Human Insight Podcast

Hear from top experts in the fields of conversion optimization, UX research, design, product, and more.

Delivering value to both your customers and your business

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One of the rules of product research is “insights are best shared,” says C. Todd Lombardo.

The subtext is never write a report that no one is going to read. 

C. Todd is the vice president of product and design at Openly, an insurance-tech company empowering agents to deliver a higher standard of service through cutting-edge technology and comprehensive options.

He joined UserTesting’s CEO Andy MacMillan and Chief Insights Officer Janelle Estes on the Human Insight Podcast to talk about all things product management, such as how he shares insights and aligns the company with what customers want. 

Instead of writing reports, C. Todd said, product leaders should ask themselves how do you bring people along for the ride? How can you share the insights you’re getting from your customers? Can you involve others in your organization before the insights are even generated? 

For example, he is often asked how he involves an executive in a design sprint. 

His strategy, he said, is to apply a multitouch-inclusion strategy. Include them the first half hour of the first day when you are doing your assumption storming and trying to understand the problem you are solving so that they have the opportunity to co-create with you and shape the problem you’re trying to solve. Bring them in again at the end of the third day when you’ve gotten your sketches ready and your starting prototyping. “These are the solutions we think we’re going to to try and build, prototype and test, what do you think.” And then bring them in again at the end of the last day. “We tested this and here are some of the videos from our conversations, these are some of the things we learned.”

By doing that, they’ve had more visibility—and buy in—into the whole journey. It’s not easy, C. Todd says, but it’s the best way he’s seen teams get executives involved. 

Listen to the episode to get more insights from C. Todd. Also, in a new podcast segment we’re calling UserTesting Insights, you can also hear what podcast listeners thought about the Human Insight Podcast’s old introduction and its replacement.

This episode originally aired May 16, 2022.

Growing your audience with an "Only we" strategy

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What makes a podcast worth listening to?

That is an overarching question we’ll be asking as we kick off Season 5 of the Human Insight Podcast. After four seasons, we're reaching out to listeners to see what's working and what needs improvement.

In this episode, we interview Dan Misener, Director of Audience Development at Pacific Content. Pacific Content helps brandssuch as Ford, Charles Schwab, Adobe, Mozilla and many othersdevelop and produce award-winning podcasts.

If anyone knows what makes a great podcast, it will be Dan and the team at Pacific. 

We also asked avid podcast listeners from around the world what they like and dislike about podcasts; whether that is show notes; how they discover new shows; whether they leave a rating or review and many other questions.

We’ll be sharing those insights with you throughout the season. 

In his conversation with Janelle Estes, Chief Insights Officer at UserTesting, Dan explains the “Only we” strategy for creating a podcast. And it is advice you could apply to just about any endeavor. 

“Only we is the idea that podcasters of all stripes should make the show only they are uniquely suited to make,” Dan says. “What is the show only we could make? What is the show no one else could make even if they wanted to?”

Sometimes the “only we” is the access you have; it could be a point of view or a world view; it could be that you’re the subject matter expert on a particular topic. 

“Could someone else make this show and would it be the same?” Dan said. “If the answer is yes, I don’t think your show is designed especially well.”

Listen to the episode to get more insights from Dan. In addition to expanding on the “Only we” strategy, Dan responds to UserTesting contributors sharing their thoughts on how they find a podcast, and whether they leave reviews. You can watch the videos, too! See and hear what podcast listeners say about how they discover podcasts, and whether they leave reviews

 

This episode originally aired May 9, 2022.

Season 4 recap: keeping a human connection with your customers

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In this episode, cohosts Andy MacMillan and Janelle Estes recap Season 4 and talk about what to expect in the next season.

And as a listener of the show, we'd love your feedback. Please take this short survey to help us improve the show. There is also an opportunity to take a UserTesting test about the show, where we can hear about your experiences directly.  

Survey: https://forms.gle/nCSTZFR5affEs2k1A

This episode originally aired April 10, 2022.

The three pillars of a great customer experience

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Nick Mehta, CEO at Gainsight, believes there are three pillars to a great customer experience and he points to Peloton as an example. 

One thing great about Peloton is they combine human and digital, Nick said. 

First, you need a human connection. That could be a customer success manager at a B2B tech company. And for Peloton, it is the relationship with a coach. Nick’s favorite instructor Cody Rigsby for example. 

