Our product designer outlines the process for designing and building new digital tools to meet the needs of our professional metal buyers.
Under the hood: designing and building our Quick Quote tool
Buying metal can be a complex process with lots of variables: metal type, shape, size, grade and finish all need to be captured when users submit a quote. Offering our customers an easy way of doing this presented our in-house digital team at SteelScout with a challenge.
SteelScout.com has always had a guided quote process, with visual aids to help users select what they need. This guided quote system worked well for users who weren’t metal experts but feedback from larger customers that buy more regularly, was that they would like a more efficient, less visual, way of entering quotes.
Meeting user needs:
The aim of the project was to give regular SteelScout customers and metal buying experts a quicker way to enter quotes online at SteelScout.com.
User research showed us that our experienced metal buyers didn’t want or need any visual assistance when they built quotes. They were used to specifying their requirements for each job in text, known as line items within the industry.
The result is that by selecting the 'Quick Quote' option, customers can build line items with shape, grade and dimensions in a single view in just a few seconds:
One of the key benefits to the business of the existing quote builder is that it collected accurate, structured information. Dealing with customer quotes via email or the phone can lead to inaccurate information being collected on first contact, which creates a need for clarification with customers which in turn slows down the time it takes SteelScout to get quotes for customers. Speed of turn around is critical within the metal industry, the longer this takes, the less likely we are to win jobs for our suppliers. Any new system we introduced must be able to maintain the benefit of collecting accurate information.
Project aims and requirements:
The objective was to deliver a tool that met the needs of our professional metal buyers which we also hoped would encourage a broader audience to use the SteelScout online quote process. The new quick quote tool was designed to sit alongside the current guided quote flow, to cater for all buyer types, rather than be a replacement.
The product pre-requisite: It must reduce the time it takes to enter a quote.
It must also allow users to duplicate and edit line items, so they don’t need to keep creating new line items from scratch. Users can now do that by simply clicking the icon.
Not the finished article:
The new Quick Quote tool is now live on SteelScout.com. The tool took 10 weeks to build and presented some challenges along the way, but we’re really happy with the results and we hope that our buyers will be too. But our product ethos is constant improvement and we’ll continue to improve it in line with customer feedback, so please let us know about your experience of using it.