Live from Button: How Content Design Shapes Chewy’s Customer Experience

How Content Design Shapes Chewy’s Customer Experience, by Allison Bland

Chewy cares about pets. Allison wanted to make sure Chewy’s content reflected that, and made it a joy to shop, and not an annoyance.

Content Design at Chewy

What does content design look like at Chewy? The biggest question Allison initially got when she joined was “how many pet puns should we be using?” They weren’t thinking about content design beyond… puns. To find out what informed the customer experience, Allison had to do some digging. She wanted to understand:

  1. What kinds of content exists on the site?
  2. How did it get there?
  3. Who is responsible for it?

She audited the microcopy on the site, looking for the location on the site, the page type it was, the component type, the priority, and the goal of the content. She also had to note if it was dynamic, and what the goal was.

Since content is a system, she needed to understand what was coming from marketing, what was coming from product, what was coming through metadata or from a CMS, etc etc.

Allison then had to track down partners in the organization. Building friendships with developers (for example) means they’re more likely to come to you for error messages. Friendships with marketers means they’re more likely to connect with you when writing a blog post related to content on the site.

Content is a way to shape the customer experience. Instead of being copywriters, Allison focused on her roles as a content designer. Content designers work with design on where content fits in. They also rely more now on guidelines, establishing rules to reduce decisions needed for each and every piece of content.

Getting to Work

One big win? Help content! They needed it to be friendly and useful, to decrease phone calls. Customer service members are SMEs in finding solutions for customers.

Tracked changes and comments in a word document was the only tool needed to improve the help content.

Working with customer service may not be a “typical” design exercise, but those reps are walking users through a flow over the phone. Learning from them changed Allison’s perspectives on site labels.

Dos and Don’ts (learned from Customer Service)

  • Use names to make a message more personalized
  • Avoid overused phrases, like “I’m sorry for the inconvenience”
  • Use simple tenses so customers know the issue was resolved.

Use your research toolbox too!

  • Participatory design workshops
  • Search engine data
  • Card sorts
  • Tree tests

For more research, check out Bobbie Wood’s UXPA webinar.

Allison improved design collaboration as well, by working in the same tools as designers – Figma and Sketch are great options, or even just working in a document together. Working in the same tool breaks the paradigm of design-then-content.

Guidelines also improved the process – it’s a form of multiplying yourself, by enabling others to create great content.

Examples of Customer Experiences

  • When someone loses a pet you may be more verbose to be more sympathetic. Maybe that’s ok!
  • An email for canceling an order can reassure. Answer the basics of “was my order canceled”!
  • Concepting can help show stakeholders the future

Words matter! It’s not just word nerds. We have an impact on the customer experience.

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