Sonder provides innovative 24-7 organizational wellbeing and safety support. They’re on a mission to give global access to personalized help, both mental and medical, for every situation by breaking down barriers and helping earlier. As a B2B2C company, they serve customers from large corporations to small businesses and universities, and provide services for their employees, or students. It’s crucial for the team to conduct research to understand what their members pain points are, how they’re reaching out for support, and what they need to build trust and confidence in Sonder. The research and design team aims to bring in user-centricity through exploratory research on new features and products.
In the early stages of Sonder, design teams would conduct research on an ad-hoc basis using a range of tools including google docs, confluence, notes—and store them as slide decks. This worked when the org was small, but these processes were not repeatable and made research challenging to find. As Sonder began transitioning from start-up to scale-up, its operations began to mature, and needed a more specialized tool to scale research quickly.
With Dovetail, the team could build out their research ops and democratize research across the business. Starting with the design team and later product—it was easy to onboard members to the tool by sharing Dovetail’s educational video content and having the guidance of senior internal researchers. Team members started as observers, took notes in Dovetail, and collaborated on tagging, highlighting, and creating insights. They often reached an ‘aha’ moment when sharing insights with stakeholders, seeing the tangible value and impact of their research.
From one to fifteen—now all product managers, designers, and researchers are confidently and actively contributing to the Dovetail repository. They’ve successfully grown their research practice from ad-hoc to process-oriented, empowering many to be involved, collect information, and contribute to a rich library of feedback from users.
Data was not centralized when research was done on an ad-hoc basis. The longevity of the research’s value suffered as it was often lost after completion. Insights made were influenced by the researcher’s interpretation and weren’t traced back to the source.
With Dovetail’s repository, Sonder has centralized their data to quickly build context and serve their customers better. Now, all video interviews are uploaded and transcribed in Dovetail, insights are created, and relevant files and data are stored in projects. This provides a holistic view and allows anyone to dig deeper and build their own context. With everything in one place, the team continuously learns and accesses past data to build upon, and insights truly capture the voice of the customer. Evidence-based decision-making drives design and product decisions, creating more confidence in what they’re building to provide global access to personalized safety, medical, and mental health support.
With the old systems, collaboration was complex, and it was challenging to get research out to stakeholders not immediately in the product circle. Research stayed within silos.
Since implementing Dovetail, collaboration across teams has improved immensely both within product and outside. Now when conducting research, members can pair and collaborate on multiple projects and cross-share insights, which help the team work more efficiently and effectively. The sharing experience has extended outside of even product, with marketing, sales and more, who love being exposed to more insights and feedback from customers and members. The team can share very specific and relevant data, as they’ve created specific tags for different departments when analyzing, and can bucket information for later use.
More broadly, insights have injected more customer empathy. It’s now the norm to present with Dovetail and share insights that show their real users within the company. Empathy is a core value for the organization, and with highlight reels, employees can see customers talk about their needs and pain points with the product, truly empathize and know that what they are working on is valuable for the end user.