Conference Agenda

Session Overview
D03: GOR Best Practice Award 2019 Competition II
Thursday, 07/Mar/2019:
12:00 - 1:00

Session Chair: Otto Hellwig, respondi AG & DGOF, Germany
Session Chair: Alexandra Wachenfeld-Schell, GIM Gesellschaft für Innovative Marktforschung mbH & DGOF, Germany
Location: Room 248
TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences


Impact of subscription and discount cards on mobility decision-making: the example of BahnCard in the NRW tariff

Andreas Krämer1, Till Ponath2, Hans Dethlefsen3

1University of Applied Sciences Europe, Germany; 2Kompetenzcenter Marketing NRW; 3DB Fernverkehr AG

Relevance & Research Question:

In 2005, the NRW tariff for "cross-border" journeys was introduced. Since then, there has been a door-to-door tariff for all journeys with buses and trains in NRW transport. Owners of a BahnCard (25/50) receive a discount on the price of the single relational ticket. While the BahnCard was developed for the market for long-distance train journeys (> 5 Mio. cards), its use and economics in regional transport are highly controversial.

Methods & Data:

Key component of the project was a survey of ticket users. Due to difficult framework conditions (low incidence in trains of 0.04 %, little specific knowledge etc.), the project defined that firstly the study was conducted as an online survey (April 2017, n = 3.554) and secondly, that the survey should be based on CRM data from the Deutsche Bahn loyalty program (BahnBonus). These played a crucial role in different phases of the market research process: (a) recruitment: use of contact data, (b) interview, focus on actual journeys with BahnCard discounts (c) analysis: validation of the response behavior and (d) extrapolation: revenue effects (with/without BahnCard) concerning the population of journeys (1.1m in 2016).


The empirical study indicates that the BahnCard discount in the NRW tariff is not a key driver for the BahnCard purchase decision. However, owning a BahnCard and receiving a discount lead to a demand shift in favor of the regional train. BahnCard acceptance in the NRW tariff, overall results in a positive revenue effect of more than EUR 4 million p.a. for regional transport - customers benefit from low transport costs, making the rail system more competitive.

Added Value:

CRM-data-supported online surveys can be prerequisite for detailed customer insights. The presented project example leads to clear findings that hardly be possible based on conventional CATI or F2F interviews. Besides the core project findings, additional results provide a better understanding of the effects of subscription models emerge that goes beyond common explanations (sunk cost, subscription biases). Our empirical study support the idea that “Sunk Costs” can be quite relevant for the decision-making behavior of consumers, however this is not necessarily irrational.

Automation of the Real Voice of the Customer. Use of massive audio and video interaction in online interviews

Holger Lütters1, Malte Friedrich-Freksa2, Dmitrij Feller3, Marc Egger4, Mark Wolff2

1HTW Berlin, Germany; 2GapFish GmbH, Germany; 3pangea labs GmbH, Germany; 4Insius UG, Germany

Voice is a new interaction mode in the digital environment supported by players like Amazon, Google, Microsoft etc. The very recent development of devices also allows video interaction.

A team of researchers was inspired by the interaction and automation opportunities of the new technologies and developed a study testing new interaction modes in comparison with the established mode of typing open answers with a keyboard.

A device agnostic BYOD approach was developed by pangea labs to take advantage of the existing devices in the hands of consumers. The technology was integrated in a web-browser survey which is functional on the main categories Desktop, Laptop, Tablet and Smartphone. The charm of this initiative lies in the detail of the direct access to the market research infrastructure which can be used without additional cost.

A massive study with 9813 panelists of the German panel EntscheiderClub was conducted. After checking for technical feasibility and willingness to participate 1251 interviews (13 Minutes 20 seconds median) were conducted in 3 random routes:

Classical keyboard (Control group n=437)

Voice interaction (Experimental group 1 n=407)

Video interaction (Experimental group 2 n=407)

The study was using 9 open ended interactions to be compared between the control group and the two experimental groups with the topic “digital assistants in the household”.

In total 7326 audio and video responses were collected. The innovative part of this research was the development of fully automated transcription tools using Natural Language Processing to create transcripts of the recorded audio and video footage.

The data collected was transferred to the reporting partner insius analyzing the formerly spoken words. The results show a much more intense feedback of the respondents using the experimental conditions. People’s willingness to express themselves grows by 250% on average using voice instead of typing. With video the amount of answers grows by 150% compared to the well established mode of typing in answers with a keyboard.

The virtual team hopes to be a candidate for the best practice session at GOR19 as we see this joint project as a role model of expert's cooperation all along the future value chain of market research.

Revolution of the VW customer journey

Nina Bethmann1, Artur Kryzan2

1InSites Consulting, Germany; 2Volkswagen Poland

Relevance and Research question:

Volkswagen, the German car manufacturer founded in 1937, has always been leading in the car industry. Yet in recent years, the (perceived) quality gap with other car brands has decreased due to high fragmentation and innovation in the market. Volkswagen thus wanted to see on what other levels it could (re)claim its position in the market. The brand embarked a mission to find unique customer experience solutions to set the brand apart and to boost conversion by digitalizing the pre-and after customer journey.

Method & Data:

To extract the right insights that should lead to an unraveled, intuitive & seamless customer experience by rolling out new CX solutions the project was set up in four stages: harvest, define, ideate and prototype.

Based on dealer interviews and industry reports the existing knowns were harvested and success criteria were defined. Through an online community (called the VW Square) of 105 (potential) VW customers the whole journey was mapped out identifying customer needs across all relevant moments. Engaging tasks provided deep consumer understanding throughout all journey moments, resulting in 10 universal need states and 26 jobs to be done. In a next phase, ideas were crafted by sourcing different crowds: ideation with consumers, team brainstorms and crowd sourcing with creatives in an Eyeka community bringing more out-of-the-box propositions. After a validation phase, we embarked an agile and iterative prototyping phase where concepts were tested amongst consumers and fed back to the business.


This iterative, agile development of customer service solutions resulted in different prototypes which are currently being tested (with success!) at the Volkswagen Home flagship store in Warshaw and planned for roll-out as of 2019.

Added Value:

Consumer centered customer journey mapping enabled VW to detect insights that allowed for cutting-edge CX solutions. It also offered a CX strategy canvas for CX innovation in the coming years, empowering VW to take a steep learning curve and becoming self-sustainable in developing and rolling-out new CX solutions. The staged approach, involving a broad set of stakeholders, formed the start of a transformation process towards a truly consumer centered organization.