The second pillar is the product. Nick said Peloton’s digitally-connected product delivers what he (the customer) needs and wants to know for a workout. 

The third pillar is a community of other human beings. This is the leaderboard, which allows you to compete with the rest of the Peloton users in the same class as you and your type of equipment.

“That triad is the future,” Nick said.

In this bonus podcast episode, a previously recorded LinkedIn Live conversation, Roberts joined Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO, to discuss the concept of design thinking and why it’s so important for businesses. Their conversation was part of the User Tested book tour. The new book was co-authored by Andy and Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer.  

Listen to the episode for further insights. 

To learn more about User Tested: www.usertesting.com/usertested.

This episode originally aired March 28, 2022.

Understanding how your customers think and feel

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If you asked someone shopping for a new truck whether they would purchase an electric truck what do you think would be the answer?

Now ask those same potential customers if they want to run their power tools off the bed of the truck? Or in an emergency, would they want to be able to power their homes off their truck so the ice cream doesn’t melt?

“That insight is the beauty of understanding customers in a way that isn’t just what they say and do but in what they think and feel,” said Iain Roberts, Chief Operating Officer at IDEO, a global design and consulting firm; which counts Ford and others among its longtime clients

In this bonus podcast episode, a previously recorded LinkedIn Live conversation, Roberts joined Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO, to discuss the concept of design thinking and why it’s so important for businesses. Their conversation was part of the User Tested book tour. The new book was co-authored by Andy and Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer.  

Roberts said design thinking allows companies to drive real growth by seeing through your customers eyes. 

According to its press release introducing the electric F-150 Lightning, Ford relied on its deep understanding of its truck customers to inform the design of the all-new F-150. “We see it as our duty to deliver not just what our customers want and need, but what they might have never thought possible,” said Craig Schmatz, Ford F-150 chief engineer.

Early results are impressive. Ford has reported they have more than 200,000 reservations for the electric truck, of which 75% new customers to Ford. 

Listen to the episode for further insights. 

To learn more about User Tested: https://www.usertesting.com/usertested.

This episode originally aired March 21, 2022.

Building an insights engine for your organization

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During the writing and editing of User Tested, coauthor Janelle Estes reached out to Jim Kalbach to review draft chapters and share his feedback. 

Kalbach, the Chief Evangelist at MURAL and author of several books, loved the book but wanted more stories and proof points. 

In this bonus podcast episode, a previously recorded LinkedIn Live conversation, Kalbach and Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, discuss the writing of User Tested and the importance of talking with your customers. 

Kalbach reviewed the first two chapters on why Human Insights are important, and the last two chapters on how to make this happen in any organization.

He said his advice could be applied to anyone writing a book. He wanted more stories— or evidence— as a way to connect to a larger audience, who may be unfamiliar with incorporating testing and customer feedback into their business processes. Kalbach said you want to be able to talk with these people in a language they can understand. Ignore them, and you’re just talking with folks in an echo chamber who already believe and support your point of view.

It is a challenge many in the UX industry have experienced, explaining the need for user insights. But as Tamara Adlin in Episode 12 of the Human Insight Podcast said, you need to talk in a language your audience will understand. 

Listen to the episode for further insights. 

To learn more about User Tested: https://www.usertesting.com/usertested.

This episode originally aired March 14, 2022.

Deliver value at every stage of the customer journey

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When T. Rowe Price rolled out a new process for creating an online investment account, they discovered a 37% drop off on the very first step after users opened the webpage.

They needed to know “why behind the what” and for that they turned to UserTesting. Within hours they’d identified the problem and were making fix recommendations to product owners. 

The T. Rowe Price story is one of many shared in User Tested and that is being featured in Season 4 of the Human Insights Podcast. The book was authored by podcast hosts Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, and Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO. You can order the book here or on your favorite book seller’s website.

Harsha Thayi, Senior Manager of UX Research at T. Rowe Price, shares their story and other insights in his interview. In their conversation, he and Janelle discuss: 

  • How Thayi partners with other teams within T. Rowe Price to ensure they create and deliver exceptional experiences for T. Rowe customers 
  • What metrics or KPIs does Thayi’s team directly or indirectly influence and how that maps to company strategy and purpose
  • How they are building a “shared understanding” of T. Rowe Price’s customers across the organization
This episode originally aired March 7, 2022.

