Imagine if your product doesn't meet your target user, it will make your team lose right? So here user research plays an essential part in product management. It helps product managers make the right decisions about their products and ensure that the result is as close to what their users need as possible.
You can simply gather user feedback whether through interviews, surveys, or analytics with user research. This data can be used to test prototypes, develop new products, and analyse the latest solutions.
If you are one of the product managers who want to know more about the importance of user research, this article may suit your expertise. To help you start with the importance of user research in product management, we’ve gathered the definition of user research, the reasons why it is important, and how to conduct user research below.
What is User Research?
User research is the method of how users behave and think to better understand their needs and thought processes, one article from Product Plan explained. It can be performed by watching users interact with products or by using other data-driven strategies.
The term user research is frequently mistaken for “usability testing”, although it actually refers to a wider range of methods, some of which are quantitative (such as surveys or multivariate testing) and others qualitative (in-depth interviews).
Why is User Research important in Product Management?
User research is essential in product management because it provides insights into the needs and behaviours of users. Your team can use it to inform product design, development, and marketing strategies.
1. Understanding user needs
User research helps product managers understand their users' needs and pain points. By gathering data from users, product managers can gain insights into what their target audience wants and needs, allowing product teams to create products that meet these needs.
The survey from User Interviews revealed that on a scale of 6.1 out of 7 understanding the customer need is the most important thing when performing user research. This is along with 43% of respondents agreeing that user research helps them make decisions with better evidence.
2. Reducing development costs
Do you agree that we need to reduce the cost instead of reducing the quality?
User research can help you identify potential issues early in development. This allows product teams to make changes before they have invested too much time in development. This can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
By understanding user behaviour and preferences, companies can develop more targeted and effective marketing campaigns.
Companies can cut product development timelines by 33 to 50% when they invest in UX during the concept stage of project management. This is important since a one-fourth delay in a product's time to market leads to a 50% loss of that product's profit.
3. Improving product adoption rates
User research can also help you understand what motivates your users to adopt a new product. This information can help you create a more appealing product for your target audience, increasing adoption.
For example, one of the most critical indicators for all SaaS companies is the product adoption rate. It needs to be more frequently noticed and mistaken for customer acquisition.
A user chooses to use your product for the first time during customer acquisition. However, they won't choose to invest in it and then implement it until after they have experienced consumer success with your product.
4. Increasing customer satisfaction
When you develop a product that meets your users' needs, they are more likely to be satisfied with the product. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal and recommend your product to others.
Salesforce surveyed more than 6,000 consumers, and the results showed that 66% of them thought businesses should be aware of their wants and expectations. Also, 82% of respondents expect businesses can meet their expectations and accommodate what they need.
For example, when Zoom was experiencing rapid growth during the pandemic, they conducted user research to understand how users were using the platform and identify areas for improvement.
Based on this feedback, they made several improvements, including adding virtual backgrounds and improving audio quality, which resulted in higher customer satisfaction ratings.
One survey by G2 showed that 89% of users rated Zoom as excellent or very good, making it the highest-rated video conferencing software in 2022.
5. Minimising the chance of innovation failure
When you know the insights and feedback from target users, you have a better understanding of user needs and preferences. It leads to the development of products that minimise the chance of product and innovation failure.
One report from Forrester showed businesses that invest in user experience reduced customer acquisition costs, lower support expenses, higher customer retention rates, and larger market shares.
Investing in user experience through user research can have a significant impact on various aspects of a business, as demonstrated by a study performed by Forrester. This can lead to higher customer satisfaction which can help minimise the chance of product and innovation failure.
How to conduct User Research
Conducting user research is easier than you might think. Some popular methods include:
- Surveys: Surveys are a great way to quickly gather large amounts of data. You can use surveys to gather information about user demographics, behaviour patterns, and opinions.
- Interviews: It allows you to dive deeper into user needs. You can use interviews to gather detailed information about user behaviour and attitudes.
- Usability Testing: It involves observing customers use your product. It can help you identify areas of your development that are confusing or frustrating to users.
- Analytics: Analytics can provide you with valuable information about user behaviour patterns. You can use analytics to identify where users are dropping off in the user journey, what features they're using the most, and more.
To Sum Up
User research helps you understand your users' needs, reduce development costs, improve product adoption rates, and increase customer satisfaction.
When user research performs correctly, it can help your product teams understand your customers’ needs, reducing development costs, improving product adoption rate, increasing customer satisfaction, and minimising the chance of product failure.
Doing so allows you to make data-driven decisions that ensure your products are successful in the market. Product teams should also use user research to track how your products are performing over time, which helps them adjust as needed.