Published on 2023-02-24
Your Internal User Research
You have a wealth of user research data within your internal teams
If you work in a medium to large organisation chances are you have multiple departments which are responsible for getting your product into the customers hands. Building the product is just one part of the product life cycle. Once the product is built you have marketing, sales and support teams who have more regular touch points with the customer and they have a wealth of knowledge about the customer, their problems, emotions and motivations.
Sales teams usually spend time building relationships with their potential customers, this means customers are more likely to be open with their feedback and potential problems they are experiencing. This allows Product Managers to build stronger relationships with their Sales team but also the opportunity to train them in asking some product questions so that we are getting continuous User Research data from them.
This is something I have done in a few places I have worked in. Build a relationship with your sales team, understand how you can help them with their sales process but also ask them to listen about how the customer is talking about competitors and what their pain points are. Although this is not a full research it is invaluable information that can help you with some decisions but also keep a finger on the pulse.
Marketing teams are usually at events where they get lots of insights into industry trends but also useful information from the customers. Again if you build a strong relationship with the marketing team and make them aware of questions to ask and what to look out for then they’ll become another invaluable source of User research data.
And finally, the part of the team that gets forgotten are the support or the call centre team. They are the ones who are engaging with the customers on a daily basis and talking to them about the issues they are experiencing. They can identify problems and the emotions attached to them. They give us a fast feedback loop on the products and features and allow us to continuously improve existing products.
Most people think research is only with the end users and must be done by a user researcher or product person. But by using your existing teams and their knowledge we can get rich User Research and feedback data through different stages of the product life cycle. Where Sales and Marketing can identify customer problems to solve, the Support team can give you feedback on how your product is performing.