Product Design For Those In Need

In the spirit of talking about “products that count,” my current role at Crisis Text Line is all about providing support for those in need. From a product design perspective, this platform makes it easier than ever to get help. For instance, it can be very difficult to talk over the phone when you’re in difficulty. Instead, a kid who’s getting bullied in the cafeteria can send a text and receive immediate support.

With 60 million people suffering every year, the product’s adoption among those in need has been growing very quickly. However, the counselors who respond to our users are volunteers. As a result, retention of counselors has been a challenge – and our platform would not deliver the same experience without their expertise.

Even after providing 30 hours of training for all counselors, our churn rate used to be quite high. With this, our product design team started to look into what was happening. Interestingly, we found that most counselors were leaving because our counselor experience wasn’t engaging enough. In a way, this was good news – because they all want to commit themselves to help others. All we needed to do was support them differently in doing so.

As a result, we targeted the “unspoken needs” of crisis counselors. For example, we have added recognition mechanisms to acknowledge their service. In addition, we have created a sense of community for our counselors to be more connected to the overall experience.

Ultimately, we need to take a more holistic view of product design when balancing the needs of multiple users. In this case, our focus has adapted to incorporate the needs of both our end users and those who support them.

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About the Video:
Speaker: Sarah Bernard

About the speaker
Sarah Bernard Crisis Text Line, COO Member
About the host
Andrea Chesleigh Boxed, VP of Product and Engineering

Andrea is the VP of Product and Engineering at One Kings Lane, a digital-first resource for making your home an expression of your personal style. She has spent over fifteen years in Product and Tech, and has led teams at startups and Fortune 500 companies, including Rent the Runway, Zappos, Time Warner, and Verizon. Andrea is passionate about solving hard (seemingly impossible) challenges, developing simple yet delightful products, building teams of entrepreneurial critical thinkers, and creating strategic outcomes with impact. She is a hands-on leader with a player/coach style, diving into the details with her team to partner, advise, and guide them to success.

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