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Friday, October 23 • 2:30pm - 3:15pm
Enterprise Customer Insights Research - How to Make an Impact?

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Customer research is typically hard to do for companies who build enterprise softwares, where the development cycle and customer feedback cycle can be long, and also it is relatively hard to find targeted customers to study. Here, we want to share our stories about how we collaborate with other customer-facing departments within the company to schedule customer interview sessions, what kinds of research deliverables we provide, and how we communicate the results to influence product roadmap planning and feature prioritization.

1.   Collaborate with other customer-facing departments to find customers  It is always hard to find customers to talk to for enterprise softwares, so leveraging the help of other customer-facing departments would be very efficient. Those departments can be Customer Success Managers or Account Managers, Pre-sale Engineers, and Support and Services, etc. Some best practices that we’ve learned are:
  • Hold regular meetings between PM+UX team and other teams. 
Our PM/UX team have monthly meetings with PSE (Pre-Sale Engineer) team and CSM (Customer Success Manager) team, as well as biweekly feature request review meetings with support/services team. Building great relationship with these teams and communicate often are very important. 
  • Set specific goals to schedule interview sessions
 Every week, we aim to have 2 one-on-one sessions with internal people and 1 customer interview session. Setting specific goals helps us to keep moving. 
  • Leverage already scheduled customer meetings
We don’t want to overwhelm customers with multiple meetings, so joining the already scheduled meetings (such as regular customer review meetings, demo meeting and user training meetings) would be another good way to make sure that we can interact with customers quickly. Sometimes, we can squeeze our interviews into that session, and other times, just listening to their feedback to our demos or trainings can also give great insights. 
2.    Customer research methods and deliverables
Though we’ve used various research methods such as interviews, surveys and usability testings, the 2 most effective methods are through 1-hour customer interview sessions and Salesforce customer case analysis, since they give us the most valuable and actionable insights.
Most of our customer interview sessions are done through web meetings, where we usually ask the customers to share their screen, walk us through how they currently use our products and also share what they are trying to accomplish. Sometimes, we would ask customers to share their own roadmaps when possible. These details are super helpful to understand customer goals and use cases. Typical deliverables that we’ve provided are:
  • In-depth customer profile & use case report
  • Persona use case summary (Once we talk to enough customers with particular job roles, we would summarize the patterns. One thing to notice that we don’t provide generic persona description, but provide detailed use case patterns, which we found more useful.)
  • Experience Journey Map / Task flow (This journey map includes not only the flow that how customers use our product, but all the other products customers are using and integrating with.)
The deliverables from customer interview sessions have greatly helped the whole company to better understand our customers, not just at the feature level, but more on the fact WHY customers need to do certain kinds of tasks.
Another effective research deliverable is summarizing customer feature request cases from Salesforce. Often times, when we’ve heard lots of complains about one problem area (both from internal team and customers as well), we would run a Salesforce report and do a deep analysis of all the cases. Our summaries have driven the product team to raise the priority of these problems in order to fix them quickly.

3.  Communicate the results effectively
How to communicate the results and provide actionable insights also need careful consideration, since people usually don’t have the patience to read a long ppt file. Two important best practices that we’ve found are: have a one-page summary and visualize the results as much as you can. Thus, even just from a glance, people can still get what your report is trying to say. And one last small tip, always include a screen capture of the one-page summary in your email, for those people who don’t even want to download your report!

avatar for Meng Yang

Meng Yang

Manager of User Experience and Customer Insights, NetBrain
10+ years of experience in interaction design and user experience research. This is the 4th time that my presentation is accepted to Boston UXPA!

Friday October 23, 2020 2:30pm - 3:15pm EDT
1 - Back Bay A/B (Research)