Opinion

The Three Cs — Why direct user research is critical to organisations post-lockdown

By July 3, 2020 July 6th, 2020 No Comments

The unlock of the economy is now leaping forwards, and organisations and businesses are now tackling a significant challenge in evolving their environments to meet the new requirements, while resuming business in a meaningful way.

There are three ‘C’s that we believe summarise what businesses’ working, travelling, and sales environments must achieve. They must make staff and visitors feel that:

  • Safety measures are being COMPLIED with
  • CONFIDENT that their health is not being compromised
  • This is an experience they feel COMFORTABLE in repeating

This challenge is one that is made even more complicated by two key influencers:

  1. There is no reliable template upon which to base unlock plans. Around the world different ideas are being trialled with as yet no real evidence of effectiveness
  2. There is no single user mindset upon which to base the design and planning. International research is of limited value as countries have had different experiences of the mindset

In short — while the step towards a safer environment is a necessary one, there are a number of unknown factors.

So — how can organisations gain the understanding of whether the measures they are taking are achieving the target 3 Cs of Compliance, Confidence and Comfortable?

The first thing to recognise that the response to each of these is heavily vested in the emotions of the individual. They are not measures that prioritise the environment’s ability to enable an individual to better achieve their goal, or an organisation to more effectively sell to them.

These are important factors of course — but they now pale in significance against the emotional reaction of individuals. It’s this emotional response which will drive whether individuals feel safe and are happy to repeat the exercise — and will be the primary governing factor in how successful the environment is in enabling them to complete their tasks, or encouraging them to buy.

Organisations which don’t understand this might initially believe their changes to their environments are effective and working — only to find that they are experiencing a reduction in visitor or customer numbers, a decrease in sales, or a decrease in staff satisfaction (potentially alongside attendant issues of increased staff departures or absenteeism).

Many organisations will employ surveys and other self-service feedback options to try and learn about the response to their environmental changes. But while this can provide some insight, a nuanced understanding of the customer or employee’s emotional response can only be accessed through qualitative research.

To achieve the three ‘C’s successfully, this sophisticated research must be balanced with organisations’ need for rapid insight, in order that environment changes can be tested, evaluated and adjusted quickly.

This is something we have been keenly focused on, and have now developed a replicable process for. It’s a product in large part of our work to support the Government response to the crisis, which demanded rapid user insight and guidance to inform mission critical designs.

It has proved hugely effective and formed a template for providing near real-time qual research moving forward — exactly the type of research organisations and businesses now need to provide the type of quickfire guidance on staff and visitor emotional response that is critical to delivering the three ‘C’s effectively.

There’s an irony to this — or perhaps it’s proof that necessity is the mother of invention. Not only has the COVID-19 crisis driven the need for a method of delivering rapid, effective qual research for iterative design, but it has also provided the route to its creation.

Speak to us about how we can support you on understanding your staff and customers’ responses to how your organisation is dealing with the post-lockdown period.