User research is in 2020, what Design started to become in the 2010s – a core tenet to build product experiences on. In the words of the Microsoft Design team here, the future of UX research is to function as a multiplier. Knowing your customer is the key to building great products for them. The more product and customer success people realise this, the sooner they start getting deeply involved in user interviews.
The most important outcome of customer research is coming away with those valuable insights that help you decide the way forward. These insights are uniquely specific to each customer, seeped in their personal experiences, their own definition of the problem space, their expectations of an ideal solution and hence, with the product. Hence, their background becomes important to understand their perspective.
Here are some quick tips for things to keep in mind before interviewing a user:
🎯 Define your goals – What are you trying to achieve in a one-on-one conversation with your customer? User interviews are done at various junctures – pure research at the beginning, ongoing support and success; defining the relevant objectives is a starting point.
👥 Decide who you want to interview – This article by YCombinator’s Michael Seibel on User you don’t want lays it out clearly on identifying the users you want to build for, and hence interview. This is absolutely crucial if you’re building a zero-to-one product, but is equally important at other stages too.
🧐 Know your audience – You want to understand not just your user, but their ecosystem and environment too. Knowing their professional background, their specific challenges, their needs and their current solutions is critical to deriving key insights from their experience. Cue Workomo
📝 Be prepared – Start by making a short list of questions you want to ask. Depending on the maturity of your product and the stage of building, these questions can range from broad asking about broad viewpoints to specific points of feedback on a pixel perfect design. Having listed down these questions beforehand, you’re in a good shape to steer the conversation in the right direction.
📢 Let your customer speak – Once you’ve asked your question, let your user speak freely, without interruptions. A lot of unexpected insights surface in this free flowing conversation, if you’re listening closely. Having the liberty to say what’s on their mind, sometimes people tend to delve into deeper understanding of the problems they’re facing, the root causes and the whys.
🕵🏻♀️ Peek behind the Whats – The previous point brings us to probing around the motivations behind what your customers are sharing. The 5 Whys work well in building an in-depth analysis of the root causes of anything. Answering the Whys makes problem solving efficient and effective.
In today’s fast paced work environment, there are enough hard things for Product and Customer Success Managers to keep up with. That’s where Workomo steps in – automatically showcasing relevant and just enough information about a customer on-the-go. What’s more is these people Cue Cards are available exactly when it’s relevant, and where you need it – in your virtual workbench – within your Google Meet and Zoom.
Sometime ago, we started noticing an interesting group of users actively using Workomo – Product Managers and Customer Success Managers, and guess what they’re using it for?
In this future of work, people are at the center of all work, even when they’re not. Meeting everyone virtually, doing people-prep has never been more crucial, and never been easier.
PS: this post is part of the “How Innovators use Workomo” series, in which we share how our most retained users are using the product. Check out the previous posts on using Workomo for networking on Lunchclub, prepping on candidates as a hiring manager & preparing for your Zoom interview.