The need to develop a nuanced understanding of your customers' needs is essential for a product to succeed. We have discussed how user research can be an essential and incredibly effective tool for this, but how do we show the value of this research to our teams? How do we use this data to generate insights that we can share with our companies?
User research is a key practice for discovering your customer’s behaviors and incentives. The ability to relay this information back to your team for optimal impact is a key driver of success. Understanding what consumers are expecting is essential for sustainability and growth.
Using Metrics Effectively
Metrics are an incredibly effective way to grab stakeholder attention. Do you need to convey consumer interest, frustrations, expectations, the usability of a product, or something else? We have already discussed the importance of asking targeted questions that provide the information you want, but how do we use that information?
Metrics are essential to summarize information from your user interviews and communicate the results with stakeholders. They can be used in various ways – communicating summarized data or, more impactfully, conveying statistically significant data to your teams that they must act upon. Not only will this assist your company in reaching its goals, but it will also quickly solidify your value to your team.
In short, to deliver an excellent presentation to your team:
- You need to link the data you tracked in your user research to information that your team will care about.
- You need to captivate the team with a compelling story
- And you need to ensure that the team can easily understand your presentation.
It is critical to convey value to your team through our data when presenting to your team. But how do we do this effectively? In short, success lies in how your results answer a specific question that your team had or how they highlight a new finding that can improve your team’s business operations.
Let’s consider these points in the context of an actual presentation.
Presentation Strategies in Practice: Example 1
“You need to link the data you tracked in your user research to information that your team will care about.”
The first strategy involves focusing on actionable insights into the questions that your stakeholders want to know. Do they want to know the specific way a client uses a particular product function?
Consider the following points as a guide for the three primary criteria to include in your presentation:
- The specific ways that a user engages with a specific feature.
- Why do users engage with a product or feature in this way?
- The way the product is used or could be used has on a company’s bottom line or productivity.
Breaking this information down will help your team understand consumer behavior and develop action plans based on the data. You must link the specific metric you track to the value it generates for your team, and here is how to do it.
- Your financial services team has recently launched a new application through their company that promotes financial transparency by automatically tracking expenses for users via categories, such as food, recreation, rent, house bills, and other categories. You conduct several user interviews and found that consumers want to use this application to control their spending in key areas. You tracked a metric related to the use of this application.
- However, users are frustrated with the strict categories; the application doesn't allow them to account for specific differences such as "eating out" vs. "food purchases at the grocery store and cooked at home." Your users cannot truly understand their financial behavior in this area based on this model. You have identified that they engage (or want to engage) with the product to self-monitor financial behavior.
- Based on these user interviews, you also know these consumers have begun seeking other options that allow them to track these data, impacting company sales. You present this data to the team by showing how many users the application has, how many users prefer additional financial tracking features, and how much business has been lost to other competition. You have linked the metric related to the use of this application and the value it could generate for the company by showing how they can use this data to increase their sales.
Categories are a powerful tool for communicating and summarizing the needs of consumers to your team – did the user interview participants feel that they needed to track the difference in food costs? Was this preference enough for them to actively choose another product that could lead to your company losing sales? Whether yes or no, this could be an essential tool you can use to communicate the value of the research your team can produce.
Presentation Strategies in Practice: Example 2
“You need to captivate the team with a compelling story.”
The second strategy involves going a bit beyond looking at the data. Once you've analyzed your interview results and compiled them into reportable information for your stakeholders, you can use this information to understand how your team can achieve its goals. Rather than focusing on what users said they wanted, present analytics with a compelling story that can meet consumer demands. Summarizing your interview research into actionable insights with a story that speaks to your team will increase the value of your presentation.
Consider the previous example, in which the financial services company must diversify the categories that expenses are filed in so that clients can better understand their spending habits. Implementing a larger list of categories based on client feedback will lead your team’s clients to have an improved understanding of their spending habits. This will, in turn, increase sales and improve customer retention rates. Using a story that communicates this need while speaking directly to the stakeholder is beneficial. Here is an example of what you might say to accomplish this during your presentation.
- "User A and B are a young couple who are saving to buy their first home, and they are expecting a newborn. Naturally, finances are a bit tight right now, and they need to prioritize saving some money. Now, this family has a rule where they can eat out for lunch during the workday, but that’s it. How much money do they spend on groceries vs. eating out? Let’s say that User A and B look at their expenses and find that they spend an equal amount on going out and grocery shopping each month, and it’s time to track their spending each day so they can make changes and maximize their savings. They turn to our product; however, these users find that they can’t track information this way. Frustrated with the idea of tracking this information themselves each month, these users delete our application and begin searching for alternatives”. You have told a story that successfully communicated how a User would utilize the product, why they engaged with it, and the value of this information to your team.
Presentation Strategies in Practice: Example 3
“The impact that the way the product is used or could be used has on a company’s bottom line or productivity.”
There are many tools to analyze and synthesize data, so it is critical only to use your team's information and presentation techniques. If we consider the above example, several considerations could impact how this information is received.
One consideration is to focus on the technology used. Does your team use the most up-to-date software? Do they understand products that offer advanced visuals, or would they prefer more traditional data summaries in Excel? It is important to consider these presentation modalities to select the appropriate path forward that optimizes your team’s engagement.
Another consideration is to know what your stakeholders want and need. Depending on your product, they could need information on engagement, use, sales, demographic usage, competition, and more.
- In the above example, if your team is primarily focused on figuring out why sales of their financial services are dropping, you may use software that can communicate declining sales through data visualization techniques (such as Microsoft Excel, rather than Microsoft Word). Further, you may want to tailor your language to focus on user expectations' impact on sales rather than prioritizing a presentation on ways to optimize product features. While these presentation tactics can ultimately communicate similar messages, you must consider how the message will be received. When you consider the team's optimal way to receive your message, you can make appropriate changes to ensure your company easily digests the information.
The benefits of user research presentations are vast. You can gain insight into your stakeholders' expectations and how they receive data, learn information, and then act upon it. Though there are many challenges of user research and presenting findings that are most impactful to clients, it is a valuable tool for discovering consumer insights and actionable improvements to products, business processes, and how clients perceive an organization.