The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 6 months ago

199. Get Human Insights Through User Testing w/ Janelle Estes


When it comes to customer data, context is king.  

And user testing has become increasingly important as a resource for fine-tuning the customer experience.  

It’s a marriage between UX and CX … and today’s guest brings nearly 20 years of experience as a CX leader, strategist, and practitioner who’s designed and conducted hundreds of studies. 

Hear my conversation with Janelle Estes, Chief Insights Officer at UserTesting and author of the book: User Tested: How The World’s Top Companies Use Human Insight to Create Great Experiences as we discuss: 

How UX and CX play together 

Why user testing is a unique solution to gaining human insights 

Why UX is finally gaining traction 

What types of user testing are effective 

How to get started collaborating around the customer journey 

More information about Janelle and today’s topics:

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts , and find more episodes on our blog.

The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. We've set it before here on the podcast. What's missing from so much of your customer data is context, and we'll say it again today and talk through a unique solution. Today's guest brings nearly twenty years of experience as a CX leader, strategist and practitioner who's designed and conducted hundreds of studies. She started her career as a CX researcher for forester. She spent six and a half years as a senior UX consultant for Nielsen Norman Group and for nearly eight years now she's been at user testing, where she currently serves as chief insights officer. She's also the author of a brand new, highly recommended book, user tested. How the world's top companies use human insight to create great experiences. JANELLEESTS, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thanks so much for having me, Ethan. I'm super excited to be here. Yeah, me too. I really enjoyed the read. We will be getting into the themes of the book, but it's I feel like probably those are relatively and separable from a lot of the work that you've been doing. So will guy. I'm really interrusted into getting into human insights, in particular the user testing process, because I think it is a unique solution that you all have taken on, and I'll even share some feedback from our team. We are a user tested customer, but we're going to start jannel where we always do, which is customer experience. When I say that, what does it mean to you? Yet? So customer experience is any you know, point in time that a customer has an interaction with a company or a business. So whether it is through the website, through a mobile APP, through in store in person experiences, it's really any time a customer touches your brand or company. I think the most important part of understanding the definition of customer experience, though, is that it is the customers perspective of the experience, not yours as a business. And so you know, a lot of times we talk about the importance of customer experience and oftentimes businesses will be looking at key interactions and many of those interactions are the ones that are important to the business from a revenue perspective or some other important metric to them. But the the key thing to keep in mind is that, yes, those are important to your customers too, likely, but the customer experience also includes all the other things that the customer might interact with or experience. And again it's what does it feel like? What is it like through your customers eyes and not your own one? Love it. Their reality is the reality. All we can do through our CX efforts is try to influence and improve it. I would see the exact same thing about branding. The customer defines the brand. All we can do through our branding efforts is attempt to influence. You know, what they would say about is when we're outside the room, do you feel like? You know, you've been in the space for a long time. Talk about this language customer experience. For those of us who haven't been this feels like, you know, relatively new. Language is kind of bubbled up over the past, you know, maybe three to five years or so. Like why do you think that is and or is this is just the rest of our the rest of us just catching up to the ongoing party. Yeah, it's always been an important part of how a customer perceives a company or, to your point, a brand. I think it certainly has gain traction in the last, you know, handful of years, and I think it has gain traction. This is my own theory, because companies have recognized that customers and consumers will choose who they do business with based on the experience that they provide. And there are has been studies that shown that people are actually willing to spend more for a better experience, which sounds, you know, kind of obvious dating it out loud, but when you actually get that validation and and understanding the impact of like, if our experience isn't as good as or better than our top competitors, then we're at risk. And so, you know, I think we've arrived at a place where businesses recognize that they're competing on the experience, especially if you get into a market place where you're all basically providing the same service or the same product, but the way that it's served up and how the experience is built is the key differentiator. I mean it's it's a no brainer. Right. When we're in a market place like that, the only option people have is to choose based on the experience. Love it.

