Page 5: Testing and launch
All of the elements of the Portakabin products were sourced from high quality suppliers. They were then tested within Portakabin buildings. Testing enables materials and products to be evaluated for their worth and performance. Testing involved the following three stages.
- Developing prototypes. These are unique products that are evaluated for their performance. For instance, different types of air conditioning units were presented to customers in order to obtain their feedback and improve the final offering.
- Assessing the overall customer proposition. This is finding out how well the product will meet customer requirements. Elements of EBS that proved to be popular with customers were developed and made better. For example the furniture was initially very functional and basic. Customer research revealed the need for higher quality furniture and a space planning service. This was introduced and the service was renamed from simply ‘Furniture’ to ‘Interiors’ to more effectively convey the proposition.
- Assessing the overall satisfaction to the total product solution. This involved undertaking regular customer satisfaction interviews which showed improved customer satisfaction scores, in part resulting from the total EBS service solution, from 8.2 in 2003 to 9.2 in 2011.
The launch is usually considered to be the most important day for any new product. To support the launch a number of promotional materials were developed. This helped to get the key messages across. A number of methods were used to communicate with potential customers. These included:
- direct e-mail
- the use of direct mail
- creating appropriate materials for the web
The range of promotions used helped to establish the total product concept provided by Portakabin for the marketplace. Portakabin did this by targeting:
a) new prospects who were interested in hiring a building but had not really thought about all of the different services, such as, data cabling and fire security systems that they might require.
b) existing customers who had already hired a building and who might be interested in additional services.