What was the scope of their involvement?
ribot helped us with the design and user experience, and also elaborated on the journey we wanted the customer to go through. For the kiosk project, we were working with a screen size we’d never used before, and we’d also never tackled the user journey for self-ordering within a restaurant. They helped us with upfront due diligence, looked at what competitors were doing, and held a strategic workshop with both our digital and operational teams.
Once they got all the feedback and pulled in the research, they walked us through the design phase of what the product needed to look like and how it needed to work. As we got closer to implementation, ribot remained the main liaison with our backend app builders in making sure the development would be correct. ribot’s main contribution was creating a more humanized and memorable frontend experience.
The process was similar for our app, but in this case, ribot helped us redesign one which already existed. This app had different functionalities, so they made sure the result would be more aligned with our brand since people who weren’t used to engaging customers made the original version.
It’s not hard to put together an app or a website, and we already had the functionalities in place. What we didn’t have was a form that could bring enjoyment to people tapping on the app. ribot helped us with the preorder and restaurant pickup functionality, but their main contributions were the subtleties, including indicators of fun, colors, and moments of engagement.
For KFC, we have an amazing tone of voice and persona in the form of the colonel and his chicken, but we hadn’t brought that into the app experience before. In the version ribot created, we actually have the colonel guiding users through how to order their food and enter credit card details, all while making comments on what looks delicious. We have a much more humanized element, which really lends itself well to the brand and overall experience we were looking to create.
We have a brand portfolio or regulations booklet we have to abide by, so for global brands like KFC, we couldn’t just redesign the logo. ribot incorporated the colors, tone of voice, and mascot in a way that was relevant to our customers and the market. The challenge for them was working within an environment that had clear guidelines and restrictions, while still producing something creative.
I’ve also worked with ribot for Harris+Hoole, a speciality coffee shop, where I was the director of digital experience. It was an entirely new company, and, even though we had a logo and small brand book, everything was being done from scratch. There was only one other person internally. The real challenge was thinking about the technology, and also putting our backend CRM [customer relationship management] into place. ribot went through the entire journey with us as we were learning what we wanted to do, and how we would execute it. We really needed a strong partner who had handled app development before.
For this project, ribot created an experience that not only required frontend research and design, but also native iOS and Android loyalty app development. We used a full suite of services from them in that case. In terms of functionalities, it was a first in its industry.
At the time, our major competitor was Starbucks because they allowed clients to pay for coffee through their app. We went one step further by adding digital loyalty functionalities in addition to being able to pay online. The app allowed users to walk into any of the 50 coffee shops at the time and be recognized by name. Our competitor required customers to walk in, state their name, show they phone, then get it scanned.
We connected to a geolocation check-in system, so when someone walked into the restaurant, they could put their phone down and it allowed us to know who they were, what their favorite coffee was, and how they wanted it made.
What is the team dynamic?
We had 3 primary contacts, including a project manager, a designer, and Antony [Co-founder, ribot] was more involved in the strategy sessions. The day-to-day work was done through our assigned designer, and we had weekly meetings with the project manager as well. It was a nice balance which worked well for our team, and included 3 direct people from the company in addition to another 3 from the backend development team.
How did you come to work with ribot?
I’d had a good experience when I worked with them for a previous company. When I joined AmRest as the digital director and looked at some of our tools (specifically apps, and the fact that we didn’t have a kiosk), I knew that ribot could provide those missing elements. I was confident they could develop a good user experience through thoughtful design based not only on features and different devices, but also through the actual psychology behind them.
I introduced them as potential partners and went through a standard RFP [request for proposal] process in the company. ribot stood out due to their deep engagement at the founder level, which makes a massive difference compared to working with a huge company that offers no continuity due to passing their clients off from salespeople to different designers.
They’re good at what they do, and have a wide range of clients. When looking at the different experiences ribot has created across different devices and purposes, we saw that they all had a clear, thoughtful perspective. This same level of thought was delivered to us for the KFC project.
What is the status of this engagement?
We’ve launched a pilot, and they are continuing to help us determine the effectiveness of the solution, measure our data, and make tweaks and improvements before rolling out to a wider restaurant base.
I first engaged with them in April 2013 for my previous company, which ended in May 2014. The project for my current company started in November 2016, and is currently ongoing.