Friday 19 February 2021

Ways that businesses can support NZ COVID Tracer use

I was asked by a journalist from NZ Herald about ways that businesses can support the use of NZ COVID Tracer. Based on our research at Koi Tū, where we are looking into the drivers of uptake for digital contact tracing, I pulled out some of the suggestions and processes and put them in this tweet thread that is published here so that we can find it again easily later:

1) Usability and Access: Businesses have a role to play in making the QR codes as easily accessible and visible as possible. Place the posters where it will be easy for customers to scan - try it out yourself as staff! If you're struggling, so will your customers.

Print in colour if you can, as this helps people recognise the poster and associate it with the app. Consider whether placing the code on a window might cause reflections that make it hard to scan. Staff can tell struggling patrons that scanning on the reverse side works too!

Check for posters that are a bit old and tattered, and consider replacing them with a new one - the QR code has quite a bit of fine-grained detail on it, so any rips or tears in the code itself are likely to cause errors. If your staff scan-in daily, they'll know if it's working.

2) Nudges: A simple prompt significantly increases the likelihood of someone scanning the QR code. It doesn't necessarily need to be at the entrance, just at some point when the customer is in the store.

If you plan to ask staff to nudge, make sure you have a de-escalation plan for customers who may refuse. You can note that scanning is voluntary and pull back. But it may be appropriate for your business to insist on scanning in - it will depend on the business.

It's important to acknowledge that not everyone will be able to scan the QR code (they might not have a phone, they might have a phone that doesn't work with the app), so have some flexibility and compassion when nudging folks to scan the QR code.

3) Incentivisation: Even a small incentive can have a significant impact on motivation, like a 5% discount on a meal. It's important to design the incentive so that people don't scan multiple times unnecessarily to try and get more benefit.

Don't run a lottery where scanning more gets you more entries, but offer discounts that require the person to physically be at your premises. Remember to have a mechanism for folks who can't scan the QR code to get the benefit (eg same discount if they do the pen-paper register)

4) Privacy: Lots of businesses still have physical contact tracing registers - the app actually offers better privacy for individuals, so when nudging your staff can emphasise this point to encourage QR code scanning.

I also recommend that businesses use a ballot-style physical contact tracing register (writing on a small piece of paper that gets dropped into a box), which protects privacy better. There's a template here: and an example here:

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