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Technology

Microsoft + UserTesting

Learn how Microsoft scales customer empathy to drive innovation and market leadership
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About Microsoft

Microsoft is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft's mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells software, hardware, and services. Microsoft employs more than 156,000 employees in more than 100 countries. Microsoft selected UserTesting as its preferred vendor for qualitative user experience insights worldwide.

Microsoft Achieved
5X
Faster decisions that impact speed of innovation
up
Reduced risk = more successful product launches
#1
Market leadership in multiple categories and regions

Challenge

When Satya Nadella joined Microsoft in the early 90s, its mission was to be the PC in every home and on every desk. Since becoming CEO, Nadella says the company’s mission has taken on a deeper meaning now, which is to empower every person to achieve more.

To accomplish that broader mission, he knew that Microsoft needed to better understand changing customer needs, invest in the right technology, and ultimately deliver products that consumers love.

But how do you keep a pulse on what customers really want, and build innovative products and brands that people really love, when your culture has historically been more engineering-focused than customer-focused?

Solution

Empathy is the answer.

It is the source of human insight, innovation, and meaningful change. “The more we can have empathy and invoke our ability to meet unarticulated or unmet needs, the more that will be the source of innovation,” Nadella said. 

In recent years, Microsoft has increasingly focused on transitioning from a "know it all" culture to a "learn it all" culture. "Having a learning culture is so important for companies that wish to keep reinventing themselves," Nadella said. "In order to learn well, companies should empower employees with the best tools to have pride in their craft. Unless that's done, it'll be hard to proceed with a business transformation journey."

Since 2014, Microsoft has partnered with UserTesting for remote qualitative research. UserTesting's insight platform and solutions have given researchers, designers, product managers, and marketers a unique ability to have deeper empathy for customers in all aspects of their interactions with Microsoft, from advertising to product usage. Today, the entire company has access to UserTesting to get better at connecting with customers and build winning products and services based on real human insights.

Results

Today, Microsoft's employees across every division are focusing more than ever on having empathy for, and learning from, their customers.

As Tracey Craft, Brand Content Studio Manager at Microsoft said, "In today's economy, if you're not learning from your customers, I assure you that you're not making the right decisions."

This broad focus on empathy is allowing Microsoft's brand marketers, for example, to fine-tune their messaging, which allows them to connect on an emotional level with their audience. Another example is how empathy allows Microsoft's developers to build greater confidence in their decisions throughout the product development cycle. 

"There's such value in learning directly from our customers," said Tom Lorusso, Xbox Principle User Research Manager, Microsoft. "Now, we can get feedback within a couple of hours and at scale. Our learnings continue to compound and we get smarter and smarter and smarter. The more we can talk with them, the more we can drive empathy into the product teams, and the better our customer experiences will be."

The results include faster decision making, reduced risk of product failures, and market leadership. All this has helped play a role in increasing the value of Microsoft exponentially over the past several years. 

"Our CEO, Satya Nadella, tells us often that the source of innovation comes from having a deep sense of empathy. And it's true, empathy makes us better innovators. Today, Microsoft is stronger than ever. UserTesting helps our entire company get feedback from our customers at every single point in the journey."

tomlorusso
Tom Lorusso Xbox Principal User Research Manager, Microsoft