I buy that story outright that UX in CX and experience design have always been there or have been around for a long time, but the market dynamics have just raised up the importance and value to such a degree that we have to talk about it now. It is the point of competition, whereas in the past, perhaps in the like, you know, when there was information asymmetry and all these other things that didn't have customers and as much controls there, and now we didn't have to talk about those things. And certainly for people who are trying to compete on price rather than experience, I don't know that that's going to play out well unless they are massively, massively scaled. All right. So, for I've already mentioned bomb im as a customer. We use user testing in a variety of different ways. One of the things that I think was cool, as I just talked with our creative director about this, she used user testing as she was testing out different photography styles, color palettes like what a people free associate with these things in the style Aile, so that we could make sure that we were representing ourselves among ideal customers and in industries and roles that we were interested in, like we wanted to be perceived well by them, in addition, obviously using it on the product teams. In your own words, who is user testing like? Who's your ideal customer and what problems are you solving for them? It's going to sound really broad, but our customer is really any company that has a customer and you know, if you think about our customer base in particular, it's, you know, across all segments, across all industries. You name a logo, it's probably one of our customers. I've, you know, been at user testing, as you mentioned, for close to eight years and now and every day, every week, every month, I'm blown away by the number of, you know, logos we bring on or even just the customers were currently working with, and so, you know, it really is for anybody who wants to understand how their customer is experiencing, their own experience. You know, I think we have all of this information at our fingertips in terms of, you know, what people are doing when they engage with us, behavioral analytics, Click Tracking, we're sending surveys all the time, we're perhaps even getting things like NPS scores. But really, and by the way, all of that is important. That you know, I would never say, Oh gosh, never you know, don't fund that data, just just use user testing or do human insight or just talk to people and you'll be good. That's not the truth. The true there's all that data is helpful, but what's missing is the perspective of what is it like to be my own customer? What does it like to see the world through their eyes? How do I really build empathy for who I'm creating experiences for? So I love your use case that your creative director is using, because it really does show the variety of use cases right. And so you know everything from and when you think of user testing, actually user testing the name of our company, but also user testing the practice, many people associate it with usability testing and usability testing as a side notion of you know, let me put a design or experience in front of someone and see if they can use it, see if they know what to Click, how to interact, you know, how to get their task done, that they're trying to accomplish, but the reality is you can get so much more feedback from that. So your creative director testing the different kind of mood boards, I would assume. Yeah, we even have customers that they are testing out ideas for different billboards that they might put on. You know, Gosh, I haven't been a San Francis going so long I can't remember that that road the one one. Is that right? I think so. Yeah, anyway, so we have customers that are testing billboards that they're thinking of launching before they actually pay bazillion dollars to put them up on a billboard. And so they'll have three or four different variations of it and they'll they'll actually use an image where they where they place the billboard on an actual billboard so it looks like a picture of a billboard and they get people to react to it. And so I could probably spend hours talking about all the different ways to use it, but really there are so many broad applications to this type of feedback. Yeah, go onely or deeper on human insights, this idea of what people are saying as they're interacting with something, because I get it, I buy it. I read the Book I love the book and we'll dive into that a little bit too. But just for someone who's listening right now, that's like okay, but you know we do customer interviews or you know we put up the three designs and we had customers or prospects vote on which one they liked better. You know, you see that on social all the time, like these non scientific survey some people are maybe doing them in a little bit more formal talk about what's actually going on here in the platform, organizing audiences, interacting with people as they're...

