How to build connected apps for two-wheelers? And which role does crowdtesting play in all of this?
Watch or read the full transcript below as Jann Kirchhoff from BMW Motorrad and Georg Hansbauer from Testbirds, shared their insights into app development at Bosch ConnectedWorld 2022 on 10 November.
BCW: Let’s move from trucks to motorcycles. And for that, we actually have two guests. So BMW motorcycles teamed up with Testbirds to create a wonderful customer experience for bikes. And for that, please welcome on stage, Georg Hansbauer from Testbirds.
Georg Hansbauer: My name is Georg. I’m CEO and co-founder of Testbirds. And it’s really a great honor to be here today and to be able to speak to you. And what I’m even way more excited about this, that I actually for sure will win an award about the shortest appearance on main stage from BCW. So that’s what I’m really looking forward to.
And now why. So while actually at Testbirds, what we do is we help our customers to improve the user and customer experience of their digital products with something strange called crowdtesting. And as customer centricity is that important for us, we actually decided I will not babble to you now about the next couple of minutes why we are so great and doing that, but we actually thought, okay, it would be great to ask one of our customers, Jann Kirchhoff from BMW Motorrad, to come up on stage and talk to you about it. Thank you.
Jann Kirchhoff: Georg as always. So thank you very much for the opportunity to speak on that stage. But before we start, I’d like to introduce you a little bit into the world of BMW Motorrad, since I think not everybody in that room is riding motorcycles on a regular basis and riding a motorcycle is quite different from what you do with cars. Starting with the fact that if people getting into a car, they have a rational reason, they want to get from A to B, but on a motorcycle, people mostly do that for leisure time. So they follow an inherent passion and they want to be part of a community of even-minded people going out there.
So motorcycling mostly happens on the mountains, on the racetrack, maybe in the most remote regions on earth, and while you might think that everything is connected with that motorcycle, for us, it’s actually about the experience and the emotion that is created in that moment when you ride on your motorcycle.
And this is why you can perceive BMW Motorrad rather as a lifestyle brand more than just a vehicle brand. And if you consider BMW as like a planet, you can consider BMW Motorrad as the really, really small country. But cool country, where we do the things a little bit different. So while the whole automotive industry is pushing into digital and apps for quite some years, we joined the party in 2017 and this was when we published the first version of our BMW Motorrad Connected App.
And this was also when we equipped the first motorcycles with a brand new TFT display. And those two things then came up with some really cool connectivity features, enabling you to have navigation on your TFT display to record your rides and to enhance your user experience. And this was exactly the moment when I joined BMW Motorrad and build up something we call Product Success Management.
So my name is Jann Kirchhoff, and today I want you to take three things.
"First of all, it's not enough to just build a digital product. You have to take care of it. The second is that it's really, really critical to test your digital product in its actual habitat. And the third is crowdtesting can be a game changer."
Jann: But I like to start somewhere else. So approximately one year ago, my wife and I, we became parents of our little son, Benjamin. And while we were focusing on the actual moment of birth, we learned that the actual challenge started when he started to grow up. And those challenges, they were quite changing. And while I was pushing the pram along endless walks, I also saw that there are quite some parallels how digital products and companies are perceived, even more if you think about companies that come from physical product.
While everybody is like focusing on that one milestone and that launch of the digital product, everybody seems to forget that version 1.0 is just the version before the first update. There will be bugs that need to be fixed. And there will be things that need to be improved. And it’s getting even worse, if customers are really starting to use your product. They will have questions, they will need support. They will write reviews on the app stores. You need to comment. And they also will discuss your product on the internet in social media.
Product Success Management takes care of all these aspects and makes sure that one, the ongoing product development is supported with sufficient information and two, that the actual customer is integrated in that whole process. So, as you can tell, there is a whole list of to-dos that need to be taken care of along that challenge.
And there is one to do that stood out really in particular, and this is crowdtesting. And together with Testbirds, we will then able to really validate and test our app, our digital services along the needs of our customer.
Why is crowdtesting a game changer?
I would even go further.
"I would say crowdtesting is not only a game changer, sometimes it feels like a superpower."
Jann: There are four aspects I want to get into deeper. First of all, I want to imagine you being part of a product team, working for an international corporation, and everybody, everybody is talking about customer orientation, but how good do you get through to the actual customer in that jungle of organizations, departments, data privacy, regulations, international organizations?
You actually never get into dialogue with the customer.
"With Testbirds and crowdtesting, we were able to fix that issue. We were even able to build up a customer community of over 350 people in the whole world, and we basically can access that community overnight asking them to test our product or just to answer them questions - may it be the simple UI or a whole interview about an idea we just had."
Jann: Don’t get me wrong. I really love my colleagues and I really admire them for their passion and their professionality when it comes to motorcycles. But when it comes to real customer orientation, I want to involve the real, real user that went to the dealership, paid the money for the motorcycle, and has the whole emotion that we need to understand how they actually do this stuff.
So, as I said, with Testbirds, I have direct access to that community and I can adjust my product along that. And there’s one thing we found out when we get into crowdtesting, sometimes we try to imagine how customers would use our product, but if you confront the customer with the actual product, they will do stuff that maybe seems a little bit absurd to us, but who are we to tell the customer what is right?
We are really happy to be able to learn what the customer actually does with the product and to adjust the product before we get into market and to keep our customers really happy. And there is a fourth factor that really influences how we work.
If you imagine we are doing an international motorcycle navigation solution, it is a real pro to have an international community. For example, if you try to test voice guiding in Spain, what is more helpful than a native speaker in Spain going on his own motorcycle on Spanish roads, giving you feedback about your product if it works or not.
And as you can tell, motorcycling, especially in Germany, is a seasonal business. So I cannot only go outside on the street when it’s snow outside and test our product on my own. But I can rather task people in South Africa or in the south of Spain to do it for me.
And I want to share one particular case study with you. So what you can see is something we call the BMW Motorrad ConnectedRide Cradle. The short version is it’s a smartphone holder that you can mount on your motorcycle or it’s a smartphone. It charges your smartphone, comes up with some Bluetooth connectivity features. We developed that product from the beginning on with crowdtesting involved.
How did we do that? In the beginning, there is always a 3D sketch, so we were able to discuss this 3D sketch with our customers in video interviews and to ask them about the doubts and about their experiences with similar products. Later on, we provided them with a click dummy of the actual app UI, so they could already get a glimpse about the user experience, and we were able to watch them, what they do and if they got it.
And in the very end, we took the first samples of the actual hardware and shipped them around the world to our crowdtesting community. So, they were able to test the full user experience, involving hardware and software. To me as a person that always tries to give the user a seat at the table. This was really stunning to see how that product was developed with the user involved.
When we pushed the product into the market, the product team was quite stunned because we had close to zero bug tickets and all the knowledge that the user needed and the question that they asked were already answered in the online user base, since we could derive them from the interviews.
"Last but not least, we were able to prove that we are able to turn the passion of our users into products and we found a way to integrate them along the product development journey."
Jann: As you can tell, I could talk for some more hours about that topic, Georg knows that painfully. I can just warmly invite you to join our networking session on the booth of Testbirds to get in touch, have a chat, or later on, get in touch on LinkedIn.
Thank you very much for listening.
BCW: Thank you very much. Great presentation.
Read all about Bosch ConnectedWorld 2022 here.