Going through the motions of figuring out how a new product can best serve its customers requires time, patience, and a whole lot of determination. It’s always great to rely on your own past experiences for the next move, but sometimes you get stuck.
At this point, it’s like you are playing Who Wants To Be a Millionaire and you are stuck on the million dollar question. But luckily, you have one of the best lifelines left - phone a friend. This is what talking to customers feels like. They have the answers you are looking for and being able to get feedback from real users and potential customers is the most rewarding part of the process.
After talking to over 100 users and potential users, here are some things that we have learned:
1. You shouldn’t do most of the talking
In fact, you should barely talk at all. The way to learn most effectively is to have an open ended conversation in which the customer/user is encouraged to speak their mind and let all of their thoughts and ideas flow. In the opening, it’s better to structure the call and ask questions like “How are you using the product?” and “What do you like about it and what could be better?” These questions are kept open and are not leading in any way. It’s important to not seek out answers that support your own thoughts, which leads to confirmation bias. Instead, keeping the questions open and letting the customer share their feedback while you listen and take notes allows for the raw thoughts and feelings to organically appear.
2. Understand the personas more in depth
At Xoba, we are building a platform to enable people to find, organize, and share information faster and easier than ever before. We want everyone to experience what we are building. However, we knew we had to start somewhere and we had hypotheses of who would engage with our platform the most in the beginning. We actually found out we were wrong our first couple of times. We thought we understood something about a persona that we actually didn’t - our discussions cleared this up. We learned several new use cases for Xoba through our conversations which sparked our interest to corroborate these findings with other users so that we were able to build a picture of how one solution can address a need that multiple people have. With this, we were able to comprehend what mattered most to various personas and how Xoba can address their pain points quickly.
3. Find opportunities for quick wins
A lot of the time, users end up asking for things that you have already built but that they just do not know about. This in itself is valuable to realize because it means either we were not doing a good job getting the word out there about certain use cases, or our onboarding process was not intuitive enough to make people aware. The value in this is that when you tell these users that what they want to do is possible today or get back to them in a short period of time with a new feature that solves their problem, the customer delight is there and that quick win builds brand trust and loyalty. We’ve had calls during which we were able to get back to the user with new integrations or new Card capabilities that streamline their workflow, fix previous issues, and overall make our customers’ lives easier.
4. Get live feedback for messaging
One of the best skills that we learned is how to message. After talking to so many customers from different backgrounds, we were able to iterate the pitch and the value of Xoba, letting us hone in on the messaging that would resonate with our early adopters. This really was a trial and error type process that only worked through tons of practice, but we couldn’t have done it without our users. In the end, we were able to refine our website messaging which has led to more leads and higher conversion rates.
5. There’s so much more to learn
Yes, we learned that there is a lot more to learn. We are excited about all the progress and value we were able to achieve so far, but there is a lot more work to do and we can’t get there without more and more feedback calls. In these early stages, the feedback from users is the most crucial item founders can collect because it allows you to understand from the ground up how your product can provide value.
At Xoba, we loved each and every one of the calls we jumped on because we just gained so much insight. To all the people that we have talked to - thank you so much for your time. The time we spent on those calls has been so worth it and we can’t wait to bring even more Xoba magic to you all.