User testing doesn’t have to be a budget buster, but the opportunity costs of skimping on it go deeper than you think.
If you’re reading this post, you most likely know the value of user feedback and that your organization should absolutely be incorporating the opinions of real people that use your digital product. In my role, when consulting with clients on the proper approach to solve a UX problem, it’s entirely too common to see user testing sacrificed in favor of budget or timeline. This is a common and massive mistake that can cost the business much more than the investment in what testing would’ve cost.
What does your business stand to lose?
1. Missing major usability or experience issues
Often internal teams are too close to the product and overlook or brush aside major issues that prevent users from task completion. Frustrating the user leads directly to customer churn which is typically 5-15% per year for SaaS businesses . With just a 5% increase in customer retention, profits can increase by more than 25% over time .
2. Missed product opportunities
Checking in with the user can reveal hacks they apply when using your product to get the job done more efficiently. Identifying these and converting them into feature enhancements can differentiate your product from the crowd.
3. Wasted time
When we don’t incorporate the voice of the customer when strategizing and planning the product roadmap, it’s common to realize the need later on. This resets the clock on your product roadmap giving the competition time to catch up or introduce new features that leave you behind.
When is the best time to gather feedback?
The best time to get customer feedback when designing a digital product is THE ENTIRE TIME! I know, that sounds expensive and time-consuming but it doesn’t need to be. With the right tools and team, iterative user insights can be gathered cost-effectively and without massive delays to the product timeline.
So how do we gather insights efficiently?
1. Choose the right tool for the job
There are a wide variety of tools and methods available in the market today. We need to start with the outcome we’re looking to get from the effort. If you need to get broad feedback across a quantitatively significant number of users, we might select surveying or unmoderated testing tools. If we want to understand how someone uses a digital product in their day-to-day lives, we’d look at ethnographic research.
2. 70/30 rule
While we want to incorporate user feedback throughout the process, front load your efforts. Apply 70% of your insights effort before you get to design and development sprints and 30% to validate and refine the solution. This ensures the foundational decisions for the product design and development strategy are informed by the people who will be using it, reducing risk to the project timeline and budget. From there we check in with our users on our solutions to further refine the approach.
3. Incorporate all personas
Ok, we’re assuming you have personas defined here. If not, that’s an article for another day and another important first step. We’ve seen that sometimes teams conduct insight research with only the primary persona in mind but major issues in workflows and feature sets can be missed without checking in across your entire user base.
4. Be cost-effective
We don’t need to pay tens of thousands of dollars for flagship user testing software (you know who you are, overpriced software company). There are many great tools out there with Maze, Lookback, Optimal Workshop to name just a few that we like. Aside from these platforms, make use of other tactics like in-app surveys, social media polling, impression testing, and on-site feedback boxes.
By utilizing these methods, businesses can cost-effectively gather feedback from users, integrate feedback, and improve their digital product without spending a significant amount of money or wasted time on insight collection methods. At Spark, these approaches are baked into our IDEAS process and are a key to unlocking the correct solutions.
- Hurff, S. (2022, March 2). B2B SaaS Churn Rate Guide, Benchmarks & How to Improve. Churnkey. https://churnkey.co/blog/b2b-saas-churn-rate-guide-benchmarks-how-to-improve/
- Saravana, K. (2022, October 6). Churn In SaaS And Five Ways To Reduce It. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2022/10/06/churn-in-saas-and-five-ways-to-reduce-it/?sh=2029c7e65a46