Design to improve customer retention
In Fall 2021, I spent four weeks working on a responsive web application design project to improve customer retention with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) services.
Together with three collaborators, we introduced four high-value features to build a more personalized, flexible, supportive farm share service.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs provide customers with local, fresh, cheap ingredients but suffer a high customer dropout rate.
I was the UI/UX designer of a student team. I'm in charge of making design decisions to address uncovered customer pain points and improve customer retention.
I adopted a Lean UX mindset, rapidly modeled current states, iteratively prototyped preferred states, and validated proposed solutions through user tests.
I wireframed two critical user flows and helped create four high-value features to address salient pain points in the current farm share customer journey.
our Project Timeline
High Value Proposition, Low Customer Retention
CSA service creates a channel for grocery shoppers to get fresh ingredients, eat healthily, fight food waste and support local farms. Despite being economical, convenient, and sustainable, CSA services have low customer retention.
My Role: Drive design with research
As the problem finder: How can I rapidly identify critical frictions and capture pain points in the existing farm share service?
As the problem solver: How can I improve customer experience with CSA farm share service to improve customer retention?
Same service, different experience
I introduced two critical features: the onboarding quiz and the feedback form. These features create a more personalized service that helps customers avoid wasting excess groceries, consequently improving customer retention.
I designed an onboarding quiz that guides users to find the right boxes by answering a series of amusing onboarding questions.
I designed a feedback form that continuously prompts users to tune personalization after each delivery. This feature helps service providers keep up with customers' changing needs.
We introduced recipes & tips tailored based on customers' most recently delivered boxes to educate them on how to deal with unfamiliar ingredients.
We designed delivery status updates that set the users at ease by promptly inform them of their farm share box delivery status.
My Approach: Ground decisions in Findings
surface design opportunity through research
To understand the problem space, we tapped into our networks to locate participants and interviewed 7 candidates with prior experience using CSA service.
Throughout my interviews, I adopted directed storytelling to quickly build empathy with participants.
We constructed an affinity diagram to build a collective understanding of customers' shared opinions, where several insights and common themes emerged.
We depicted pain points from user interviews on a customer journey map to drive design with research findings. I highlighted user actions across different touchpoints and captured the highs and lows of their emotional states throughout the process.
My Discovery: Three significant frustrations
Service providers fail to communicate what a farm share box entails, causing customers to feel uncertain about what to expect.
There’s a lack of information regarding delivery status. As a result, customers have little clue about when the box will arrive.
The lack of control during onboarding stage makes customers underprepared for meal planning, and end up throwing away excessive goods or unexpected items.
Scaffold a successful onboarding
My most significant contribution to making Nourish a personalized CSA service is designing the onboarding journey.
How can I improve customer experience with CSA farm share service to improve customer retention?
How might I guide customers to waste less and consume more of their farm share through an onboarding journey?
A mobile-first approach:
Speed-up Design process
I adopted a mobile-first approach to avoid distraction from non-essential details, and decided to prototype an onboarding quiz with a twofold intention:
To support actual personalization, I need to effectively collect customers’ dietary needs.
To satisfy perceived personalization, I need to create a pleasing onboarding experience.
One screen, one Task:
Manage users' attention
To simply user interaction with the quiz, I put every screen for one question and one question only. My user test participants enjoyed seeing progress being made with every single action they take.
Feedback from a participant: "I didn’t realize I’d already answered ten questions. That was easy."
The progress indicator:
reward users' effort
Visibility of system status is rule #1 on Nielsen’s Usability Heuristics. To inform and reward users, I made a progress indicator to convince users that they are consistently making progress by answering each question.
Feedback from a participant: "It makes me willing to put incremental efforts into answering your questions."
the look & Feel:
Communicate joy visually
Based on five users' feedback on the paper prototypes, I created a consolidated user flow. To keep UI complications under control and empower teammates to contribute to the design cohesively, I created a style guide standardizing color, typography, and grids.
the tone & Voice:
Convey delight verbally
In addition to the look and feel, I also improved the tone and voice to create a more coherent experience. Here’s how I defined the voice of Nourish:
- Friendly but not casual
- Cheerful but not funny
- Informative but not dry
Spice up the experience
In addition to content strategy, I believe visual languages also act as an effective part of voice and tone. Hence I introduced delight to the onboarding experience with some micro-interactions.
A review of my procedure: Explore, Execute, Evaluate
Look for friction points
A handy UX practice I learned is to diagnose friction points for a user when interacting with a product/service. To find the friction points, I can start with zooming into individual stages in a customer journey map. Then, to figure out means to eliminate friction points, I can zoom back out from the individual stages for a holistic view and then look for opportunities to insert assistance.
To take care or to let go
Though it seems very counter-intuitive, I learned that I could help people by stepping back and getting out of their way. Part of my role as a team member today and team leader in the future is to facilitate the growth of my members. To achieve this, I need to learn how to let others play their performance and develop ideas. Instead of "babysitting" my team members, in the future, I will try to do a better job at setting things up for people to succeed and then sit back.
Though it seems very counter-intuitive, I learned that I could help people by stepping back and getting out of their way.