• June 26, 2017

Unfiltered Chat: Why Customer Feedback is Critical for Your Business

Unfiltered Chat: Why Customer Feedback is Critical for Your Business

The customer is always right. We know that. But how do you get in front of them without being annoying and what do you ask?

I chatted with Basel Fakhoury, cofounder of User Interviews, the other day and really dove into the customer feedback loop and why it’s important. My biggest takeaway was focusing on the cadence of chats and then what to focus on (build now) versus table for later. I also got a kick out of his JetBlue story.

Check out our conversation below and let me know if you’d like to join the chat.

Basel, I’m hijacking your office hours but I loved your background and your focus right now with User Interviews. I read something you said about your last company not solving a clear enough problem so you shut it down. How’d you find this out? How did you know?
3:09 pm
Thanks Greg! With my old company, MobileSuites (an app for people staying in hotels), we weren’t getting the traction we initially wanted. So we started doing interviews with our target market. We quickly found out that when we asked them their pain points around traveling or staying in hotels were, our solution wasn’t solving a top 3 problem.
3:13 pm
Common occurrence for a lot of startups. What types of questions did you ask and how did you get to these potential customers?
3:15 pm
So we originally were going through friends of friends, but ran out of people to talk to. Since, we were looking for travelers we actually ended up buying refundable tickets from JetBlue and going into the airport and talking to people at the gate and then refunding the tickets and doing the same thing the next day haha.
3:25 pm
That’s when we first started realizing that there should be an easier way to do user interviews.
3:25 pm
Haha that’s awesome. So tell me about User Interviews and how it works and then I want to get into what to do with that feedback when you get it.
3:26 pm
For sure. User Interviews makes it easy run user research studies by handling all the logistics around participant recruitment. We quickly find, screen, and schedule participants for in-person or remote studies.
3:28 pm
Ok, so you line up the people for me so I don’t have to go to the airport to recruit. Got it.
3:32 pm
Haha exactly, and then we handle all the dirty work like reminders, and payment
3:33 pm
We’ve established customer feedback as critical but what do you do with the responses? How do you know what to use and what to throw away, what to build and what to hold on?
3:33 pm
I think a lot of that depends on what you’re solving for. It’s important to go into the interviews/tests with hypotheses you’re trying to disprove or prove.
3:36 pm
Regardless of that, it’s important to look for trends, so if multiple people have similar feelings, that probably means there’s an issue with your product.
3:36 pm
How many people do you recommend chatting with? What’s a good enough data set?
3:39 pm
Good question – I think if it just at the idea stage you can get a lot of insight from 5-10 people. That’s usually enough to see a trend.
3:40 pm
It’s also a good idea to make sure you have time in between them because the first interviews could influence how you conduct the later ones.
3:40 pm
And one more what’s the most valuable time to talk to customers and conduct these user interviews? Post launch, pre launch, before/after product market fit, etc?
3:41 pm
I think it’s really important to keep in touch with users/potential users throughout the product lifecycle. However, it’s probably the most important for figuring out product market fit.
3:43 pm
One that’s been found, then talking to participants is really important for prototype/feature/workflow testing which can also make or break a product.
3:44 pm
So is this something on a monthly basis/quarterly/weekly would you say?
3:45 pm
Definitely, a lot of really innovative companies we work with (Pinterest, Spotify, etc) do these at multiple times a week. It really becomes a part of the company’s dna.
3:47 pm
A lot of times startups do it at a more ad hoc basis, but I think getting into a cadence, even if its monthly or quarterly can really help them stay user focused.
3:47 pm
Love it. Anything I’m missing or you’d add on user interviews before we go?
3:48 pm
I think we hit on a lot of the big points – thanks Greg!
3:49 pm
Solid, thanks again Basel. Talk soon.