How User Research Helped One Business Double Sales

by Hans Lambert Pederson| Knowledge

How user research can help your startup rocket get off the ground

Addressing what you think your users want is completely different from what they actually need. Here’s a casing example of why user research is important to maximise the success of your digital product

At Stoked, a lot of our clients come to us with a desire to develop an app or website that will enhance the user experience (UX). Generally, they already have a list of features that they want to include in their solution. Having a nice design is also often a high priority.

However, in a lot of cases, we discovered that the problems they’re trying to solve lies in a completely different place.

Good UX design involves creating a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate user interface. Good UX design also addresses real-world issues – although this is often overlooked. These are the things that you don't necessarily uncover by simply analysing user behaviour within the system.

It's important to stop and investigate whether your digital solution meets your users' real needs. Time after time, the solution many businesses come up with only meets the needs that they think their users have. Or even worse, they wish they had.

Let’s explore this idea in more detail.

Why user research is important in UX design

The company that thought they knew what they wanted

Before the big fin-tech boom finally started, we had a client in this industry who had a problem. Let’s call him Joe.

His business involved issuing credit cards for smaller banks and financial companies. He came to us because he wasn't happy with the existing ordering system he had in place. Sales were low and it didn't meet the figures he’d previously forecasted for the quarter.

In addition, the bank advisers, the people who were selling the credit cards, complained that the ordering system was too complicated.

Joe thought that if he made it easier for the bank advisers to order credit cards, then sales would go up. So, he asked us to develop an app with a modern design that worked on iPads. The idea was that the bank advisor could fill out the customer's information and send an order as they sat with them.

User research can be worth its weight in gold

There really was nothing wrong with Joe's idea. In fact, it was a good one. However, when the Stoked team went out and talked to the bank advisers, we learned that the problem wasn’t what Joe thought it was. It was only when we got in-depth feedback from the real users of the app, the bank advisers, that we discovered the real story.

It turns out that when the bank advisor tried to order a credit card, the system automatically determined the credit limit on the customer's card. This was calculated in relation to the customer's credit rating. Since many of the banks’ customers were financially stable, their limit was set at their maximum amount. This setting or function was created with the needs of both the banks and Joe in mind. The more credit the customer uses, the more money Joe and the bank will earn.

However, it turned out that many customers didn't like having a high credit limit on their card. So, they asked the bank advisers to lower them. But the process to do this was bureaucratic and time-consuming. In other words, the system dictated what the bank advisers could do, not the other way around. As a result, the bank advisers avoided talking about credit cards with their clients.

Joe didn't need a smart app with a great UX design. The bank advisers already had that with the current system. The problem was that the solution did not meet their needs at all, just the needs of Joe and the bank. The limitations of the solution reduced the bank advisers' motivation to sell the cards to customers.

Double sales by focusing on the needs of real users

Based on our findings, our team designed a solution with greater flexibility, which included allowing the bank advisers to adjust the client's credit limit to their preferred amount.

By giving the bank advisers more freedom to service their customers, Joe was able to double his credit card sales within a few months. This benefited everyone involved – the bank advisers, the customers, the bank and Joe. Even if the credit limits were now lower per customer, more customers signed up to have credit cards which meant that they'll still be using more credit.

The bottom line

As humans, we tend to be very self-centred when we develop solutions – only addressing our own needs. If you want your company to become more successful in the digital space, you must prioritise the needs of our users first.

That’s why our team at Stoked will always encourage you to question your own logic and intuition. Don't think of developing an app or digital solution right away. Instead, take the time to learn all you can about the current circumstances – starting with user research. Who knows, you may find that you’ve completely overlooked an integral user need, just like Joe.

If you need help conducting user research or developing an effective digital product, get in touch with our team today.

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