...experiencing the design, whether it's a because our product managers and product designers also use in the way you talked about. Will put wire frames in front of people and like Oh no, that screen should be in front of the other screen, or you know that things should be raised up above this other thing and that thing should be made smaller because people are missing it, or whatever the case may be. Just just talk about like what is actually happening in user testing and how that's different from some of the other things people might be doing to get customer feedback beyond like analytics and data. Sure, sure, yeah, so I know it's one of those things where you almost have to see it for it to click and then once you see it you can't un see it and you're like, oh my gosh, there's so many broad applications for this. So we work with AAA and we have been working with their design and UX team and they're very much focused on the digital experience of signing up for a AAA membership and they weren't super happy with the conversion rates they were seeing from the page where they showed people the three options. They weren't seeing the amount of traffic that they wanted to kind of click through that next page to continue the application or sign up process. And what was really interesting about that experience was that they were leading that with price. So you know, that was really what was in your face when you looked at the three different options on the page. There were many internal conversations around what could be done to improve conversion. I mean, I'm sure you could think of some ideas ethan like, I don't know, play around price a little bit, or maybe we redesign the page and we put price further down, or you know, there were just so many different ideas and it wasn't until they actually talked to customers. So they put the design in front of them and they had people shop for a AAA plan and what they learned was that people, when they're shopping for this type of offering, are actually not that price conscious. Instead, they're really concerned about, you know, can I trust the service? Are you reliable? Are you going to be there for me in a pinch, and how do I know that? And so once they learned that, they ended up making changes to that page. So they then, instead of leading with price, they led with the the key things that people were looking for, almost like the emotional drivers of how they make a decision. And the long introt of it is that they ended up putting an AB test out. So what Navy test is a great way to sort of test two different live variations of something, and the version that led with value and some of those key emotional drivers completely outperformed the price led one. and to me this is a perfect example of how, talking to people, understanding how they think and make decisions, watching them interact with something and comment on it, that data gives you the information that you need to tweak your design or tweak your experiences in ways that will truly perform. Otherwise you're really just, you know, throwing a dart at a dartboard and hoping you're going to hit the bulls eye at some point. I think there's something so powerful about connecting the people as human beings, understand how they think can make decisions, and then using that information and applying it to your experience. Really good example. I also love that a background theme there was that people are willing to pay more for the right experience, you mentioned earlier. If that like plays out here, but it's interesting. You mean you've done a I can't even measure how much more customer research than I have, but let me know if I'm thinking about this the right way. So this was an example. We're talking with customers, watching them and interacting with them as they're interacting with the offering. Informed how we should a be test. Likewise, though, we might take an AB test and we see the results. We have our own theory about why, but we might also then take something that we have data on and get the context and color around it. So this really could go in theory, I think both ways. Where we're get we're trying to take this huge thing and narrow it down by talking with humans and understanding how they think about it. And then, you know, putting something into play, or we could take things that were already observing in our data and then bring those two people to understand those better. Does it work in both directions? Yeah, totally you can. You can use it to inform what you AB test. Another example of this. It was a fast food retailer, not a QSR, and APP that they were developing and the design team had eight different variations of the login screen and before they put out the the two designs for a be testing, they wanted to make sure that out of the eight they were putting the the op to that we're going to perform the best, and... they were able to use user testing to sort of narrow that down. That's a little bit of a it's an interesting use case, let's put it that way, but but super valuable for them because you think about the potential loss of if you put the wrong two iterations out, you know you might get really underperforming metrics. That being said, yes, you can absolutely do it the other way around. So you know, looking at and seeing if you're running an a be test, or even if you're just looking at your conversions in general and you're noticing something, you don't like or something that's not performing the way you wish it would. That's an opportunity for you to send people through that funnel and understand why. Another example that was in our book trow price, similar to AAA, where they had a log it as sign in process for creating a new account. That design team was hyper focused on this first page of the application process and they made sure it was like, you know, just two or three form fields, because they're like, well, the more form fields that you add, the theory is the more chance you have for people to kind of drop out right. So let me just ask for the most critical information and kind of go from there. Well, when they launched the new design, they saw thirty seven percent of traffic dropping on that page. So the teams like, kind of similar to AA, hypothesizing, like Oh, do we remove another field? How do we simplify this even more? That was really the the idea of how they wanted to try to improve it. They ended up putting it in front of people and when you looked at the experience, like the continuation of the experience, not just that single page, they learned that people actually needed more information about the offering that they were applying for on that page and by learning that again, they were able to address it and they saw the you know, the the drop off rate wasn't so high after that. But it just, you know, an example of you know, you push a design out, you start to look at the performance of it and, yeah, sometimes that's a good prompt for doing user testing. Yeah, you mentioned the book, So let's go there. You Co authored user tested. Why did you write it and who should read it? Is it similar? I'm you know, this is remarkably similar to you know, who is user testing right just, you know, to just get it gone, for sure. Yeah, was the motivation. The motivation was and continues to be. I've been in this world for decades. I recognize that as somebody who is a UX researcher at heart, like as you mentioned in your Intro, of done thousands of studies, I also recognize that my work and how I frame it can be intimidating, maybe unapproachable, not under clearly, you know, or quickly understandable to sort of like the common person. It's funny, if you put me in our room with a group of UX people, you would recognize a different language that we speak. And so but however, I know how far the industry has come. I mean even just twenty years ago, when I was fresh out of college looking for a job, I couldn't find one, even though I had a degree in a UX related field. I couldn't find one because they didn't exist or they didn't exist like in the plethora of ways that they exist that it exists today. That all being said, the book was really written to build upon all of this work that's been done over the last, you know, handful of decades, but it's it's it was. It was written to be sort of an evolution of that work and a way to make what I believe to be one of the most important things that you can do to inform your customer experience. It was. It was written a way to make that more approachable to anyone who's building and experience or supporting a customer experience or, you know, marketing a brand and want feedback on it. So, you know, even though I have a UX background and I know this, this world inside it out, the book actually isn't written for people like me. You probably could learn something, you know, some tips here and there. If you walked away with two or three things interesting that you could apply to your practice or how you do research. That's a win. But I I really tried to create a book that was really for you know. It was a much more sort of written to more of a kind of common businessperson, if you will. Yeah, well done, by the way. I really enjoyed it. It walks you through the whole process. That obviously makes the arguments for human insights and puts them in the context of where it belongs in the conversation in general. Lots and lots of use cases, several stories. You already just shared one of them, and so I felt like it was highly approachable for someone who is not a deep UX researcher or even customer researcher,...

