[Product Updates] So You Want to Get User Feedback?

Getting user feedback is such a vital part of a product’s success that we no longer question why we should do it, but rather when and how. There are a lot of different perspectives about at which point in your product cycle you should start gathering product feedback from users and how often. For example, at the Kstartup Fireside Chat from a few weeks ago, Lorenzo Calvani at Uber noticed that the Korean startups he talked to seemed to ask for feedback once a product or design is nearly finished, whereas companies in Europe or the U.S. tend to ask for feedback “as often as possible to users at a very early stage, so [they] know whether the product [they’re] building actually makes sense.” Then, there’s the discussion of when to go from closed to open beta, what are the best channels and tools for collecting feedback, etc. The bottom line is that user feedback is crucial for identifying needs and understanding what users truly value. At Buzzvil, we share product feedback on a regular basis within our team, and we’ve been receiving general comments from our Honeyscreen users through our social media channels, customer service emails, and Naver blog, but after our major app update for Android in June, we decided we needed details. We wanted to hear the in-depth experience and feedback of our core users. That’s why last month, our team hosted our very first FGI (Focus Group Interviews) for our Honeyscreen users.

Why Interviews?

Since our product launch last year, our team has already conducted feedback surveys, we’re interacting more with our users on social, and we have a great customer service team handling user inquires and issues as they come up. We were doing the right things, but we still felt like we didn’t really know our users. We didn’t have the right relationship we wanted with our users yet, and we wanted to find a way to genuinely listen to them. To do that, the best solution for us was to meet our users in person and have a real, face-to-face conversation. In a blog post by Garrett Moon, Founder of TodayMade, he quotes Steve Portigal from the book Interviewing Users:

“Interviews create connections between builders and the customers. It makes the problems tangible and human.”

This is exactly what we wanted – to see our users as real, unique individuals, and also to show our users that we, “the builders,” are also humans that they can build a relationship with. One of the benefits of our service being based in Korea and our team located in Seoul specifically is that we have a high concentration of users in a close geographical area, which made holding these user feedback interviews much easier and more practical, whereas replicating this experience in a country like the U.S. may be much more complicated. Also, it had been a couple of months since our app update in June, and we felt the timing was right to ask specific questions to our users about our product, features, and design, to get a better idea of what was working and what we could be doing better.

How We Did It

As mentioned in our earlier blog post, we titled our FGI sessions “Honeybees! We Hear Your Voice!” and promoted the event on our Honeyscreen app as well as our Facebook Page and Naver blog. On our event promo image, we advertised that light refreshments would be provided and each of the participants would be modestly compensated for their time. Based on the pool of users that applied, we looked for core users that have actively been using Honeyscreen for a long period of time. We also grouped participants together for which day to come in for the group interviews based on occupation: students; full-time working professionals; and freelancers and homemakers. In this way, we invited a total of just over 20 people over the span of three days to visit our Jamsil office in Seoul and share their product feedback with us.

What We Learned

We did our best to invite a sample of users that represented our actual user demographics in terms of gender, age, and occupation, and through these group interviews, we had the opportunity to hear the stories of people from a diverse range of perspectives and lifestyles. For example, the needs and preferences of our student users were quite different from those that have full-time jobs. Likewise, the user behaviors of stay-at-home moms were unique to that type of user, in contrast to the behaviors and interests of, say, Honeyscreen users in high school or 9-to-6 office jobs. We were lucky to meet a few users who have been using our product ever since our initial launch, and not only were we delighted and grateful that they’ve supported us all this time, it was a huge benefit for us to get their perspective on how our app has evolved over the years. Also, because we intentionally invited longtime users, they were able to provide real feedback about the different product features that have come and gone, the services they used most frequently, and the ones they wanted us to bring back.

What We Can Do Better Next Time

All in all, did these user FGI sessions provide any shocking revelations about our product? To be honest, not really. But by hearing the stories of our users firsthand, we had the chance to step into their shoes and get a peek into how our product integrates with their daily lives. Especially as Honeyscreen is a lock screen app, our product is the first screen that users see each time they interact with their smartphones, which can be over 100 times a day on average. Our Honeyscreen app is a highly visible product in our users’ day-to-day lives, so we want to do our absolute best to provide the best quality product, one that our Honeybees are proud to use and recommend to their family and friends. In retrospect, there is definitely room for improvement for our next user focus group interviews. We want to experiment with the format of these user feedback sessions and better understand what type of questions are best to prompt our users to share the most useful information with us. The guest post by Garrett Moon on Ash Maurya’s blog that I mentioned earlier shares some great insights about user interviews and practical tips that we can learn from. Honeyscreen users from outside of Seoul also gave us the feedback that they’d love to participate, so we may need to consider hosting sessions in other cities in Korea. We had one user come up all the way from Gwangju by train to participate for this round of feedback interviews, but we know not everyone can make a 3-hour trip to Seoul. Don’t worry, Honeybees, we hear you! What are some other ways that companies get user feedback? Tweet us at @Buzzvil or share with us in the comments below!

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