Along with helping to design the Active Response messaging experience for the user, I also planned and executed operational changes for the initiative. The goal was to ensure stylists were able to provide first-time users with the best service possible.


What problem were we trying to solve for the end user?

After new users completed the onboarding flow, they would have to wait a maximum of a few days to be matched with a stylist. During this period, the user's interest in the service would wane, and she would drop off. 

However, in order to support this user-first experience, drastic changes would need to be made in the stylist organization-- from people to process to and tools.

What were the biggest challenges to implementing these user-centered changes?

Operational challenges that I focused on included:

  • Meeting customer demand with stylist supply at the right time
  • Connecting disparate systems to enable the Active Response experience
  • Change management and training for new stylist workflow

How did we meet customer demand?

I created a model to predict when users would sign up for the service using the following inputs:

  • Marketing spend and costs per lead in paid channels (i.e.  # of users signing-up after seeing Facebook ads, podcasts, etc)
  • Organic sign-ups (i.e. # of users finding their way to and signing up without paid advertising)
  • Historical data around when users sign-up (seasonality and time of day)
  • Capacity of how many customers a stylist can service at once (response time of < 1 minute)

With this information, the model would predict how many users are signing up at a particular time of day and how many stylists we would need to serve these customers. 

What systems did we implement to create the experience?

The MVP version of Active Response was created using existing systems rather than investing in the development of a new solution. I worked with engineers and product managers to connect these disparate systems, which included:

  • An internally created system to assign customers to particular stylists
  • A 3rd party shift scheduling software
    • The software, ShiftPlanning, was originally used to schedule hourly warehouse employees to shifts. We customized the program to allow stylists to choose their availability and then schedule them to meet demand.
  • An internally created customer relationship management platform
  • A 3rd party messaging platform called Layer that allowed stylists to communicate with users

Me during a training where I served as a model for stylists

I am not a model. 

How did we account for change management implications and trainings for the new workflow?

  • Incentives for stylists to work shifts after working hours
    • As our stylists were used to having set hours during the day, there were challenges to having them work shifts later in the night. As stylists were compensated on a base salary plus commission, the more sales they made, the more money they would make. This being said, we didn't want to overwork our staff, so flexible work schedules were implemented.
  • New workforce dedicated to serving new customers
    • Lesser tenured stylists would have the opportunity to build their book of business by working shifts to onboard new customers. Our team hired a team of nearly 40 stylists to fill these roles.
  • New workflow and conversation flows
    • Redesigned ways of working were implemented to allow stylists to serve customers in the most efficient way possible. Our CRM would serve up directed tasks to stylists to better serve customers rather than overwhelming them by multi-tasking.
  • Fun trainings for stylists!
    • We created interactive online and in-person trainings to get every stylist onboard with the changes. I led lessons on using the new shift system and conversation flows. I also played a fake customer who stylists would get to play dress-up for a bit.

How did it turn out?

Within a month and a half, we designed Active Response and implemented operational changes, and the feature rolled out with little hiccups. It has nearly doubled conversion for new users to the website and has laid the groundwork as a platform for stylists to better serve their customers.