Creating a show home experience to give people an insight into owning a heat pump
Over the last four months, our team has designed, tested and piloted a service to enable people who are interested in getting a heat pump to see one working in real life. Working with two homeowners and two installer showrooms in London and Glasgow, we ran an end-to-end service that resulted in over 30 members of the public registering their interest, booking a visit and taking part in an event where they saw a heat pump working in real life.
We’ve been testing the usability of this service and evaluating visitors’ and hosts’ experiences to understand more about how we can improve this service and make it work at a wider scale. You can read more about the earlier stages of this work, from user research and design up to the pilot in previous updates in this project.
We’re doing this work because whilst heat pumps are becoming more popular, they are still relatively rare in residential properties in the UK. Our work on heat pump customer journeys shows that the process of possibly acquiring a heat pump is long and arduous with many potential drop-off points. We believe a service like this could help to increase uptake of heat pumps across the UK in all types of property, not just those where they are currently most common.
Public visits to the heat pump showrooms and open homes took place during the last week of September 2022. This was clearly a key moment for our users, but was just one of many parts of the experience that we were testing. Our aim with this pilot was to provide a seamless service for both visitors and hosts – starting from the moment they registered their interest and continuing after the visit with further support. A website (www.visitaheatpump.com) was the public face of this service and, once visitors registered, most interaction was through email.
There were a number of key steps in the service.
We piloted this live service to help us learn in detail about all aspects of the concept. By interacting with users we were able to test for usability, to see how this service worked for them and how the service performs across all touch points. Through surveys and interviews we were able to understand more about peoples’ motivations for attending and the usefulness of the visit in their own situation. We also knew there would be numerous unexpected insights from a real-life prototype that might help us to find out what else we need to explore. We are still analysing all the feedback but can share emerging insights here.
We are continuing to analyse the findings from this pilot and to develop clear priorities for a further stage in the development of this service. The next stage is likely to include further events and testing a new iteration of the service for visitors and hosts. We are also currently exploring the potential size and reach of a network of open homes and showrooms to understand what is most needed and where.
We are keen to hear from partners who are interested in taking part in future pilots. You could be a homeowner with a heat pump, an installer or manufacturer, or local authority hoping to connect your residents with renewable heating. Please get in touch with Alasdair Hiscock to learn more. ([email protected])
We will be hosting a webinar to discuss our work so far and ambitions for this work on November 23rd. You can sign up on our website.