It was a few weeks since our new product release, so the perfect time to initiate a conversation with our first onboarded client. I’d been working on the product as a UX Designer for a few months, so I had a pretty decent lay of the land and was excited to receive feedback. We’re very fortunate to have a UX Researcher on the team, and I immediately looked to her to run the call. However, I was a bit nervous about lacking the technical knowledge to understand the live feedback (we build API Management products that can be highly complex).
A huge kudos to my team — they heard my concerns and encouraged me to lead the call with their support. I definitely wouldn’t have volunteered myself, but having my peers behind me believing in my abilities was the confidence boost I needed. We scheduled the call for a week later, and I got to work!
This was my first time leading a remote user feedback call. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. If you’re like me, having a base plan can make you feel more confident that you’re on the right path. Miro is life, so I used the tool as my single source of truth. I defined what the output of the Miro board would be:
If you feel inexperienced in an area, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. User research calls were new to me, and it was amazing to ask questions and consult with our UX researcher to keep me on track. If you don’t have a UX researcher on your team, here are a few articles to give you a helping hand:
Conducting a User Feedback Session, by Anisha Singh — written back in 2014, but the information is still as relevant as ever.
How to conduct yourself in a UX research session, by Matt Corrall —almost the same advice I got from our UX Researcher.
Making the switch to collecting customer feedback remotely, by Janelle Estes — a short read on tackling a call remotely if you’re used to in-person interactions.
There were clear areas we wanted feedback on from a user experience perspective. Still, it was also essential to involve the Product Owner to highlight questions from a strategic point of view.
I created two boards, one for user experience and the other for product/strategic questions. We worked async to get all the areas of questioning noted down in Miro and then jumped on a call to read through and theme them.
It’s essential to have an order of events on a feedback call. You don’t want to be asking a question about their onboarding experience at the start, middle and end (causing the conversation to become disjointed). If the questions are themed, the client stays in the mindset of that topic, giving you more in-depth details and the opportunity to dig further into their answers.
Order of Events is just the fancy name I came up with for what essentially is the script for the call to keep me on track. Again I used Miro for this and broke it into four sections:
I knew what I needed to say in the call introduction, but I feared stage fright would cause me to forget. So I wrote down some prompting guides to ensure that I covered everything I needed to say:
Previously, our team had worked together to write down and theme questions. In my Order of Events, I highlighted the theme name, grouped all the questions underneath and roughly put them into the order I wanted to ask. I then used it as a guide to reference during the call.
Conversations don’t always go in the order you intend, and the guide enabled me to pull out the appropriate themed questions depending on where the conversation was going. This technique also meant that I didn’t miss any of the questions.
Having each theme highlighted was advantageous as I could quickly scan through the themes and read the related questions. I was able to keep up with the conversation much faster than having to read through each question individually, which meant I was much more present in the conversation.
With expert guidance from our UX Researcher, I put together some tips that I could reference during the call. One of the crucial tasks when leading a user feedback call is to make sure the conversation stays relevant and on task. You don’t want to be wasting your or your clients time.
Some conversation steerers I had were:
As well as the all-important response when you don’t understand what the user is asking back to you (it happens!), or you don’t know something: “I can find out more and get back to you after this call”.
As the call drew to a close, I had some concluding prompts to help me finish:
It went better than I expected! The prep work I did helped me feel mentally prepared and gave me the extra confidence I needed. The call didn’t go in the order I had set out, but the themed questions helped me think on my feet and stay in the game.
The hardest part was making it seem less like a question-answer session and more like a conversation. By the second half of the call, both myself and the client were more at ease, and the dialogue felt much more natural. Something that I think will become easier with practice!
One thing I’ll say is to make sure you have someone on the call taking notes or take notes yourself when reviewing the recording. It isn’t easy to stay engaged and lead the conversation if you’re distracted by recording the information. So concentrate your energy instead on finding those insights.