...and it was also very practical. You also mentioned building on the shoulders of giants or decades of research. Yeah, and you know. So you're drawing from, you know, backgrounds in cognitive science, human factors, ergonomics, human computer interaction. We've had some of those conversations here on the show. But I want to bring out another thing we talked about on the shows, the importance of shared belief right. That's what brings employees together, that's what brings customers to companies. That's what converts people from one way or two another. I think it's what it's part of this. Experiences are worth more than just, you know, the transactional value on the page. I think allowed of that is in shared belief and from the preface of the book you laid out a shared belief among people in a variety of those backgrounds and expertise, and it's this, and I'll quote it, things should be designed to suit humans instead of forcing humans to adapt to port design. I think. So that's what ties a lot of those disciplines together. But why is that even a thing? Like it seat, like I think the intuitive person that doesn't do this work, that isn't missed maybe developing products and services or doing any kind of design work, would sho of course it should be decide for humans. But, like, I find that to be a shared belief that underpins a lot of those disciplines. I'm sure it's something that's guided you through the years and so it's easy for you to express it in setting up the whole rest of the book. Talk about the importance of that statement. And where are we with designing to suit humans? Why is that a thing? Yeah, it's a great question, you know, I think, and especially as we moved moved into more digital experience is but even before then. The long and short of it is that the people that are building experiences, are building products generally are not their user, they're not their own customer and they often have way more technical expertise than the average consumer. And so you know, for example, engineers right that that that support a lot of the products that we build oftentimes have a much more technical sort of background and more expertise there. They often, and many companies don't get to interface with customers. There are companies that do do that well, but for the most part I'd say we're still could do a lot more there. And so you combine those two things and you end up with an output. That is how the mind of an engineer works in so many ways. Maybe that's blunt, but it that is. That is why the practice of human factors and user interface design and this notion of designing experiences for people and humans. That's a what that is why this whole field exists. And so, in terms of where we are, I think we've certainly made strides in progress. I'd like to see more. I think I would love to get to a place where, you know, oftentimes the role of making this happen is assigned to UX researchers or designers or people and customer experience, and I think, sure, it's great to have those roles and there should be more of them, but I would love to get to a place where this is just part of what people do as part of their jobs, versus saying, Oh, you know, will let the designer handle this part and we're going to focus on something else. So we're not there yet and think it'll be a while, hopefully in my lifetime, I don't know, but there's you know, it's this is this weird sort of dichotomy between the people that believe heavily in and follow this practice and then the people who are actually responsible for delivering the experience. There still a gap there that I'd love to see field. Yeah, it's interesting like that. Most of the use cases, I feel like that you went into detail on and these were like multipage layouts on or ended up laying out over multiple pages. Yes, you know the ways to approach these different problems and situations and they primarily felt a product into marketing and we've talked there a lot, but to your you know, to our earlier part of our conversation, I think it is much wider than that and Canon should inform a lot more business decisions. I do feel like there's a lot of momentum there. I am I am hopeful, like you are, and I'm thinking about services like Gong and chorus that kind of capture human voice and are doing I don't know the products well enough to know what they're doing, but I think they both say that they're using ai to do different things with the stuff. And so I think this and you use the term literal voice of the customer at least a few times in the book, and I just like heartwarming to music. What are people actually saying about their experiences? But I I also think we're...

