Project Story

Public Mobile

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Innovation challenge

Public Mobile is a Canadian telecom that deals exclusively in prepaid plans for SIM cards. The company doesn’t issue contracts, sell phones, or provide technical support outside of an online forum where customers can share tips.

TELUS acquired Public Mobile in 2013, seeing the no-frills provider as a potential testbed for service innovations. To fulfill its potential as an idea engine, Public Mobile needed to understand its customers better and make its internal processes more collaborative.

Working Together

Public Mobile has a creative, committed team – but members were divided into two distinct silos. A developer group generated technical products, while a marketing group connected with users. When The Moment came on board, it was clear that uniting what the team called its “two halves” would be key to unlocking the firm’s capacity for customer-centered innovation.

The way Public Mobile engaged with customers changed dramatically which led to sharper messaging and insight-based UX decisions instead of ones driven by assumption.

We began by having team members conduct “customer” research on one another. Developers and marketers tapped each other’s insights by learning and applying qualitative design research tools such as card sorting, journey mapping, collaborative surveys, and mobile ethnography to find new angles on familiar challenges.

Taking a collaborative approach and joining the two teams together achieved a few important goals.

  • It helped developers and marketers understand each other’s roles better
  • It prepared both teams to start doing “real” research with customers
  • And it caused a powerful shift in team dynamics, increasing goodwill and fostering a sense of common purpose  

Next, Public Mobile and The Moment turned outward – because to build customer-centered design capabilities, we needed to understand customers better. One rich source of insight was easy to find: Public Mobile’s DIY tech support forums, home to a deeply engaged customer community whose members were enthusiastic about helping the company enhance its offerings.

The Moment developed a kit of fun, accessible tools that Public Mobile could use with customers in Google Hangouts – things like digital post-it notes and scoring sliders that let people respond to ideas and prototypes. We also facilitated in-person research sessions in which Public Mobile team members worked alongside customers to co-create new products that served customer needs and desires.

What’s Changed

The way Public Mobile engaged with customers changed dramatically which led to sharper messaging and insight-based UX decisions instead of ones driven by assumption. Website metrics showed a significantly more engaged audience while customer satisfaction scores rose tremendously. After our formal collaboration concluded, the two halves of the team were working seamlessly together, using the virtual feedback tools we’d developed together – and building new ones of their own to create and refine products guided by a shared understanding of real customer needs.