The #1 key to your startup's success

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Ben Hoggan's team at the Notre Dame's IDEA Center has mentored close to 200 startups and would-be startups  from concept to revenue over the last four years.

The best way, he said, to know if a company will be successful is by talking with its customers and potential customers. And after more than 6,000 customer interviews on behalf of those startups, he should know.

"It is very selfish to invest in customer research," said Hoggan, the Director of De-Risking at The IDEA Center. "You're saving yourself time. You're saving yourself money."

Standing for Innovation, De-Risking, and Enterprise Acceleration, the IDEA Center works with faculty, student, community, and alumni entrepreneurs on their commercially viable, early-stage product ideas and innovations.

The IDEA Center's story is one of many shared in User Tested and that are being featured in Season 4 of the Human Insights Podcast. The book was coauthored by podcast hosts Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, and Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO. You can purchase a copy of the book here or on your favorite book seller’s website.

Listen to the episode to learn more about: 

  • Ben's work as Director of De-Risking at The IDEA Center at the IDEA Center
  • What are some strategies he and his team use to identify if startup ideas will *stick* or be adopted by the market?
  • What metrics or KPIs does the IDEA Center own? And how does Ben's team work ties to those metrics?
This episode originally aired February 28, 2022.

Powering your experience ecosystem to the next level

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In this episode, Janelle Estes talks with Tom Lorusso, the Principal User Research Lead for Xbox and gaming across Windows products and devices.

Tom has been working in games for over 7 years, with 15 years in the user research field on phones, operating systems and portable ultrasound. Tom and his Xbox Experiences team tackle a variety of research questions in social gaming, community, monetization, communication, cross-platform gaming, video consumption, accessibility, and inclusivity.

Tom's story at Microsoft is one of many shared in User Tested and that are being featured in Season 4 of the Human Insights Podcast. The book was co-authored by podcast hosts Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, and Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO.  You can order the book here or on your favorite book seller’s website.

Listen to the episode and learn how Tom and his team at Microsoft and Xbox tackle: 

  • What strategies Tom and his team use to identify shifting behaviors and expectations in the gaming space
  • With all the changes (technology, pandemic, and so forth) happening in recent years, how does Tom and his team prepare and plan for the future
  • How Tom and his team partner with the other teams within Microsoft to ensure they create and deliver an exceptional  experience for Xbox customers
This episode originally aired February 21, 2022.

How an UX insights show is must-see programming at HelloFresh

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This week on the Human Insight Podcast, we are excited to have James Villacci joining us to discuss how HelloFresh is scaling customer insights across the organization. 

As the first UX Researcher at HelloFresh, James Villacci established the value of conducting studies on the company’s online and offline projects. He is now head of Global UX Research at the company, which is the largest meal-kit provider in the world. 

He evangelized the power and impact of getting fast customer feedback through what has become “The Insights Show,” an internal watch party of customer insights that draws 100+ employees.

The HelloFresh story is one of many shared in User Tested and that will be featured in Season 4 of the Human Insights Podcast. The book was authored by podcast hosts Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, and Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO. The book is being released on February 15th, but you can pre-order it today here or on your favorite book seller’s website.

Listen to the episode to learn James’ recipe for democratizing insights across an organization. In their conversation, they discuss: 

  • How HelloFresh’s insights show came to be
  • How James and his UX team partners with the product organization to ensure they create and deliver a great experience for HelloFresh customers
  • How James and his UX team built the case for UX research at HelloFresh, from business metrics to storytelling
This episode originally aired February 14, 2022.

Building a design-driven culture

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In this week’s episode, James Lane shares the evolving story of how AAA is becoming a design-driven organization.

James, a Senior Product Design Manager at AAA Club Alliance, joins host Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, and Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO, to share AAA’s story, which is one of many being shared in the upcoming User Tested and that will be featured in Season 4 of the Human Insights Podcast. The book was authored by podcast hosts Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, and Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO. The book is being released on February 15th, but you can pre-order it today here or on your favorite book seller’s website.

James said becoming a design-driven organization is similar to how organizations evolved into being data-driven, moving data insights from just the math wizards in a corner office to enabling everyone in an organization to use data to inform and improve their work. 

“We can all use design processes, just as we all use data, to understand our world a little better, as a process for exploring what customers are looking for,” he said. 