...walking out of a cultural period informed by the industrial revolution that has a very, very strong bias toward what is very specifically quantifiable and measurable, easy to tally up, with, a bias toward efficiency. But I feel like we're kind of walking out of that in this plays in a little bit too, I feel like, because some of this at some level, I think the qualitative stuff, I think customer conversations, I think literal voice of customer happening in real time starts to feel unscalable to people and therefore inefficient and yeah, and therefore suggests a blindness to the effectiveness. Do you see an effectiveness efficiency dynamic around some some of this? I can totally relate to an empathize with that, because I've certainly heard that feedback many times before. I'd actually love to call it back to this notion of a shared belief and what what we were just chatting about, and I think that actually applies a lot to this work. If you think about what you get after you talk to somebody, talk to a customer, watch them use your product or experience, you get a video clip with audio and you can see the screen of what they're looking at and they're talking about their experience and you can see what's happening. And so imagine if you were to take, through technology, the best of the best of what you've collected on a regular basis and start to broadcast that through an organization to Lyne people up around the story of what customers are actually experiencing. And I think that that's where things get really interesting. In terms of scale, I think traditionally we think of doing this work. And in order to do it, you have to be the one doing it. You have to be the one on the call with the customer, you have to be the one, you know, analyzing all the data. The reality is that not. We're not going to turn everybody into researchers, like we all have our day jobs and other things that we are responsible for. And so how do we get to a place where you can start to permeate these learnings on I'm in a more scalable way? Another example I'll give you is we were, gosh, it was like five is years ago. I was visiting a customer and it was a fast food chain and I was in their headquarters and we're walking through and this was like the beginning of social like not the beginning, but like this was when companies, and I think they still do, but at least at the time, it was like the thing to like be monitoring all your social networks, media feeds, and like what people are saying and put laying the sentiment on top of it and like seeing all the trends and and so I remember walking by this room and there are a bunch of bean bags on the floor and there a bunch of monitors hanging up with like the twitter feed and the facebook whatever was happening, and instagram. I don't think instagram existed then, but you get what I mean. It was like we're they're all dialed into like these dashboards and I remember thinking, imagine if they just had like one more screen. Would like faces of customers or, you know, videos of people using their APP because they had just launched a border online pick up curbside offering. Imagine if you could just also have that level of exposure to your customers the same way you're seeing all this data and the sentiment on top of it, and again, I think that's where things get really interesting. I would love to see that become the best practice for this type of work. I love it a cup. Three different directions I want to go, so I'll pick one. You're talking a bit about what you the language you use, for it is human signals, not just what people are saying or what they're doing, but how they're saying it and how they're doing it. And to quote you, to you a list includes tone of voice, body language, facial expressions and anything else you can observe outside what users are saying. Allowed or doing. Talk about the importance of that and perhaps even from a training perspective. I mean, the one thing I'll add and then give it to you is that, of course, human facial expression of emotion is universal. In a nate, we all read and write emotions to and from our face and other people's faces, innately from birth and universally across societies and cultures, and so that's happening. But I would imagine, especially, you know, for for the purpose of research and for making meaning, that there's also maybe another layer to it in terms of observation and perhaps even documentation. Just talk about human signals, the importance of it and maybe a tip for people who do have access to, whether user testing customers or not, access to to video or even live observation of people using their product or service. Yep, you, yeah, so body language is interesting.

