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Product / App developer series: Defining the problem

MVP App Development Adelaide Series

Product / App developer series: Defining the problem

If you haven’t read part one or two of this series yet, be sure to catch up on them first!

Welcome to the third post on our series of Appliquettes product / app development journey, in this post we take a look at moving from Discovery into Defining the problem we intend to solve, and then moving towards prototyping and testing hypotheses for our product Feedback Ledger.


Customer Journey maps

We still have a lot to unpack and understand. Let’s take a look at the typical customer journey map in this space, there’s a lot of steps that can take place when someone is hungry 😋

Food Customer Journey

There are a few key steps in here that can be influenced by the actions of the hospitality owner:

  1. The quality of the overall experience – Beyond the scope of our product
  2. Research – Happier customers leave better reviews. This is something we can help influence.
  3. Reservations – More difficult to influence but good reviews likely lead to more reservations.
  4. Eats – It will be difficult for us to influence that process 🍴
  5. Provides feedback – We can definitely provide a channel for customer feedback
  6. Returns – The sum of all the above. Feedback channels and how the venue responds to them can greatly influence whether a customer becomes a returning one. 

What about a slightly different customer journey map, the always in a rush office worker who can’t function without first satisfying her morning coffee craving ☕

coffee journey map

There’s a few less steps we can influence here, but give them a good experience and they’re prime to become the perfect repeat customer.

If we’re thinking about an area of opportunity, the step that stands out is the ‘Provides feedback about the experience’. We can see this has influence on a number of steps prior to it, as well as improving the chance for customers returning. 

This is a competitive area.. So what is the opportunity in this space?


Side note on importance of feedback:

An interesting hospitality case comes to mind here in Adelaide, Burger Theory (BT). Established in 2011, BT brought along with it the city’s first food truck and they grew from the truck to a suburban diner, to shipping containers and the downtown city location, two universities, Adelaide Oval and the odd foray into Melbourne and China.

Then came the Roo. 

BT decided to remove all beef, chicken or bacon from the menu and decided to run with Kangaroo meat for the burger patties.

As they explained on their website:

“After heaps of tasting and sourcing research over this past year, we’ve come up with a way to make a burger that tastes more amazing than we could before, with a smaller carbon footprint and sold at a lower price for you.” & “We think the second option – our option – tastes better!”

The problem being, a large percentage of their customers (who were making their feedback clear) did not agree and within 12 months doors were shut.

BT Roo

Now this isn’t to pick on BT, they were pioneers in the burger scene in Adelaide and paved the way for other businesses like ours in Nugg Lyf to follow with food trucks and burgers, but I always wonder where they would be if they still offered beef like customers were requesting.

(I do acknowledge the above is a very simplified presentation of the scenario – you can read more about BT and Roo here: https://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/news/food-and-culture/unwrapping-burger-theorys-shift-to-kangaroo-burgers-15877)


Customers want you to succeed

An interesting hospitality insight that we have found through Nugg Lyf is that generally, people really want your business to succeed, even if they have had a negative experience.

There have been a number of instances (we call them growing pains 😅)  over the past 2 years where we have had customers reach out to us directly to explain a poor to average experience they had with Nugg Lyf rather than writing a public review, often explicitly stating when they contact us that they want to support small business and see us be successful.

In the majority of these cases we’ve been able to take direct action on their feedback and in turn, retain them as customers. Had we not engaged with these customers I don’t think we would have seen any of them back.

This process is very powerful, there are a lot of studies that show that acquiring a new customer costs anywhere from five to 25 more times as much than retaining an existing one. If you have repeat customers you don’t need to go out and spend time and resources finding new ones, you just keep the ones you have happy and engaged. 

The inventor of the Net Promoter Score, Frederick Reichheld from Bain & Company performed research that shows increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. These numbers are crazy when you think about the amount of spend that happens to try and acquire new customers. Business should be focusing far more on retention than what many currently are.


Digesting it all

At this stage we have a lot of information from talking to customers, using competitor tools and looking at journey maps. It’s important now that we review and understand the data and start framing it into its problem space. 

Taking the insights from this process we were able to define some of the key pillars for the product:

  • The feedback responses need to be fast/real-time from the customer to the store so they are relevant and potentially actionable quickly
  • Most feedback tools are online only, these customers have storefronts and while online is important for the brand, they also need a physical way to engage with their customers
  • They need to capture meaningful feedback that will help them create actions
  • Getting Consolidated feedback insights in a ‘at a glance’ manner is important to busy people running stores and managing staff

Looking at the insights, we felt that this is the area of greatest opportunity to us within the hospitality space:

Most feedback tools are online only, these customers have storefronts and while online is important for the brand, they also need a physical way to engage with their customers

With the ‘feedback’ half of the problem being a relatively competitive space, there is room to focus on a particular set of customers in the hospitality space, and explore the physical engagement side of feedback management. This comes in many forms, in-store, at the customer’s home (delivery), on their coffee cups (on the go).


How might we framework

We decided to play a little “How might we..” exercise with this problem. How might we is a useful method where you frame the challenge as a ‘How might we’ question, by doing so you can explore the problem and highlight solutions. In this case the question is

How might we capture digital feedback in a physical way?”

One of the answers to the question we landed on was the use of a QR code. Recent updates to Android and iOS now mean that the device camera’s can recognise QR without the need of 3rd party scanner apps which previously was a huge roadblock to adoption. QR codes can be printed and placed anywhere in a physical environment, could this be a viable way forward? 

*Note, now with Covid we’re also seeing mandatory QR code usage for contact tracing. What a perfect way to train customer behaviour in the use of QR.

We decided to test this with one of the Nugg Lyf stores, the key question we wanted to answer in this test was would people be willing to scan a QR code to provide feedback? This was a critical question to answer because If no one was willing to engage with the QR then anything else we built wouldn’t matter.

What we ended up planning for the MVP was:

  • A simple form creator – Respond to a question/series of questions with a 1-5 rating.
  • Connect this form to a unique QR code
  • Print and place the code and callout for feedback in store
  • Customers scan the QR code to open the form on mobile
  • Display the results of the feedback form in a simple dashboard

We will talk a little more about the design and prototype process in the next article.

Until next time!


Appliquette is an award-winning team of app developers, designers, product managers and marketers with over 10 years’ experience creating impactful digital products that help businesses thrive.

Chat to us now to kick start your project!