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Prompting Customer's Next Best Actions

Enhancing customers' experience via personalized and contextual messaging

First Display

~ An Overview

The Problem

The CVS website and mobile apps provide informational messages to more than 100,000,000 customers across multiple lines of business, such as digital store, pharmacy and retail.

100% of customers who sign up with CVS receive every alert, push notification, built-in message, and text message sent to that line of business, even if it is unrelated. As the customer signs up for more lines of business, they are continually bombarded with more push notifications.

With a large barrage of messages coming their way, CVS customers began ignoring communications sent by the business, eventually leading them to disable push notifications, uninstall the app, or leave CVS as a customer.

CVS App Store Screenshots

An overview of the CVS Pharmacy app

The Challenge

CVS was sending continuous, unrelated push notifications to customers and failing to provide them with contextual and personalized notifications, informing them about promotions, products, and services across multiple lines of business.

My team and I elected to target customers' needs based on their account status, line of business, and position in common flows and user journeys by using the following problem statement:

How might we optimize customers' digital experience by tactically placing contextual and personalized Next Best Actions throughout user journeys?

Pausing for Clarity: “Next Best Actions” encompasses the broad range of notifications CVS sends. These include push notifications, in-app notifications, alert modals, text messages, and toast messages.

My Role Included:

Leading design definition and direction, research, design feature ideation, stakeholder presentations, prototyping, and testing.

Our Solution:

My team and I created Next Best Action personalization elements targeting customers based on their position within specific user journeys and flows.

The Result – This is a spoiler! Click or tap here to show the result.

My team and I strategically implemented personalized and contextual Next Best Actions in the form of push notifications, alert modals, and built-in cards throughout different account states, user journeys and flows.

By providing customers with contextual, relevant, and timely information, we helped 76,000+ customers link their ExtraCare card to their account and increased customer conversion rates via messaging by over 50,000+.

      Take a look at the final prototype.

1.   Researching the Problem

Primary Research

To kick off the project, I began with primary research, focusing on mobile apps and websites that utilized different types of built-in messaging to convey personalized and contextual information to their users. This helped me understand how other companies successfully approached sharing contextual and personalized information via messages to customers based on different user journeys their customers entered.

I learned that each company utilized specific messaging styles to convey contextual and personalized information contingent with related journeys and flows that customers entered. Some of these included:

  • Modals: Utilized when disrupting a customer’s journey is necessary to convey important and/or contextual information
  • Built-in Messages: Utilized to convey supporting and/or contextual information that may enhance a customer’s journey
  • Toast Messages: Utilized when supporting or contextual information is considered “nice to know” but is not crucial to a customer’s journey
Messaging Style Examples

Examples of the aforementioned messaging styles

A Competitive Analysis

To better understand how alert modals, built-in messages, and toast messages could provide important and contextual information, I completed a competitive analysis between the CVS mobile and web platforms alongside other websites and apps that utilized similar patterns.

By completing this competitive analysis, I understood how different types of messaging could aid in detailing important and contextual information to customers through different user journeys.

Competitive Analysis

Competitive Analysis of the CVS web and mobile app to competing apps Walgreens, Walmart, & Rite Aid

2.   Ideation

Defining the Direction

After discussing with supporting teams and stakeholders, I worked to define the best approach for my team to take to build Next Best Actions, then utilized the CVS Health user persona to initiate research and define design direction. Next, I met with the team to discuss the different strategies we could use to incorporate specific messaging styles into common user journeys for Next Best Actions.

Our preliminary ideas were building and testing different messages via Braze campaigns alongside creating design system components to include contextual messages within highly trafficked user journeys.

After doing a bit more research and ideation on the different ideas that could be implemented for the feature, I discussed next steps with the product team. We decided to utilize Braze campaigns and to build out design system components. This way, our messaging types would overlap while providing multiple different messaging styles to customers within highly trafficked flows.

Braze Campaign Messaging Options

Examples of the messages that can be sent via Braze

Dissecting the Customer Journey

I dove into dissecting the multiple user journeys where we wanted to display important and contextual messaging via Next Best Actions. This way, I understood the best locations for implementing each messaging style to successfully target customers throughout both the web and mobile app experiences.

As you can see below, there were multiple locations where we could easily incorporate the different styles of Next Best Actions, each providing their own impact.

User Journey

The Next Best Action Journey for CVS Health customers


After further discussion with my team, the product team, and stakeholders, I drew up a few sketches of where we could incorporate Next Best Actions within the user journeys I dissected. This helped me further define design direction and visualize design decisions before wireframing, creating prototypes, and testing.


Initial sketches of Next Best Actions


Once I understood the prime locations for placement of Next Best Actions, I created a few wireframes. This helped me further define the look and feel of the different types of messaging we wanted to incorporate into each customer journey using Next Best Actions.

Additionally, this provided visuals I could share with my team and supporting teams before creating the high fidelity designs and the initial prototype for testing.

Initial Wireframes

Initial wireframes for Next Best Actions

3.   Prototyping & Testing

Designing the Prototype

Using my wireframes, I created the initial prototype for testing using the sketches and Mid-Fi wireframes.

I used Miro and Figma to design and prototype because of the ease of sharing the prototype with the product team, stakeholders, developers, and other teams.
Figma also provided a seamless approach to making changes when testing.

Initial Prototype

The initial prototype for the Rx Connect Next Best Action

Piloting the Designs with Customers

After further iteration on the different messaging styles we could utilize for Next Best Actions, I worked with the product team to create a Monetate pilot test. This test aimed to A/B test my teams’ designs with smaller cohorts of customers.

