In this quick presentation I will share my experience of building a merchant visit program at Shopify. This initiative started as an effort to help our employees truly feel empathy for our users and for the entire company to get the opportunity to meet them.
As a researcher, I spend a lot of time thinking about our merchants and how we can be improving their lives as business owners. As UX professionals, we are encouraged to care about our users and be empathetic towards them. However, I wondered if we were doing the best we could in terms of providing our employees with opportunities to build such empathy. As I began to investigate further, I noticed some gaps in these opportunities and started to think of how we could improve. In order to overcome the barriers I was seeing, I revamped how Shopifolk (Shopify employees) could visit our merchants and lessen the distance to the frontline. To help shorten this distance, I built a new Merchant Visit Program. This program makes it easier and encourages Shopifolk to go out and learn from our merchants. In this talk I will share how the Merchant Visit Program came to be, lessons that were learned while building this, and a strategy for anyone who wants to do the same.
Goals of talk: ● Share the importance of giving all employees (not only those who are research or UX focused) the opportunity to directly engage with users ● Share the importance of being empathetic towards your own employees when asking them to build empathy for your users ● Share How to take on a similar initiative when you already have so much going on in your day-to-day role ● Share how to actually implement a system that organizations can use to reach out to their users and share alternative ways to get employees closer to the frontline if this kind of program is not feasible ● Share how to get buy-in from other teams and/or leadership to implement this