When I first joined user testing almost eight years ago, we actually did not capture of facial recordings and so the only thing that you would get is the video screen as well at and used to get see what people are doing and you could hear what they were saying, but you couldn't see them, and that was different for me coming from a place where I was in person with people, when I was watching them interact with an experience, and so it was a big piece in the early days that I believe was missing, and since then we've introduced it to our product and it's an option that you can, you know, select as your setting up and launching your test. But the reality is like there's something about seeing another person. So it goes. The power comes in a couple different ways. The first is you're able to see the person who's talking and there's something about seeing a person, another face that helps you, you know, build a little bit of a narrative around who you're hearing from, who this person is, where are they sitting? You know what's in their background, what's the background noise is like it just it. It humanizes them. Maybe that's not the right word, but you get a story from just seeing somebody. The other part of it, of course, is how they engage with, in react to an experience. So you know, somebody leaning into a screen and squinting, or somebody kind of leaning back and kind of like looking and at something and maybe like like they're really kind of trying to comprehend something. There's lots of things that people do this expression of being bored, you know, and of course there's some of this that you have to it's a subjective way, right. There are common there's a common language in terms of facial expressions, but there's also very subjective behavior that back to this idea of a shared creating a shared belief. That's where things can get really interesting with your teams as well, like if you watch the same video of a person using the experience or commenting on something and you're not only all seeing the same thing, but you're also all then kind of talking about it and trying to figure out what does this mean and what do we do with this information that sticks with you so much more than, you know, any other data, I would argue. Does I think that answered your question? I might have veered off a little bit. No, if that's fine, I fear off when I'm asking the question. So that's cool. It's it is really interesting. It's funny. I mean, you know, we can, people listening can hear the difference between Oh Great and oh great. You know, but but you but even in an Oh great, there's you know, that could be a really good thing or a bad thing, depending on you know, where they are what they're doing that context. In a lot of that is in what. We're just very expressive creatures, and I think it's in no one medium alone. Again, like seeing them off or or missing them because they're off screen, you're missing some aspect of what they're trying to communicate. Sure, consciously or subconsciously. I'm going to quote you again. User testing, especially the process of extracting meaning from these valuable customer perspectives, is an art, not a science. Talk about that art science. Divide any pushback you've had on it. I also find this to be very hopeful in terms of moving business culture toward respecting the art of things in addition to the science. Yeah, this is if I spend my two am, you know, wake up sessions when I can't get back to sleep, thinking about one thing, usually it's this. I think that there's really interesting things that you can glean from this type of work, right so, and things you can measure. Right. So, there's you know, how long does it take somebody to register or check out? How many times did they veer off the path that you wanted them to go down? You know, how many errors did they make? Did they actually end up accomplishing what you ask them to do overall, like those are all things that are like very you can measure these things. It's a yes or no right, or it's a number of seconds or a number of errors or whatever it might be, but it's that subjective nature of the feedback that starts to get harder to like quantify in a very sort of concrete way, and this is where I imagine there are a lot of teams right now exploring how to automate that. How do you automate the insight? How do you take what someone like myself or other folks who have research backgrounds? How do you how do you scale that sort of you know, you view something and you are noticing certain things and then you're able to take action based on that. It's...

...just something that I don't ever think we'll get to a place of automation around it. I think when you do have these experiences where you're with your team and you're talking to a customer or viewing their feedback or watching them interact with something, it's all of your lived and shared experiences in which you're viewing this through, and so it's perhaps not the most important part is to get to a black and white, this is what the customer did and why. It's about rallying your team around the customer, trying to build this shared understanding of like, Oh wow, they were really confused about this and you know they did this and I wonder if it's because of this reason. And it really just helps build more of that to your earlier point, like bringing people around the shared idea or common idea. And ideally, at the end of an experience like that, where you're looking at this data together, you're able to say, okay, like these are the top three things that we need to go address and here's how we're going to go do it. and to me that's really what you're trying to get at. I mean, I don't think we're ever going to get to a place where I watch a video of a c of somebody using something and ten other people do and we all come back with the same exact perceptions. Like we will never get to that place, and so when I think about the real value of this work, it's not necessarily about having one single perception and a black and white, you know, approach to how to process this information. It is really about that collaboration around the customer understanding what happens building that shared experience and understanding and then moving forward to make the experience better. That's really the point of all of this work, is to create a better experience for your own customers. Love it. You just walk me right into one of the three things I wanted to to ask about a few minutes ago, or or even I guess it's mentioned and then it maybe have you tell the story, one of my favorite stories in one of my favorite ways to bring this stuff to life and bring it into the organization get more, I hate to use the word, but get more scale out of the commitment to do this work. You already kind of mentioned taking it into the organization and sharing it with more people. When my favorite stories about that in the book was, I think his name was James Valachi at hello fresh in the insights show, which started is this kind of like it started small in the organization, but my impression was that it became this like Muscy TV experience on Friday afternoons and it became this interactive kind of cult following. Tell me a little tell listeners a little bit about that. Sure, yeah, James, that's a great story. He was the first, I believe, one of the first, if not the first, UX researcher at hello fresh and you know, as things go with UX, oftentimes you don't, you know, get a humongoust team to help you with the the crazy workload. Like I've never met a UX team that has is looking for things to do, let's put it that way. And so James had this really interesting idea that instead of saying hey, you know what, so let me back up and say oftentimes when we're trying to reproach something like skill, we say, you know what, we're going to help everyone in the organization be able to talk to customers whenever they want and about whatever they want. Like that's truly been some goals of companies we've worked with and you can get there. It's just the path there is a lot there's a lot more friction, if you will, like it's hard to bring everybody along and and make it worthwhile and show them the value and it's it's constant kind of support, if you will, and evangelizing. What James ended up doing was actually taking the different approach and focusing more on what the output is of all of that work and then making it consumable. So He, you know, him and his tea and his team. They spend time with all different parts of the organization. They're learning tons of things across the series of, you know, four weeks or a month, and then what he does is he creates this curated video of all the interesting learnings that the team has collected over the past month and he streams it. And this was before Covid so in the office I think he had, you know, like a handful of people join in. Over time the insight show has built traction and now he's got, I think, hundreds of people that join on a regular basis. And what's Nice is that, one it helps them build that shared understanding of customers, right, but also keeps people super curious. So he's got a whole process as well of like, you know, people saying now, Hey, do you think we can explore the explore this and the next insight show or hey, you know, we looked at sort of the ordering flow that live this last show. We made a few tweaks to it over the last couple months. We should test it again. You know, things like that that keep people...

