When starting cooperation with clients, we often hear that they know their users very well, know their needs and expectations. The implementation of several dozen projects allows us to confidently state that this is a perspective that should be verified. A meeting with a person, a collision with the context in which it operates, and thus the ability to define the problems that it struggles with in contact with the product, is much more than demographic data or segmentation.
We collected statements of managers we work with to illustrate how important and valuable to our clients is meeting with users during the implementation of the project. All cited people participated in research aimed at creating a new or optimizing an existing product.
What is the real value of customer participation in research?
- You know what you pay for.
- You get to know your target users.
- You get knowledge about users directly from them, not just from the report.
- You confront your ideas with users.
- You educate yourself and your team.
- You meet your "business partner".
- You use the acquired knowledge in your organization.
- An investment that pays off.
You know what you pay for
Individual interviews, focus groups or usability tests usually require the involvement of at least two researchers – the moderator leads the study and the observer records it and takes notes. As Mobee Dick, however, we try to invite one more person to the research team – our client. It can be a product owner, project manager, director, developer, or other person whose perspective influences further product development. What are the benefits of this approach? As a customer, you not only get the real value that comes from the research summary report, but above all you see the benefits of the recommended method for which you pay.
– Sitting behind a two-way mirror means that with accompanying people you are able to immediately talk about what the customer feels and does using the designed solution. Thanks to this, you can immediately brainstorm and think about what you need to do to improve the design. Access to feedback from customers, including their accurate comments, meant that the concept of functions and screens in the application changed, creating an ever better solution. (Aldo Ruiz, PLL LOT, E-Commerce Digital Senior Product Owner)
You get to know your target users
You gain knowledge about users, their needs and problems related to using your product or service, as well as about the entire context and the ecosystem in which they operate. Thanks to this, you are able to look at your product through the eyes of your customers, and such a change of perspective is very valuable for product teams.
It is also the value that Aldo Ruiz noticed:
– Participation in user research allowed me to look at the product from the perspective of a potential customer. Such experience gives an "unexpected" point of view that opens the designer's eyes to things he did not pay attention to before.
You acquire knowledge directly from users
Report and research conclusions bring great value, especially in the area of strategy and project decisions. However, direct contact with the customer, participation in the conversation, and the opportunity to ask questions are even more valuable. Participation in research makes you better understand the conclusions of the research team and it is easier for you to include them in further activities.
- For me, as a Project Manager, participation in research brought a new look at customers. I was able to learn more about their problems. Thanks to this, I knew that my work could not end only at the initially assumed stage, it must go beyond the projected framework. (Kamil Łucki, company development expert in the Corporate Customer Department, mBank)
You confront your ideas with users
Meeting a user who does not understand or does not need the proposed functionality is eye-opening. Instead of spending time and money on unnecessary elements, you can invest in developing areas which the research proves to be crucial for users.
– We looked at what we created through the eyes of our users. Of course, not everything was perfect, they didn't like many things. At the same time, they drew our attention to many useful curiosities.
In my opinion, we must participate in research repeatedly. A human, locked up in an office who does not confront his clients' expectations, at some point begins to "drift" and create products probably only for himself. (Michał Miler, Head of Product, STS)
Educate yourself and your team.
You gain knowledge about how users utilize your product, but also a new design and research experience. You can use this knowledge in other contexts and other products. It becomes a permanent resource for your team. It is worth thinking about research in the long term, and not just on an ad hoc basis.
- Sometimes, with small changes, we can significantly improve the user experience. Participation in research helps to verify the priorities of planned changes. I believe that it is worth conducting research once in a while and check if the direction in which we plan to advance is the one that the customers expect from us. It is for them that we build a product, and we want the use of our products to bring them a lot of joy. (Ewa Mryczko, Project Manager, Scrum Master, STS)
You get to know your "business partner"
The project gains in value when the client's company and you work side by side, as one team. It is not only the meeting with the user that is important, but also, the time before and after the study, when the team can share expectations, conclusions, and observations. Our experience shows that this exchange of thoughts strengthens the cooperation between the client and the agency, which constitutes one team.
You use the acquired knowledge in your organization
The art of business decision argumentation is a real challenge, especially when it comes to issues related to obtaining additional budgets, designing new functions in the product, or changes at the strategy level. Participation in research gives you real business arguments that you can use in your organization.
Quoted earlier, Kamil Łucki from mBank, mentioned that:
– Participation in research turns out to be valuable also after the end of the project. When I train mBank employees, I can refer to the specific examples, pay attention to real customer problems, which we can solve thanks to the payment integrator, which we created in cooperation with Mobee Dick.
An investment that pays off
Participation in research requires finding time, leaving the office, and taking a break from your current tasks. What may seem too costly, has benefits that you should be aware of. Direct contact with the users translates into a better understanding of their perspective and the context in which they operate. The user is the most valuable source of knowledge that allows us to create effective and useful products and services, what the organizations we work with learn every day.