Setback Recovery: The Missing Link of Behavior Design

If there is one truth about behavior change – it’s that you’re going to screw up. You’re supposed to screw up. That’s how you gain experience and figure out what works. However very few behavior change products design for ‘failure’. And when they do, they don’t do a very good job at it. Often teams put the setback recovery feature as a nice-to-have later. It’s not. It’s critical. Every single one of your users is going to go through a set-back. Some will self-recover. Most will just drop. As soon as your identify that a user is not following through effectively: 1. Stop Regular Triggers: These are beginning to suffer from trigger blindness or worse: negative trigger association. I think most behavior change products die when users begin to associate guilt with the products triggers. That leads to actively avoiding your product to avoid the pain. This is how my company GoalTribe died. 2. Re-engage with a new, surprising trigger  Your user has begun to ignore, or actively avoid, your normal cues for action, so you need to reach out with something new to get their attention. You might try dramatically varying the trigger language, graphics, sounds, colors etc.. Try reaching out through a different channel. Perhaps email or sms. At the extreme, you could trigger another user, or a live coach, to actually make a phone call. For email, consider classic email marketing techniques to get emails opened – generating curiosity is probably the most powerful technique: “Congratulations Robin!  You found it!”  — Congratulations? Found what? I better open the email to find out! 3. Normalize the experience: “Everyone faces...

Which Communication Channels Are You Forgetting About?

When you’re Behavior Designing a program, make sure you consider (and test) all the available communication channels. Sometimes a multi-channel plan is most appropriate. Sometimes the best channel is not the one you first thought of. Communication channels to consider: Email: A very popular & powerful choice. But it’s also a heavily loaded channel. Some (younger) demographics don’t use email at all. Micro-blogging platforms: Twitter and enterprise equivalents like Yammer, Jive & Chatter. These are not reliable triggers, but they can help build awareness & trigger quick responses (social support for example). SMS & mobile messaging: Very effective channels, but very protected. It’s a great privelage to be allowed to communicate with someone this way. Get permission & don’t abuse it. Instant Messaging: Google Hangouts, Skype Messenger, Slack etc.  Messages can get lost, but these are good channels for quick response triggers. Signage: For enterprise, organizations and events, promoting a campaign via signs around the facility can be very effective. Verbal Announcements: For enterprise, organizations and events, don’t forget to have prominent people provide motivation & triggers when speaking to an audience (including conference calls & video conferences). App Push Notification: If participants have an appropriate app installed, you may be able to push notifications to their phones. This channel is very effective, but spam is not tolerated, so use it wisely. Calendar Events: Sending a calendar invite to trigger a task in the future can be very effective within organizations with standardized calendaring. Of course it needs to be something that makes sense as a calender event. And you have to be able to identify a time that is...