Inclusive customer interviews make it your friday task
Customer research has been a core part of Intuit from the earliest days of the company. In the 1980’s Intuit engineers would hang out at computer stores to find people buying Quicken software and ask if they could follow them home to watch their installation process to learn
about pain points and opportunities. Kurt Walecki, Intuit VP of Design, described the importance:
From the very beginning, Intuit has done user research both to understand how customers are using their current products and to identify customers’ unmet needs, allowing them to introduce new products to the market to satisfy them.
Every product and team at Intuit uses customer research and interviews to design and build products and new functionality. Intuit’s use of Lean Startup includesthe mantra “fall in love with
the problem, not the solution”
The goal is to understand the customer’s pain points and missed opportunities first, expand on the problem, build prototypes, continually review with the customer to test solutions, and then promote it to a product feature. This customer focus ensures the product grows with useful features and doesn’t bloat with unnecessary technology.
Intuit is a customer-focused company and interviews and go-homes with customers is a key part of our design and development process. My goal for this year was to significantly increase the representation of our customers with a disability. Further, the goal was to include a wide spectrum of disabilities in the outreach. Including a customer interview in my weekly schedule requires planning, lots of outreach, and lots of time for the follow through. This presentation will share lessons learned and encourage you to reach out to your customers.
Before you begin interviewing people, you need to know your customer. Why would they use your product? What are the potential goals and barriers. You need to know your customer before reaching out for interviews. For instance, Intuit’s customers are small businesses, self-employed individuals, people looking to control their finance, and those who file taxes.
I started the search by contacting local agencies, such as Lighthouse for the blind, Center for Independent Living, Abilities United,... QuickBooks Online posts a real-time stream of customer feedback to a special Slack channel. This makes it easy to search for accessibility-oriented feedback. This is a list of keywords used by customers that reflect accessibility concerns: https://github.com/7mary4/a11y-data-keywords Intuit’s customer focus started with engineers hanging out in computer stores and asking people who bought the software if they could watch them install and set up the program. This gave us critical insight into usability. Go to your customers, this could be conferences, meetups, trade shows, etc
Being able to search customer feedback makes it easy for anyone to follow up on issues. This particular search was for “tab key”
This allows us to track all accessibility, customer reported, and issues based on particular users.
Temi is a low-cost option for creating transcripts from videos. https://www.temi.com/ It’s 10 cents/minute. The quality depends on the recording, but there’s a dashboard to edit the transcripts before saving them.
Intuit sends the participant an email with a link to download a gift card. I’ve tested this with clients and it works well.
My Sony camera tends to overheat and shut off mid interview Bluejeans is Intuit’s preferred remote meeting software. But some of the buttons are not keyboard accessible. Zoom is the best.
QuickBooks: oPhone interview - Beta Tests - In person meets - User Research - Customer connect - Email Follow me homes
Inclusive customer interviews make it your friday task
Inclusive Customer Interviews:
Make it Your Friday Task
Ted Drake, Intuit Accessibility
Cheryl Aranha, Intuit Innovation Catalyst
CSUN ATC 2019
Set an audacious goal
Interview a customer every Friday
Who is your customer?
What are their goals and barriers?
Finding People to Interview
Local Education, Rehabilitation, and Non-Profit Groups.
Explore customer feedback channels
Follow up with complaints and request a call
Reach out to your network.
Go to your customers
Follow Up on Interviews
1 hour interview = 3 hours follow up
● Use Post-It notes
during the call.
● Record the call
● Take screenshots
of problem areas
Use Labels in Jira/GitHub
Labels used at Intuit
Let people know when changes were made from
Archive your videos
Create a transcript
Publish video + transcript to intranet
Store video and transcript in shared folder
Announce these recordings via Slack
Pay for the interview
And make sure the payment process is accessible
● Bluejeans is not accessible. Use Zoom or Skype for remote interviews.
● Use a GoPro or camera that can record extended sessions.
● Use a backup camera/microphone when possible
● Watch your lighting and ambient sounds
● Give people time to answer, don’t interrupt.
● Leave a gap between questions for editing.
Mozzeria interview surfaced the
need to find an accountant that
communicated via Sign Language.
All ProConnect members can now
Significant changes to QuickBooks
Online Invoice, Estimate, and more
after Brandon Biggs interviews
Deep Customer Empathy
better than they know themselves
Only when you can experience
their pain and frustrations can you
truly delight them
Why do we need it
➔ •Find the customer’s problem, not the problem you are looking to solve
➔ •Identifying and Defining the Problem
➔ •Narrow down to solutions
➔ •Rapidly experiment with Customers
➔ •Complete the feedback loop
● •Follow Me Homes
● •Customer Interviews:
○ Deep Probing
○ The 5 Why’s
● •Insight Mining
● •Say- Think- Feel-Do
Uncover the unexpected
● •Understand why people behave as they do:
● •Understand behaviors that just occurred
○ Timing is critical- as close to when the problem is faced
● •Learn why customer responded as they did.
● •Map a face to the use case
Uncovers surprises that could be game-changing.
● Decide what behavior you want to understand
● When the behavior needs to be observed
● Find the source
● Means (in person, by phone or chat)
● Team up
● Decide what method
● Take notes / Record, with consent
Questions to start with: Open Ended vs Close Ended
Can you tell me more about that?
Tell me the steps you went through.
What else did you try?
What was going through your mind when you
What were you hoping to see?
What exactly did you see?
·Why is that?
·What was behind that decision?
·What was your reasoning there?
·What were you trying to achieve?
·What's the outcome you'd wish for?
·What was your intention?
·What was your expectation?
Let me recount what you said to make
sure I got it…
Thank the customer
The 10 Commandments of interviews
Silent observation and clarifying questions
1. Do not outsource
2. Do not ask hypotheticals- ask what was actually done/ going on
3. Don't ask about things that person did a while ago
4. Don't interrupt
5. Don't offer your own explanations
6. Don't give advice
7. Don't try to sell them on features or products
8. Don't translate- look for verbatims
9. Don’t’ go with too many pre baked questions
10.Have a casual, non judgmental conversation
Post the interview- Insight Mining
○ Share verbatims
○ Look for patterns.
○ –What was unexpected…or didn't quite make sense?
○ Savor each surprise.
● Say – Think - Feel - Do
● Next steps