In the early summer of 2009, I was fortunate enough to be asked by those lovely people at Flow Interactive to undertake some research for that much-loved and much maligned British institution, the Post Office (and there's useful data in that simple but pervasive characterisation, of course).
The objective of the research was simple: to discover more about Post Office customers (that's you and me, basically). What is the desired experience that customers would ideally like to have with the Post Office online channel?
In a little more detaill, those objectives were: to uncover currently unknown data on customer attitudes and perceptions to the Post Office online; to generate ethnographic data for personas and needs & gap matrices; to validate existing thinking within the Post Office; to synthesise a deeper, accurately predictive understanding of the Post Office customer; and to generate data that would help to guide future development and design.
The project was not without it's pain points - including having to telling the PO that the research showed that some of their long-cherished ideas about their own customers was wrong - but it was very stimulating and enjoyable too with great colleagues and a great client, too.