Creating Customer Personae

with Julie Hamwood

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How to look at your data

Julie Hamwood

Strategist, Project Manager, User Experience Expert

Lessons Learned

Cultivate a truly open mindset during the customer interview phase.

Analyze your customer feedback; what was opinion, what was fact, and what was experience?

If you get a strong signal from your interviews, first you need to test it in the real world.


Lesson: Creating Customer Personas with Julie Hamwood

Step #8 Analysis: How to look at your data

So you've gone and done all of your customer interviews and you've listened really openly and recorded accurately what people shared with you. So the first thing I really want to say is congratulations, because that is actually a really material and important and not straightforward piece of work to actually listen openly and record that. So you've had this open listening mindset. And you've probably heard things that were very difficult to hear actually and things that seem to you to be off topic. Put that mindset to one side and now bring in the sort of analytical approach. And this is where you've actually got a lot of data and it's going to take a little bit of time to process this.

Processing the data, the types of things you're going to want to look for, what do people say or demonstrate through their actions or anything that they showed you, any screenshots of how they solve their problems. You want to look at, what did they say that were opinions? What did they say that were facts? What did they say that where they talked about what they actually experienced? You start to draw those out and again, put them on post-it notes, you'll put them into a spreadsheet where you're actually listening out for each person.

You're basically going to record what each person said because you want to really make sure that you keep your relationship between the information that you got from that person, because for each person you need to record all the information that you got, make sure it always stays tied to that person so that when you've got any questions about it you can come back and get the right context for it. You're going to be synthesizing across these people and looking again for all the patents that we talked about before.

So where did I have similar needs? Where did I have different needs but have uses for the same product to meet different needs? Where do they have different ways that they like to learn about how to meet their needs? It's the same questions that we talked about earlier with the profile, but this time we're looking at what do the people themselves say. Your very top question's going to be, "Was my falsifiable hypothesis supported or not?" A subset of the data that you collect will tell you that.

Then we start to look for the patents across the people that we have and then we bring it back into the profile and we basically are going to iterate the profile. The profile came from the team who, unless they're actually paying customers of the product and not the main voice that we listen to. So we're going to our customers, the people who actually do want to pay for and look at, what are their needs, how do they have similarities and differences in their needs? How do they use this product to meet different needs and how do they hear about and learn about the different products? How do they hear about and learn about in different ways, about the product.

Then we basically really want to update this profile. So every single thing that we covered before, we are now going to have richer information around all the different aspects, the demographic aspects, the contextual aspects, the triggers, the functional experiences, the concerns and what they're hoping to achieve by having their needs satisfied.

I think when it comes to getting to know our customers, interviews are really valuable but they have their limitations, so every single time we get strong signals we really want to test it using indirect methods where potential customers are invited to take actions that they're only going to take if they really want to do it. They're not going to take those actions because they want to look good in front of somebody else or they want to please an interview or any of those sort of social behaviors that we each have.

So that might be where you can create a landing page and run an AdWords campaign, and drive traffic or put something out on social media and basically drive some traffic and ask people to make a call to action, some sort of opt-in to giving their email address or something that really signifies that they really care about this problem.

There are a lot of different techniques there and going through those techniques isn't what we're covering in this section. The reason why I'm raising it is because when we get these indications of direction and strength of feeling from our customer interviews, we really want to validate those using different methods. We basically, we're wanting to get to know our customer using different lenses to make sure that we're really honing in on what they're really actually wanting to do.

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