...hungry for that type of information. Yeah, it was really fun. I'd met it. That was the one that got me think like, okay, what are we doing? Well, what are we doing? poorlying can we do something like that? And just right now it's just a lot of work, like to create some video of something that is compelling and Holds People's attention and captures the needs of the business as well as the customer. You know, James himself will say it's a lot of work, but you know, the value you is certainly there. Yeah, absolutely so. You referenced many times throughout the book what I would regard as something canonical to a conversation like this, and do a variety of others, which is pine and Gilmore's the experience economy, which is now, I believe, over twenty years old or approaching. And so I'd love for you to share, you know, what has that book meant to you and if you were going to throw, you know, one or two more books into the cannon, you know, on these themes, what are they? Yeah, good question. By the way, I have to tell you that we tweeted user testing, tweeted the launch of the book and there was a reference in some way, shape or form to Joe Pines theory and he actually responded back and said this looks really interesting and I was like this is this is my career high. No, just but it was just so humbling, right, to just know that you know, the person's whose work I've looked at for decades, as you know, acknowledging, you know, back to my original point of it building upon decades of work. Right, it feels. It's very humbling and very, very rewarding. I mean, yes, that that book is fantastic in the sense that it helps you understand how we arrived at this place. I think, you know, it's easy to assume this is the way things have always been, but the reality is it hasn't. So that book is certainly an amazing book that I'd recommend to readers. There's also more kind of fundamental books so that that are interesting to me, that help actually make this topic again, a little bit more approachable and accessible. So don't make me think by Steve Krug is one of like the original books written about this practice of, you know, creating experiences that are optimized for humans and the people who they're they're they're kind of geared towards. And I'd also say, you know, there's been a lot of work that's been done by forester research and a couple of analysts that I used to work with their carry boating and Harley Manning. They published a book called outside in, and what I love about this book is that it's super practical in terms of how do you do this within an organization. I think what I've found in my career is that nobody's arguing about the importance of customer experience. What they're struggling with is how to actually embrace it and operationalize it and make it part of what their company does every day. And so that book is amazing. I think it's like ten years old now, but all of the principles still hold true. So good. I will for you, the listener who is really excited about user tested, don't make me think, and outsiding. I will link those up. We write all these episodes up at bombombcom slash podcast and we include video clips, we include links to the things that we talked about and we also cross linked to other episodes with either similar guests are on similar themes. I've actually got two pairs that I'm going to recommend here in two different camps for two types of people who love this conversation as much as I did, Janel. The first one is episode one hundred and Thirty Eight with on in Tower Nathan, who's the chief product officer at met Cx, but he also led research at facebook and and GIE's list, and we called that one human factors and design thinking. We dived really specifically into human factors and design thinking as disciplines and even got a little bit historical with it. Sets one hundred and thirty eight with on and and then episode ninety seven with Bob Barry, who is the principle UX researcher at answer lab and the founder of the Human Computer Mastermind Academy. When we called that you'll love this one. You know how UX drive CX and the entire world economy, and he actually made a logical argument that that that walked us out there. So that's episode ninety seven with Bob Barry. So so the two kind of design conversations, but really on this human to human peace and the you know, as you were talking about human signals, that reminded me of a couple of other conversations. Episode one hundred and fifty with Dr Nick Morgan. We called that one why your virtual relationships to great over time, and it's about this importance of nonverbal communication and how that enriches things and why we need do in fuse, and that's why I love that you all added video and made that a really nice value add to the platform,...

