customer Insight and Digital Services Team to deliver a totally digital solution to involve DVLA staff of all grades, backgrounds and experience in the development of our new digital services. And it’s something we all think could be used again for describing or gaining opinion on process change, choosing a new YouTube video or even asking people for thoughts on a clip from an event.
In our drive to move toward digital ways of doing things we know we have to be prepared for them not to work perfectly the first time. What’s important for me is that we work together, and quickly, to try new things out and find new ways of working.
And this was undoubtedly a good example of doing that.
If you weren’t embarrassed of your product the first time you launched it, you launched it too late @8en