As part of an aggressive strategy to 'own' an emerging US$5 billion market for tattoo removal, venture capital firms Normanby Capital & APC acquired four clinics in North America. Their aim was to codify and operationalise the optimal client experience before scaling this across 200 new and existing sites across North America.
In addition to conducting research with leadership teams, staff and customers across the four foundation businesses, we were tasked with identifying new customers and the barriers for acquiring them. We used this insight to define how to best attract new customers and retain existing ones, defining best practice and aligning the investors on a strategic implementation
In order to optimise their value proposition and meet the market need, TRP first required an understanding of their known customers and to identify new cohorts. Additionally, to begin scaling their business, they also needed to identify best practice from each company to align and deliver the ideal value proposition. To address these needs, Tobias user researchers embarked on a 5 week research trip, researching with staff and clients in 12 cities across America.
We spent 5 weeks doing exploratory research, going to 12 cities across America. We conducted:
- 38 in-depth customer interviews
- 47 in-clinic customer interrupt interviews
- 177 customer survey responses
- 26 staff in-clinic interviews
- 36 stakeholder interviews or workshops
- 13 tattoo artist interviews
During this research we also observed the staff behaviour and tasks in each of the clinics, and spoke to existing or prospective clients to map their assumptions, beliefs and attitudes of tattoo removal.
The objectives of the research were to:
- Understand the current state of how the companies operate
- Identify user pain points and identify areas for client experience improvements
- Inform the best practice for the overall service design
Analysis & Synthesis
The team returned to Australia to unpack the research data, recordings, photos and artefacts. We then performed a thematic analysis looking for similar behavioural and attitudinal patterns across the cohorts. This also surfaced missing information or new hypotheses. As the project progressed we were able to translate data into insights, journey maps, service maps and opportunity areas.
Through ethnographic research techniques, it was evident that each of the acquired companies came from vastly different cultures and ways of working. We worked closely with the leadership team to understand the concerns of staff members, and address these as part of the redesign.
We uncovered deep customer and operational insights to inform the ideal customer experience. Key insights were organised across: People, Environment, Artefacts and Processes.
Once analysed and synthesised into themes, the research fed into key outcomes including a defined service offering and recommendations informing the next 12 month roadmap. This roadmap detailed how to scale to best effect for staff and clients and what the optimal customer experience looked like.
The synthesised work led to strategic opportunities for the company's direction, with the final output being a prioritised list of programs of work to execute using a design methodology. Additional to the tactical 12 month roadmap, these programs of work formed a longer term strategic roadmap with a 6 year vision. The mass of data was synthesised down into key insight reports, behavioural archetypes, customer journeys, service blueprints, opportunity areas and recommendations to support the future vision.
We immediately began executing on this strategy, creating tangible outcomes informed by the research. This included a full rebrand of the new aligned service, with a digital web presence optimisation strategy (website, SEO and SEM), as well as a branded employee handbook detailing best practice operations. The strategic, research-led design of Removery — from brand implementation, to operational development — has been a success. The company now operates as the largest and most trusted laser tattoo removal company in America, and is continuing to execute on the roadmap recommendations.