Userfy’s journey so far – Notes from the Google Campus Event, London

The ‘Start-up to Scale-up’ event was a great opportunity to reflect on Userfy’s progress so far…

There was a lot of interest and some great messages of support prior to my talk at the ‘Start-up to Scale-up’ event at the Google Campus in London last week. It was a great presentation to give as it allowed me to reflect on a bigger picture than usual – giving me time to consider the progress Userfy has made since we launched in April 2017, as well as the next big steps and challenges that lie ahead.

Given the interest and due to some specific requests, I have decided to share some of my notes that I used for giving the talk, so that those who were not able to attend the event in person can still get a sense for Userfy’s story so far…

Userfy is the result of a unique partnership between myself and my co-founder Phil Randall. Together, we’ve combined my expert knowledge for conducting expert user research, with Phil’s track record for developing and scaling businesses.

Over the past year and a half we’ve developed a robust, scalable method for conducting high quality research at a speed which meets the demands of todays fast-paced tech industry.

We’re using our method to repeatedly and consistently show our clients how conducting research in this manner has no cost. Instead, it’s an investment, and it repeatedly saves them time, money and resources by making sure their strategy, their marketing, their development, and their design efforts are all in line with the needs and expectations of their target customers.

To give a recent example, just last month we were commissioned to conduct some research for a very reputable travel company who were looking to redesign their website. They’d created a new prototype based on what they all thought their customers would need. We ran some in-depth research sessions with some target users where we not only tested this prototype, but compared it against the experience of their competitors websites as well.

We uncovered some critical gaps in their current approach, and also highlighted some key ways that competitors were delivering a superior experience by providing really important information for the customer as soon as they visited the website. In reality, this could be impacting this company’s sales, as customers may be more drawn to competitor websites where they feel more able to get the important information they need to see upfront, before even contemplating whether to proceed with booking a trip or not.

This piece of research was revolutionary for this business. It completely changed their approach, and made them feel far more confident and much more certain about how to give their target customers what they want, rather than what internal voices within the company think customers want.

Off the back of that research, we’ve now been commissioned to conduct similar research sessions with each key segment of their key customer demographics.

And thats really what our mission is…. User Research isn’t a luxury, a nice add-on, or a checkbox. For a company to be successful and to excel in 2018, User Research needs to be the foundation that you build everything else on top of. 

So Userfy as a company is very much in the middle of its start-up to scale-up journey. We started in April 2017, and started by really refining and developing our proposition.

Now, with help from Accelerate Places and Blenheim Chalcot we have expanded our presence into London, as well as Nottingham, to better service our growing list of clients, as many of them are London based.

We’re now currently in that delicate phase for any business, of expanding our team whilst still ensuring we maintain the same high-standard and same expert-level quality of research. This is something we have planned ahead for though, and we’ve ensured our very systematic approach to research is something we can train new researchers to do, helping us to always maintain the same standard and quality, even at scale.

To aid our scale-up journey, we have also been having conversations with potential investors and strategic partners, and we’re considering the options in front of us for how we take Userfy to the next level – whether that be through expanding our current approach, or though becoming more formally partnered with a larger company or agency and becoming more of a centralised innovation and insights hub.

For the future, as well as our research method, the past year has also been an opportunity to consider ideas for products to enhance and complement our existing service. We see massive potential for a research tool to complement what we already do, and and to increase our access to customer insights even further, so we’ll be developing this alongside our service over the next year.

 

Dr Sam Howard
Meet the author:
Co-Founder and Director of Research at Userfy
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