As a founder, we all thrive to build products that solve real problems for our customers. During the early days, quickly understanding these problems to crack the PMF is our highest priority. This quest results in having conversations with potential customers, stakeholders, friends, family – basically anyone willing to chat and give feedback.
With our newfound founder energy, we tend to hustle our way through 100s of these user interviews with the goal to truly understand the customers. But as we do more and more of these interviews, it becomes difficult to intuitively separate the signal from noise. With time, we tend to over index on recent feedback. And, it becomes hard to understand - what is the most requested feature, what is the biggest pain point, what is that the customer is still not saying?
Amidst all these challenges, we have to keep the rest of our team updated with the learnings so they can empathize with the customers and build what’s right for them. Based on my experience as a founder of a user research platform, I have learned some valuable lessons from user researchers. It helped me steer my way through 300+ interviews and ensure Betafi is solving truly pressing issues in the user research space. Here are my lessons:
It starts with being structured, and having a think about the assumptions that you are testing for. Making an interview script is common practice amongst UX researchers as part of their user research process, and founders can also benefit from having a clear set of assumptions you’re looking to validate/invalidate. Definitely, there will be interesting insights that emerge organically, and that is the delightful part of user interviews, but we need to be clear on what it is you’re trying to find out.
As a good practice, it is good to organize and take notes, and do a quick 5 min debrief right after the conversation. Every 10 interviews, it is good to reflect on what was learnt, which assumptions were validated and where possible try to isolate assumptions and refine questions being asked.
Talking to the right person is as critical as knowing what you’re trying to find out. At the early stage, as you’re figuring out the problem space, it is good to start broad and interview different stakeholders in the ecosystem. But once you have the clarity on who you are building for, then it is best to value feedback on that segment. VC’s/family/friends/’experts’ will definitely have feedback, but we have to remember who we 're building for.
As the product starts to take shape, there is a tendency to fast-track the interview process and jump to the demo, as we are eager to prove that the product works. But in the building stage, more conversations with the right focus and persona is way more valuable than rushing to the demo. It is imperative to appreciate what truly matters to the customer, and then a short, focused demo that addresses that pain point would be the best way to do it. As a new company on a short 30 minute call, showing your entire product might be overwhelming and irrelevant.
Customer conversations are a goldmine of insights, but you need a system of record. Whether it is notes or videos, having a consistent method of recording the conversations, what transpired, what you learnt over time and ‘proof points’ in the voice of the customer can really be beneficial for the company. For big features, this could be the basis and explanation of why it was built. It all starts with recording and staying structured while taking notes.
As your team grows, one of the most important things is to get them aligned with your product vision so that they can contribute their best. This begins with the team understanding your customers and the evolution of your product. With an insight repository, it gets easier to foster a culture of customer empathy as you can share your previous interview notes, research, insights, feedback, and also the evolution of your product.
Insights are useful at every stage of your product development cycle. Be it initial user research or your final product testing, the insights you collect will help you move closer to building products that your customers really want. The insights repository will become a single source of truth when it comes to customer insights. And, will be there to guide you in the future when you try to enhance an existing feature or build a new one. You don’t have to go back to doing 100s of interviews, as the insights are there. All you would need is validate with a small group.
Ultimately, as your product evolves and your company grows, it can be challenging to conduct numerous interviews, manually write down notes for every interview, collate them, analyze your insights, and then share them with the rest of your team.
We are building Betafi to make this process simple and more organized. With Betafi, you can structure your interview, capture and highlight important moments, organize your notes and share them all with your team almost immediately. You can also maintain a repository of all the insights you have gathered so that you and your teams can analyze them all at once and make sure that you haven’t missed out on any insights.
I have enjoyed the process of meeting and gathering feedback from customers in my journey to build Betafi. If you are someone like me, who wants to build products backed by solid customer insights, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Would love to hear about your experience and take the opportunity to show how we can help you build right while enjoying the process.