The Monetate A/B test helped my team and I understand the benefit provided by the Next Best Actions and we could easily understand how customers responded to the different types of messaging we implemented.

Moreover, the Monetate test also helped us learn if the different types of messaging we implemented were noticed throughout each user journey. The most impactful results we gathered follow:

1. The inline banner didn’t work. It struggled to stand out, often blending into the page like regular content rather than a Next Best Action.

2. The slide-up message wasn’t clear. Instead of benefiting customers, they were opening it by mistake when trying to swipe it off their screen.

3. Copy needed to clearly convey the recommended Next Best Action to users. Rather than providing suggestions, we needed to be consistent and specific.

4.   Modifying the Design

Redesigning from Feedback

From the feedback and details we gathered via the Monetate A/B test, there were a few changes we needed to make to the designs. I discussed the feedback with stakeholders, the product team, and my team so that each party understood which parts of our Next Best Actions helped customers, and which pieces prevented CVS customers from having a pristine experience.

The design changes I made from feedback follow:

  • I redesigned the inline banner into a more apparent element.
  • I removed the slide-up messages so they wouldn’t disrupt customer’s flows.
  • I worked with the copywriter on my team to ensure the copy was clear, consistent, and specific within our Next Best Actions.

The goals of the changes listed above were to provide customers with noticeable and ubiquitous locations for Next Best Actions throughout each user journey they entered.

Final Prototype, mWeb Initial Prototype, mWeb

The final versus initial mobile web prototypes for Next Best Actions

Final Prototype, dWeb Initial Prototype, dWeb

The final versus initial desktop web prototypes for Next Best Actions

Testing the Final Design

I shared the new designs with the product teams and worked with them to launch a new Monetate A/B test. I also ensured the engineering team was aware of our changes to the Next Best Action messages to prepare for future conversations.

From the second test, the team and I learned that the new Next Best Action designs were more apparent and helped customers proactively take next steps based on the contextual information provided. The most impactful insights follow:

1. Our customers embraced the advantages of contextual and informational suggestions made by the newly modified Next Best Actions.

2. Elements were clearer to CVS customers and drove them to complete Next Best Actions 75% more than in the previous designs.

Final NBA Design Comp

A Next Best Action design translated across desktop and mobile web

Preserving Designs in Discussion with Stakeholders

After gathering this feedback from the product team, I shared the updated designs with stakeholders.

Some stakeholders I shared the changes with were skeptical about message visibility within the Next Best Actions. The stakeholders' concerns were mitigated when I shared the Monetate A/B test statistics that my team gathered alongside the benefits we saw.

Stakeholder Convo

An example of a stakeholder conversation about Next Best Actions

5.   Handing off the Finalized Design

Conversations with Engineering

After sharing the Monetate A/B tests with stakeholders, we continued speaking with the engineering team to ensure handoff was seamless and that the Next Best Action designs were accurately implemented.

We discussed the locations of each Next Best Action, their working parts, backend-dependent requirements, and what was needed from a development standpoint to ensure seamless handoff and implementation.

This helped us ensure requirements and guidelines were clear, detailed how my team could be involved in the agile process, and kept an open line of communication open as designs were developed


An example of code for developer handoff

Handing off Finalized Designs

I shared the Hi-Fi designs I created with the development team alongside the test campaigns we made in Braze. My team and the development team worked together to ensure that everything aligned with the design changes we made throughout the design process, providing a seamless implementation.

After ensuring the basics were implemented in the dev environment, I brought my team together to QA test the designs, establishing that the development team had properly implemented our designs following copy and accessibility guidelines.

      Take a look at the final prototype.

Final NBA Design Comp

The final designs that my team tested for Next Best Actions

6.   Launch

Statistics from Going Live

After the development team implemented the Next Best Actions, the campaigns ran for two consecutive months. These campaigns were focused on ExtraCare card linking and allergy medications.

During the months that these campaigns ran, Next Best Actions successfully prompted over 76,000 ExtraCare Cards to be tied to user profiles. Furthermore, over 50,000 more customers opened push notifications for allergy medications as compared to previous pushes sent.

Monetate Statistics

One month of statistics for the Next Best Action Rx Tie Campaign

7.   Reflecting

Looking Back

Leading a team after defining a new design direction was an incredible learning experience. While there were challenges throughout the project, I further understood the importance of keeping team morale high and ensuring all team members feel heard and supported.

While the team successfully carried the project from inception to end, there were still some unanticipated challenges.


An example of the team I worked with

What I Learned

Team trust is essential. As a new designer to the team eventually taking over and leading the Next Best Actions project, getting accustomed with the team was crucial.

  • Instead of trying to lead the team in a new direction immediately, I spent time getting to know the team, discussing the work they did previously and what the best approach to supporting them was along the road to implementation.

Communication is a must. Not everyone who is part of your team will be in all the meetings you’re in. This taught me to communicate meeting details clearly with my team after meeting with product, developers, or stakeholders.

  • By keeping an open line of communication and keeping detailed notes, my team and I could quickly adapt and adjust to changes from other teams and leadership.

An example of note taking from meetings and knowledge transfers

What I Would Do Differently

When I started leading this project, I struggled to learn about some of the previous pieces of work completed by the team which related to Next Best Actions. This didn’t hurt the team’s progress, but our status updates were not as consistent and concise at the beginning of the project.

Since this project, I ensure that I learn about previous work completed by the team I am working with through knowledge transfers. This helps me speak to previous work in valuable meetings and assures that I remain knowledgeable when working to move new projects forward successfully.


An example of meeting with the team I worked with

Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate the time you’ve taken to read through my case study and get an understanding of my process. Please reach out if you have any questions about my Next Best Actions project for CVS! I’d love to discuss it with you.