Best Practices

Talking to real people: our favorite user research tips

October 4, 2023
A stylized toucan and parrot stare at each other.

While every growth team runs A/B tests, not all of them pair that with user interviews and usability tests. If your team isn’t collecting both quantitative and qualitative data, you’re leaving out half of the easily-accessible information about your users.

The value of talking to real people — customers or not — cannot be overstated. A well-designed product or marketing experiment can tell you a lot about what people are doing, but it can’t tell you why they are doing it. For that, you have to speak to real people.

If you don't have a dedicated user researcher or usability team, you can still begin incorporating insights gleaned from real people. Read on for easy ways to get started!

Our favorite tips

  1. Find folks on LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is an easy way to find people with specific work experience or titles at companies. You can message people who fit your criteria via InMail within the product, or you can use a browser extension like ContactOut which will show you the email address (often both work and home) and even sometimes a phone number. Don’t be shy — people want to talk about themselves!
  2. Write a script. You want to be sure that you’re writing open-ended questions, and a script can help you stick to that goal. These are questions such as, If you couldn’t use XYZ tool anymore, what would you do instead?
  3. Make it easy to RSVP. Allow people to RSVP at times that work for them using a tool like Calendly, Reclaim, or Clockwise — a scheduling link where anyone can sign up for an appointment.
  4. RECORD THE INTERVIEW. Sorry, were we yelling? Please remember to make a recording of the interview or it’s much less worthwhile. Ideally get a recording of the person’s face as well as their actions.

⭐️ Extra credit

Get a copy of Erika Hall’s Just Enough Research. It’s a practical guide that will help you understand what kind of research answers which kind of questions.

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