...because we talked about that. That across our digital communication. And then episode one hundred and eighty four with Tanya Beerstrom. We call that holding curious conversations to hear the voice of the customer, and that was when I was thinking of in the lead up to this, because the you're the frequent use of the term literal voice of the customer. Like we need to commit to hearing this. However you choose is she chooses to do it by facilitating conversations based on key desired insights for her client. Companies. Use Your testing allows people to do it in a variety of different ways, and so so that was one. Was One hundred and eighty four with tiny of Beerstrom. Before I let you go, Janelle, couple opportunities for you. I would love for you to think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life or your career and then give a not or a shout out to a company or brand that you personally appreciate. For the experience that they deliver for you as a customer. Yeah, thank you, Ethan. You know, it's hard for me to pick one person to thank, but I would have to just say my family and sort of family support system. So, you know, being somebody who's a mom and a wife and career driven, it's really hard to keep everything, all the balls spinning right and so, you know, I wouldn't have been able to write the book, to even have the role that I have today, without the support from my husband, my parents, you know it, and my girls. I have two daughters, and so they're relentlessly supportive of me. So you and I feel like that's such a critical part to to being successful, and I say this not just as a woman. I think even men with with surgeon careers still have to have that level of support and have that that system as well. So I would, yeah, love to think my family, especially this past summer when I was locked in my office going line by line through my manuscript while they were having fun at the beach. So there's that. And then, in terms of the great experience that I had in the company I'd like to thank it's interesting. I don't know if I know the name of the actual company, but can I just maybe share the experience I had LEA's. So last week my youngest daughter was complaining that she thought she had an ear infection, her ear hurt. This was that seven PM at night. All the walk in clinics were closed around where we live and I wasn't going to take her to the ear for an ear infection, but I thought, oh great, now I have to wait till nine am tomorrow until her pediatrician's office opens, and I got a call and try to get her in. Hopefully I get her in at some point. Can't center to school. All of those kind of thoughts of like, okay, so how am I going to juggle this? And we do have a walk in clinic. End Up go into their website and I could, through the actual website, go in, book an appointment for thirty am, which is right when they opened, fill out all my paperwork and terms of you know why she was being seen, what my insurance information was, all of that good stuff. It basically expedited the entire check in process and I think, to be fair, there's been so many advancements in health and medical and particular over the past couple of years to minimize this exposure with each other or in person or in facetime. But it was like the next morning we woke up, we went, we went and she did not have an ear infection. She was basically just trying to get out of school and we ended up dropping her off on time. So without that advancement, and I do not believe it would have been there, without, you know, the last couple of years of acceleration there, you know, would have been a heck of a day. So that was, you know, maybe can put it in your show notes. Awesome. Yeah, this idea that we the some of these things had to happen synchronously was just ludicrous. Right right, billing out the paperwork, you know, show it right thighteen minutes early, like well, okay, I guess it's kind of blacked out of my calendar in that way, but gosh, it's sure would be nice if I could just do it right now, and or not at not really ever have to do it more than once, and good call on how much it has accelerated. This has been a pleasure, Janelle. It's been so fun to follow this journey with you. Congratulations again on getting the book into readers hands, including my own. For folks who've enjoyed this, where can they get the book? Where can they learn more about user testing? Where might they connect with you? Yeah, good question. So you can get it Amazon, target, Barnes and noble, really any book retailer, Porch light as well, and if you want to learn more about the book, we do have information on the user testing website. I also have my own website where you can learn more about the book and I also host a podcast and it's just my name, Janelle sdscom, and feel free to connect with me on Linkedin as well. It's another way to sort of get in touch and follow along. Thanks for having me, Ethan. This is awesome, Aweso.

I really enjoyed it. To continued success, as Janelle was kind enough to mention. I will link all that stuff up and I've enjoyed it. I appreciate it and I hope that your vision comes fulfilled within our your career in mind. Me Too. One of the most impactful things you can do to improve customer experience and employee experience is to include some video messages in your daily digital communication. Explain things more clearly, convey the writing, emotion and tone safe time by talking instead of typing. Prevent those unnecessary meetings. There are so many benefits to using simple videos and screen recordings, and bom bomb makes it easy. In email, Linkedin or slack messages from Gmail, outlook, sales force outreach or Zen desk, learn how Bombom can help you and your team with clear communication, human connection and higher conversion. Visit Bombombcom today. Thank thanks for listening to the customer experience podcast. Remember, the single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Continue Learning the latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favorite podcast player or visit bombombcom slash podcasts.

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