Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

War Stories - part 6

If you do enough research with real human beings you will start to build up a collection of ‘war stories’ about things that went wrong that you can learn from. This could be anything from you forgot the spare batteries to recruiting the wrong people to speak to and anything in between.

A couple of weeks ago I got asked to do some interviews with some current customers. This was very exciting as I do not get to speak to customers as often as I would like; most of my participants are members of the public, because anyone could be a customer in principle.

The customers had already been told we would like to speak to them, so were all expecting my email.

I was going to use the platform to run the research, so we could record it and my colleagues could watch. I used their email template to make sure I covered everything from a technical side of things before adding my own information too.

This worked well and I got a good response rate. However this is where I learnt that being a bit more flexible can be a good thing.

One customer came back to me worried about the tech set up. I offered to go through it with them ahead of time, but when I did not get a response to that, I suggested just having a chat over the phone. This went down really well and on the day we had a great and useful chat.

A second customer signed up for everything perfectly, but when the interview time came did not make an appearance on the video chat.

When I finally made contact, again over the phone, they explained that although my email had said something about a computer, as they do not have a webcam they had just assumed it would be a phone call. We also had a really useful chat.

So I have learnt two things. One, make it even clearer in my emails what I want people to do. And two that although being able to record the session and let my colleagues watch at the same time is best, giving participants an option over how I contact them is also really important. If I had included a phone call option in my original email would my recruitment rate have been even higher?

After all the aim of the research is to find out as much as possible from our customers and if that means some conversations do not get recorded it is not the end of the world.

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