Weir Minerals is a global manufacturer of mining and construction equipment. The company engaged Luminary to undertake a discovery project to help it understand the needs of existing and prospective customers.
Founded in 1871, Weir manufactures technology solutions for the mining industry, and provides after-sales services to a global customer base. The company’s innovative approach to engineering provides solutions to critical challenges within the mining supply chain, while striving for more efficient and sustainable mining practices.
Weir’s UX team approached Luminary to undertake comprehensive research into its two potential digital platforms – it’s current publicly accessible sales and marketing web platform, and a future customer-only product portal.
The research needed to take into consideration Weir’s operations globally, including the differences based on location and culture, and the fact that several brands had been acquired under the Weir umbrella in recent years. The aim was to bring together insights from all of these locations and brands and produce a set of recommendations that would help to unify Weir’s digital presence and deliver a consistent and positive customer experience.
What we did
The first stage of the project was to conduct market research to understand what competitors were doing and to inform our research approach.
We then conducted research interviews with customers and non-customers (potential or former customers) to understand their behaviours, pain points, unmet needs and overall experience of using Weir’s digital channels. We conducted 23 interviews, ranging in duration from 60 to 90 minutes, and encompassing locations from Australia, the UK, and US, to Russia, Papua New Guinea and Kazakhstan. Interviewees came from both rural and remote locations and represented a cross-section of different cultures. The questions covered a range of topics including what a typical workday/work week would look like, key challenges, and how they buy products, to understand how Weir products fit into their daily work routines.
We synthesised the research progressively and debriefed regularly with the Weir team to ensure we had left no stone unturned. The process was very iterative, with the Weir and Luminary teams meeting at least twice a week to discuss findings and progress.
From this research, we developed five role-based personas - EPC Solutions Consultant, Procurement Manager, Maintenance Manager, Supply Chain Manager, and Inventory Manager. The role-based personas uncovered the needs, goals and barriers of the key decision making and influencing roles within Weir’s customer base. The findings were set out in a format that aligned with Weir’s existing approach to personas, so that they would be consistent with other projects that were happening at the same time and would form part of a common language to describe user needs across all of the company’s platforms.
Once the research phase of the project was complete, we documented our recommendations to form a starting point for the future state journeys to be developed, the website to be designed, and the portal features to begin.
For the most part, our findings were fairly consistent across locations and cultures. Across the board there was a heavy reliance on emails and direct contact with Weir sales reps as a ‘workaround’ to a digital platform that was not providing the information and functionality that customers needed. This was proving problematic for customers, especially when people left the company, making information extremely hard to find.
Language barriers were identified for non-English speaking countries, particularly in relation to technical manuals. Often, non-English speaking customers were having to resort to Google Translate to make sense of such information. Some cultures were also found to be more reluctant than others to ask for help.
At the end of the project, we produced a report of our findings, incorporating more than 20 formal recommendations. Some were relatively self-evident – like offering content in relevant languages, and curating the information for customers so that it’s applicable to their circumstances – while others were more nuanced and specific to Weir.
Alongside these detailed and specific recommendations, Luminary assisted Weir with implementing a change management process within the organisation to maximise acceptance and buy-in from stakeholders and employees.
Educating people on how to use new digital systems would also be critical to a successful transition. You can build great digital channels, but without changing the processes that support them and the underlying behaviours of internal stakeholders, they may not reach their true potential.
The next stage in Weir’s digital customer experience journey is to use Luminary’s findings as a solid foundation from which to build its website and authenticated portal.
Working with Luminary was an absolute pleasure. From day one they felt like a partner, rather than an agency. The team took the time to fully understand the intricacies of our business and were able to identify solutions and processes which fully met our needs. Naturally, with any large project there were instances where changes in process were required. The Luminary team were always open to changing approach as the project evolved. They worked efficiently and transparently throughout the project. We were very impressed with the team’s results – we would not hesitate to work with Luminary again in the future.
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