We started with the alignment of the stakeholders and creating the process, which the facilities should follow while processing orders. The team conducted workshops with the main stakeholders to identify the most important processing flows that had to be solved by the app.
The next step included in-depth interviews with the partner facilities. Interviewing partners allowed us to understand what the process looks like on their end and what the main pain points were. As a result, d.labs designers came up with detailed User journey maps, allowing us to gain a thorough understanding of order processing. These insights were complemented by researching the competitors’ approaches to solving similar challenges. In order to understand how to enable effective communication, we worked alongside Laundryheap's Support team to analyse and classify the most common messages and questions received from cleaning partners.
Design and validate
Based on our findings in the research phase, we designed the prototype of the Station app. It featured a basic set of functionalities that a facility needs to process orders. Cleaning partners employees tested the clickable prototypes to see if they could easily understand how to use the app and follow the processes as designed.
In November 2021, Stations app MVP was delivered and test-launched in a smaller cleaning facility. In collaboration with Laundryheap employees, we presented the new app to the partners on site, observed how they were using the app and gathered feedback for further improvements.
Deliver and measure
The roll-out of the initial version of the app in the UK & EU markets was completed in the summer of 2022. The first version of the app automated the charging process in the onboarded facilities, reduced the time needed to solve the processing issues with the customers and the amount of informal WhatsApp communication between the Laundryheap Support team and the facilities.
The team identified key areas for improvement of the app, which is utilised at various cleaning facilities on-site where the end users speak different languages and have different processes for preparing and cleaning the items. Consequently, the team recognised the necessity to streamline the order processing within the Station app. This involved simplifying the language, providing more guidance through the app's flows, and minimising the amount of typing and QR code scanning required.
In November 2023, the second iteration of the Station app was launched.
This updated version introduced a fresh design and included pre-filled messages with issues users might be facing. It eliminated the previous requirement to report order issues to the Laundryheap Support team and customers through WhatsApp, instead offering improved visibility to both partners and the Laundryheap team regarding the status of the orders.
By March 2023, all of Laundryheap's partners had transitioned to handling their orders using the Station app.
Important takeaways that we have learned along the way
Building an app catering to the needs of B2B customers requires consideration of the partners’ unique needs and challenges. Existing businesses, which serve multiple clients, may be resistant or even incapable of adapting to new demands. Therefore, the product must not only meet the specific requirements laid out by the marketplace but also take into account the necessities of the end users.
End-users’ needs are as important as the business’ requirements
It is crucial to take into consideration the following:
- Who is the final user of the product?
- In which environment/circumstances will the product be used?
- Which tasks do users need to complete and how can we help them achieve that?
- Are the users tech-savvy?
- Is the user willing to explore the app and discover the features or should they be made very explicit?
At the end, the design of the final product used on-site by users with different backgrounds should be simple and not require a lot of on-boarding and exploration. The app should simplify the process for the partners as well as satisfy the requirements of the business.
Onboarding the users must be done iteratively and respecting the partner's needs
On-boarding B2B users around the globe must be a well-planned and carefully carried out process. To facilitate the on-boarding of remote facilities, we prepared video manuals in English and shared them with the partners before the launch. Larger cleaning facilities were on-boarded on site with the assistance of the support team. The processing capacity of the facilities was increased during the on-boarding to the initial MVP to make sure there are no disruptions in the order delivery.
Value of feedback and data
User feedback is an essential component of product development. It offers critical insights into the users' experiences, expectations, and needs, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions and develop better products. Collecting product data and feedback allowed the team to prioritise the missing MVP features as well the product flows that could be automated in the app. Thus, decreasing the amount of unnecessary communication between the cleaning partners, Laundryheap support team and the customers.
Complexity of business changes
Company growth is always accompanied by the increase of the complexity of the internal processes. Digital tools can be a great source of the business optimisation. When implemented in collaboration with the end users and stakeholders, such tools can bring great results and accommodate further business growth.