Ask Ford: Enhancing Self-Help Support

Tdrews
FordLabs
Published in
4 min readOct 19, 2023

--

The Ask Ford platform is a new self-help section on owner.ford.com, surfacing key answers to common customer questions only Ford can address.

OUR CHALLENGE

How might we help Ford customers get the answers they need faster?

Even though the Ford Owner site holds plenty of knowledge, customers still experienced frustration and difficulty as the Net Promoter Score plateaued and the number of calls to customer service representatives (CSRs) continued to rise over time. FordLabs was engaged on this journey to identify top-priority customer questions and to ultimately improve the self-help customer experience.

OUR PROCESS

Unearthing All the Gaps

We needed to start with the basics. Out of the broad range of topics available on owner.ford.com, what topics are most questioned and caused the highest level of frustration?

Through various experiments, we began to understand the customers’ common answer-seeking behaviors. We synthesized our findings into insights that de-risked assumptions for potential solutions.

Gathering and Analyzing Web Analytics

First, we realized we had no insight into how customers were interfacing with the Ford owner pages–where they were going, what they were trying to find, or how their experience was. So, we quickly pulled existing analytics reports showing site performance metrics and sorted through past user feedback which provided an in-depth analysis of current site usage.

A key takeaway was that customers desired to find answers quickly without being overwhelmed by numerous options and without the barrier of logging in. They also dreaded calling a CSR due to long wait times, the fear of being judged, and impeding language barriers.

Deciphering User Claims and Actions

Next, we looked at how effectively existing content communicated the necessary information through guerrilla usability testing. We showed participants different versions of phone-to-vehicle pairing instructions, observed their actions, and gathered their feedback.

Based on the assessment, we found that though users claimed to prefer video tutorials or images, a majority of the participants did not choose to use visuals in reality. This showed us that the effort required to produce high-quality video or image tutorials was not the leanest viable solution for us to pursue.

Uncovering Most Valued Features

By conducting a ‘Buy a Feature’ experiment, we uncovered the features that customers truly value. By giving participants fake money to make purchases, they showed us that their most valued features included an accessible search, live chat messaging, and guided question paths. They also showed that a chatbot was least preferred because it seemed impersonal.

One usability test participant said, “It’s overwhelming to look at all of this. I want to search ‘pair my phone with SYNC,’ but I don’t want to bounce around all these articles to figure it out.”

OUR SOLUTION

The Ultimate Guide for Customers

By focusing on the most important questions customers were seeking answers to, we were able to design and build a new self-help guide that brought these answers to the top.

We also removed the unnecessary layer of logging into an account prior to viewing content, which resulted in increased customer engagement.

This platform primarily includes an accessible search engine that returns relevant results and a guided question path that shows only the six most frequently asked topics. Content findability which was an overwhelming experience of duplicative, overlapping, and irrelevant answers is now a guide that empowers customers to choose their relevant and intended path to accurate answers, which increases user task success and customer satisfaction rates.

OUR RESULTS

Empowering Customers Globally

The Ask Ford page has replaced a fragmented and confusing experience with one that offers clear visibility and transparency to the most visited content. It is directly accessible globally at help.ford.com.

20,000 User Feedback Responses

70% Increased Net Promoter Score

60%Increased Task Success Rate

Before and after screenshots of help.ford.com.

--

--