Today, news is just a click away and, even in the corporate world, sharing information and updates quickly and easily is key to engaging and empowering employees and partners. Regardless of the context in which we find ourselves - at a desk, behind the counter in a restaurant or in a school cafeteria - our expectations are influenced by the experiences we have online every day: customised content, ordered and categorized data, ease of use and a good user experience. With the aim of simplifying and concentrating documents and information in a simple and intuitive environment, our CIRFOOD Community project was born: a single space, accessible to employees and members from PCs and smartphones, with content profiled according to their relationship with the company.
THE STARTING SCENARIO: A FRAGMENTED COMMUNICATION
CIRFOOD, at the time it requested our involvement, conveyed communications through two different applications to members and employees. In line with a process of renewing its internal communication, CIRFOOD therefore chose to rethink the different applications, to create a new, simpler and more efficient ecosystem.
How to involve a larger number of users, bringing on board even those unfamiliar with the technology?How to integrate the two platforms aimed at different targets into a single tool?What is the starting point for defining the user experience?To answer these questions, we and the CIRFOOD team chose to create a new space and involve those who would use the platform directly.
THE REMOTE PROJECT: FROM SURVEY TO APP TESTINGIn order to get a solution that was truly effective and capable of responding to the needs highlighted, we decided to work together. Technology Reply, another Reply group company, supported us in the analysis and integration phases of the customer and member master data.The distance due to the ongoing pandemic also allowed us to develop the entire project remotely, thus giving us the opportunity to increase our ability to work entirely at a distance.We did this using a variety of tools, such as the use of online collaborative platforms to interact with the CIRFOOD people involved in the decisions to create the new app.We investigated the strengths and weaknesses of the apps in use and collected users' expectations of the new tool with a survey.Finally, we carried out user testing on mock-ups to confirm the tree structure and navigation, involving a sample of users.
THE CIRFOOD WORLD IN A SINGLE APPThe creation of a single space made available in a unique virtual place all the useful functions for members and employees, from documentation relating to labour relations to specific documentation for members' meetings and participation in events.However, the aim of the project was not only to merge the two existing apps, but also to "make communication between the Cooperative and all its people more functional, complete and accessible" (Matteo Meroni, team leader). The presence of a single access point has simplified and made more immediate the availability of information, services and tools, increasing user involvement and increasing the possibility of reaching all CIRFOOD people.The creation of a two-way channel to listen and receive feedbacks quickly and effectively has proved to be an excellent way of improving communication and business participation. The new app is also customizable: each user, based on their category of membership (subsidizing member, employee member or employee non-member) can have access to specific and personalized information.And finally, it is now possible to connect at any time and anywhere: the app can be used from multiple devices (PC, tablet or smartphone), including personal ones.The creation of a simpler, but at the same time more functional app, also had an effect on the management of communication by CIRFOOD, reducing the requests for solutions that arrive at the help desk.
WHAT HAPPENED: THE RESULTS OF THE CIRFOOD COMMUNITY APP Was the CIRFOOD app effective? Yes, and the data confirm this.To date, at least 13,500 users have registered for the new CIRFOOD spaces; this is a very important number, encompassing almost all the people potentially interested in the new app.The data on the new users created also show a greater involvement than in the past, with a tangible increase in the number of people registering for the first time.In addition to the number of users, the numbers using the app and web space also increased exponentially. We observed that around 80% of users were active, with more than ten accesses and page views per user. In total, more than 600,000 accesses to the personal area of the app were recorded at the end of 2021, with traffic predominantly from mobile (82%).The appreciation of the new application was also demonstrated by the satisfaction survey addressed to the group that carried out the first test on the Community, in which more than 400 people took part, with an average rating of 8.65.This is not a definitive result, because, as Matteo Meroni explains, "CIRFOOD has decided to expand the Community with new features and integrations that will enrich the application and make it an increasingly complete and central space for the life of the company".
ABOUT CIRFOODWith over 50 years of history, CIRFOOD (Cooperativa Italiana di Ristorazione) is one of the largest Italian companies active in collective and commercial catering and welfare services. Thanks to the work of about 13,000 people, the real strength of the company, CIRFOOD is present in 17 regions and 74 provinces of Italy, in the Netherlands and Belgium. "Feed the future" is the vision that has always inspired CIRFOOD in the way it does business and looks to the future to improve people's lifestyles while respecting the environment. CIRFOOD is committed every day to feeding the future with ideas and solutions that can guarantee sustainable development for society as a whole, from an economic, environmental, social and cultural perspective.