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Help LCBO|next improve

By Suvaena Laventhiran (Product Manager)

The Problem

Currently customers who report issues or suggestions are likely to blindly email or phone lab members which results in cluttered inboxes. Inconsistency in issue tracking causes ideas to get lost in between teams due to ineffective knowledge transfer In addition, without the means for a customer to track their status request it becomes difficult for stakeholders to build a trust based relationship with the LCBOnext team. As a result of this, customers are either wasting their time contacting the wrong people and being redirected multiple times or are shied away from actively sharing their concerns with the LCBOnext team about our products.

Within the first 2 months of our term alone we experienced 37 back and forth emails regarding bugs and new suggestions to implement, hosted 5+ meetings to take these convos further and spent approximately 2 hours per week on feature support. We decided that something needed to be done about centralizing this process and so we worked towards ideating possible solutions to help the future of the lab.

Discovering the problem

Once we decided that something needed to be done, to further validate this product, the team conducted four one-on-one user interviews with employees of different departments to better understand their needs and problem spaces. Two of these interviews were with LCBO grocery team employees who provided us in depth insight into current request types that are brought to their attention and how they currently go about collecting information and process that to convey it to the LCBO|next team. The other two were LCBO|next team members who provided their insight of what struggles they have with collecting information regarding a problem that occurred and what they would like to see in this centralized process.

Product Validation

Some of the users we interviewed and found value in helping out are as follows:

  • LCBO|next team

    • Providing a method to help keep incoming requests organized for LCBOnext products

    • Eliminating back and forth email inquiries by collecting all necessary information right off the get-go

  • LCBO Retail Staff, Grocery Team & LCO Operators

    • Providing a direct channel to visit for all inquiry reporting rather than leaving the application to send out an email

  • IT Team

    • Reducing number of LCBOnext related requests that require re-directing providing them more time to attend to other tickets


Upon conducting user interviews with lab members and headquarter stakeholders we learned a few key takeaways:

  • LCBO|next lab is always on the hunt for new ways to improve our existing product and to help improve customer experience

  • Even prior to our term, most incoming requests come directly to the product manager co-op which makes it quite difficult to forward email threads between co-op cohorts

  • Application users who reach out to our team are often left in the dark about their proposals until we reach back out with follow-ups

User Interview Key Takeaways



Optimized Time Management

Ability to better prioritize incoming tickets and bugs to ensure best version of working product is being used


Improved Request Data Collection

With the current process, LCBO|next sent on average 6 back and forth emails and booked 30 min calls per issue simply to understand the issue on hand and the steps it took to get there. This time spent is time taken away from working towards a solution that could enhance customer experience


Improved Customer Service

Stakeholders would often reach out to inquire about next steps for issues while LCBO|next team is still investigating further. Without any means to track their request status stakeholders are left in the dark without full transparency



Responsive Web-app

Customer Facing Widget


2 months (July-August 2021)

Team & Roles

Suvaena Laventhiran, Product Manager

Amanda Du, UX Designer

Chamod Gamage, Full Stack Developer

Kevin Tong, Full Stack Developer


LCBO|next team then had a chance to look into competitive market spaces to see if we can adopt any of the existing platforms and our findings are below:

  • Why is the solution not Freshdesk?

    • Customers would be expected to leave the app to write an email and switching between applications might discourage users from following through with submitting a ticket

    • Integration availability is difficult so might not be ideal to integrate with our ticket tracking system (ex. Trello or Azure DevOps)

  • Why is the solution not ServiceNow?

    • While ServiceNow focuses more on identifying the solution LCBOdesk strives to define the problem

    • Although speed is a component, we don’t want to eliminate tickets too quickly, but instead want to take time to investigate and come up with the most ideal solution for the user


Based on the user interviews that were conducted we identified two main problems that we wanted to ensure we could find an effective solution for.

We decided to create a new tab within the customer facing LCBOdesk widget for them to view all previous submissions and current statuses of each. We kept the designs very minimal so the user doesn’t feel overwhelmed, all the while making it very clear what status type each claim currently corresponded to. This status type changes based on the LCBO|next teams’ action on the admin portal. 

HMW help users track ticket status?

We curated a list of essential questions that LCBO|next team would require to know answers to in order to help with any problem. We kept the list very straight to the point to avoid having users spend too much time on the form in hopes of reducing form dropout rates.

HMW collect all required info from users from their initial ticket submission?

Design decisions

There are two different views for LCBOdesk: 

  • Customer-facing view - a widget on LCBO|next applications used to submit issue and submission tickets

  • Admin-facing view - a centralized hub to track all incoming tickets and optimize completion processes

We aimed to keep the customer-facing view as simple as possible to motivate them to submit tickets and follow through with the process. We grouped our user interview findings into requirements and refined them into simple steps the user would need to follow once logged into their platform.

Customer-facing widget

Screen Shot 2021-08-23 at 11.38_edited.png

The staff-facing app allows store staff to see incoming orders. When staff has spare time in their day, the app allows them to pick orders for customers waiting in line, and bring them to the front of the store, so customers have to spend less time in the enclosed space. Our team aimed to create a simple interface for staff because we want the app to be convenient for them, especially during this difficult time.

Admin-facing application

Untitled drawing (1)_edited.png

After defining requirements and building out different workflows, the designs were implemented. The team followed a method of continuous improvement where we built off previous designs and collected feedback from team members. 


Once the designs were completed the team booked meetings with the users from earlier interviews and conducted user testing. We got feedback on types of questions being asked, process flows and design specs that were then implemented into the final versions of our designs. Once done, we prepared final design spec documentation and conducted a design hand-off meeting with the developers.

User Testing + Iteration

Through this project, I was able to experience the end to end product management experience; from product pitching to planning and executing. I had the opportunity to learn more about establishing product scope and create feature requirements in accordance to stakeholder specifications. In addition to that, I had a great learning opportunity to lead an engineering team by running two-week sprints to produce successful results that met cutsomer satisfaction.  I'm excited to add these strengthened skills to my toolbelt and carry them forward to future projects.


You've made it this far 💚

Thanks for reading!

Over the course of our term at LCBO|next, we were lucky to be able to work on several impactful projects that made customers’ and clients' lives easier. LCBOdesk was just one example of the way that LCBO|next works - test, learn and iterate. Our term took place under unusual circumstances, but as an organization, and as a lab, we were able to keep things running smoothly by maintaining a focus on the concerns of our customers and staff. Thanks for reading — if you want learn about this project through a Product Designer lens, check out Amanda's case!

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