Kellee Kimbro
Kellee Kimbro . UX Researcher & Design


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The Backstory: How I ended up in Sri Lanka.

In June 2019 I traveled to Sri Lanka and drove a TukTuk around the Island to explore the culture and natural beauty. When I got back from Sri Lanka I had a lot of feedback about the TukTuks and I sent the company a 3 page document describing my experience. The feedback was so greatly appreciated that they asked me to come work in Sri Lanka with them to improve the user experience, so I packed my bags and went to Sri Lanka for 4 weeks.

The Challenge: How might we design a customer service strategy that can only be used with a mobile device.

Driving a tuktuk is hard, they break, they require maintenance, and customers plans change all the time. The only form of communication a customer has is a smart phone and the fastest way to communicate with customers was via whatsapp.


The Outcome: QR code system paired with a mobile friendly messaging.




Research Plan

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Week 1, Research:

To understand customer pain points I researched the entire process from booking online, to on boarding once in Sri Lanka, to on the road issues, and returns and refunds. I used several research methods: I conducted a online user test and had several people record themselves booking a tuktuk and applying for a local drivers license, I rode along and observed customers during their driving lessons, I monitored and audited the group chat to understand on the road problems during their trip, I interviewed all the staff, and I had conversations with customers after they had dropped off the tuktuks.

Left to right: Online User Test, Driving Lesson video, user interview guides.

Week 2, Defining Opportunities:

Once I collected all of the research findings I summarized it into a giant Customer Experience Journey Map.

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How the journey map is read

I broke down the journey map several ways which was by time, main task, sub task, observations by both staff and customer, then I summarized all of the task categories into problems and pain points. Finally an open ended category called “how might we” was added, this was used to help solve problems by asking how might we do something to solve this problem. I used this to conduct a workshop with the staff to not only get them up to speed with customer issues but to get them involved in the problem solving process.

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Week 4&5 :Observations + Solutions

(In order of importance)


Observation 1: Offsite vs. Onsite On boarding (once in Sri Lanka)

Before a customer books a tuktuk in Sri Lanka they can choose which location to pick up the vehicle. About 50% of customers choose to pick up at the tuktuk rental office and the other 50% choose to pick up offsite. The customers picking up onsite usually have no issues with the tuktuk while on the road but when a customer picks up offsite they are given virtually no orientation they are just handed a guidebook/manual and given a driving lesson.


Observation 2: Outdated On boarding Materials (Manual, Video, Messaging)

Tuktuk rental gives out on boarding materials to customers which are helpful to the customer except that they are outdated and needed a revamp. The tuktuk manual had too much text and not enough images and was missing key information, the introduction video was too long and boring lasting around 30 min, and the introduction message (which contained important links) for whatsapp got lost in an unmonitored group chat.

Observation 3: Forgotten Daily Responsibilities

Once the customer got on the road and was finished with their orientation/driving lesson they often forgot that tuktuks need daily maintenance. If the customer did not do this maintenance their tuktuk was likely to breakdown at some point which would make the customer frustrated.


Solution: In tuktuk reminders

In tuktuk prototypes with paper and tape

In tuktuk prototypes with paper and tape


Problem 4: No Best practices for accidents or breakdowns

A observation made early on was how staff and customers should handle accidents on the road. There was nothing in the manual telling customers what to do and the only kind of information for this was listed on a laminated printout inside of the office on a back window.


Solution: Add a page in the manual + make a sticker for inside of the tuktuk.

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Observation 5, Customers Mostly Use Smartphones:

When researching the analytics I discovered that 60% of customers used a smartphone to browse the website and fill out internal forms and while on the road 95% of customers used a smartphone to receive messages, e mails, and booking changes from the staff. The online forms were mostly formatted and designed for desktop and in the manual to access any of the online forms a customer had to type in a long URL. This caused a great deal or frustration for the user and also would cause more work for the staff as they would have to call the customer and ask them details they missed on the forms.


Booking Form Problem:

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Online Booking form solution:

Proposed Solution (still in development)

Proposed Solution (still in development)


License Form Problem:

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On the Road Solution:

QR code quick launch was added for all links listed in the new manual. An example of one below where in the old manual a customer would have to type in the URL, and on the bottom of that you can see a QR code for those forms.

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Learning Outcomes/Reflection

  1. There is no I in team: This project would have benefited greatly from having another team member especially during the analysis and ideation phase, where I had to trust my own intuition and brain to solve complex problems.

  2. Extra time for Implementation: The majority of the time for this project was spent on research (which is important) I think to make sure the observations and solutions really worked I would have spent another 4 weeks on implementation and testing out the design solutions with the users.

  3. Focus on the solution not the details: Since I have a design background I have a tendency to focus on small details and not the over all solution. The details are not as important as making sure the solution works with the user.

  4. Working with what you have: I learned early on this in project that working with limited resources would be challenging. Coming from the western world I was used to having colored printers, access to super fast internet, and no language barriers. In Sri Lanka I had to work with having limited access to those things, and on top of that having a computer malfunction in the middle of the project where I had nothing but google documents to work with. I learned to not give up and to keep going even if things are not ideal.

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