We speak a lot about user research at Automattic within our various product divisions and it’s easy to get your head down in the trenches and feel like you don’t have the time to come out to even see your users, never mind speak to them!
At times I feel like this, and in my role as the lead of the team responsible for maintaining the mothership that is WooCommerce.com and building out new features for it that benefit our customers, our list of projects is endless and the time to speak to customers is limited.
However, while working on a follow-on project to a new feature we launched recently, it got me thinking about how big a role your support teams could and should contribute to your understanding of your customers needs and/or desires about your product, or the biggest pain points that you could look to solve.
One of the things I have focussed on is building the channel of communication between my team and the various support teams within Automattic that support our product and in particular how our customers manage the purchases and downloads they make on WooCommerce.com.
In this specific scenario, our Accounts team had perfected the method of transferring purchases between WooCommerce.com accounts over the years, even going so far as creating a FieldGuide page (our internal WIKI of sorts) due to the popularity of the request for other Happiness Engineers who ran into the issue to follow.
What this did for us as a team, was provide us with a very clear understanding of what the ‘issue’ was that our customers needed solving. Essentially our support teams had already conducted the user research on this specific issue through answering multiple tickets that had the same request, and had provided the clear set of steps that we needed to automate – this allowed us to focus our time on making sure that we maximised the impact vs time constraint we had for this project by focussing on making the actual user experience for our customers as simple and seamless as possible.
So if you feeling like you not managing to speak to your customers directly right at the moment, I would strongly suggest reaching out to your support teams – they deal with your customers every day and might have some useful insights for features or improvements you could be making to your product.