The results are impressive. Following their customer-informed design changes, organic conversions for the website were up 30%, including a 55% lift for Premier memberships (AAA's top-tier membership type), a 39% lift in revenue for this channel.

In their conversation, they go on to discuss: 

  • Going from pilot to launch
  • What he means by design-driven
  • And how customer insights are informing new initiatives, such as a recently rolled out new website
This episode originally aired February 7, 2022.

Strengthening your startup with customer feedback

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2022 may turn out to be the big bang of the metaverse, but no matter the reality- augmented, virtual, extended or mixed- doing business in an increasingly digital world needs to begin the human experience.

This week on the Human Insight Podcast, Krikey co-founders Jhanvi Shriram and Ketaki Shriram join host Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, to share how they are putting customers first for their mobile augmented reality (AR) gaming app.

Jhanvi, the CEO of Krikey, and Ketaki, the CTO, have been featured in the Forbes 30 under 30 list, and Fast Company’s Best Apps and Games of 2020.

Krikey’s story is one of many shared in the upcoming User Tested and that will be featured in Season 4 of the Human Insights Podcast. The book was authored by podcast hosts Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, and Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO. The book is being released on February 15th, but you can pre-order it today here or on your favorite book seller’s website.

With insights from UserTesting, Krikey has surpassed more than 2 million users, saw a 45% increase in app conversions, and they are now bringing their app to new markets worldwide. 

Listen to their interview to hear how the Krikey co-founders: 

  • How and why they started the business
  • How customer feedback fits into Krikey’s business priorities
  • How testing the user experience helped evolved their offerings
  • How customer feedback is tied to user growth, retention and engagement
This episode originally aired January 31, 2022.

Scaling insights across your organization

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In this episode, Jennifer Lee, UX Research Lead at Wise, shares her experience being the company’s first qualitative researcher to scaling insights across the company.

Wise (formerly known as TransferWise) is a publicly-traded, London-based technology company founded in 2011. Wise is building the best way to move and manage money around the world, helping a community of over 10 million like-minded people and businesses.

Wise’s story is one of many shared in the upcoming User Tested and that will be featured in Season 4 of the Human Insights Podcast. The book was authored by podcast hosts Janelle Estes, UserTesting’s Chief Insights Officer, and Andy MacMillan, UserTesting’s CEO. The book is being released on February 15th, but you can pre-order it today here or on your favorite book seller’s website.

The book gives both individual contributors and executives an approachable, pragmatic playbook for stepping beyond standard business metrics and infusing real human insight into every business decision, design, and experience.

In her interview with, Jennifer tells Janelle and Andy about holding monthly UX Research 101 classes that anyone at Wise could join to learn about qualitative research. This began the democratization of the research function, as requests to get involved came from their HR/People Team, Engineering, Project Management, Marketing, Design, and more. 

In their interview, they go on to discuss: 

  • What role does the user experience play at Wise in securing and retaining customers?
  • How her team partners with the product organization to ensure they create and deliver an exceptional experience for Wise customers?
  • What metrics or KPIs does your team directly or indirectly influence?
  • How to build the case for customer listening? 
This episode originally aired January 24, 2022.

The flywheel of customer feedback

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Join Andy MacMillan, CEO of UserTesting, and Janelle Estes, Chief Insights Officer at UserTesting, as they recap Season 3 of the Human Insight Podcast. 

And in January, Season 4 of the podcast launches with a focus on the success stories, examples and playbooks from User Tested, the new book co-authored by Janelle and Andy, now available for pre-order.

This episode originally aired December 27, 2021.

What is (and isn't) customer centricity?

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This week on the Human Insight Podcast, we interview Brent Leary, CRM industry observer, author and speaker. 

Leary is co-founder and Managing Partner of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta based CRM/CX advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. He writes regularly for CRM Magazine and ZDNet, and is a founding member of Newseek's Expert Forum. He hosts the weekly One on One conversation series for Small Business Trends, the A Few Good Minutes livestream series, co-hosts The CRM Playaz show, and is a regular on the Gillmor Gang show on TechCrunch.

In his conversation with Janelle Estes, UserTesting's Chief Insights Officer, Leary discusses: 

  • Can a company actually be customer centric? Or are they just data centric about their customers?
  • The tension between tracking our customers and transparency of what that information is being used for?
  • Building stronger customer relationships
  • How technology is making things easier to do, except it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier to find, catch and keep good customers. Why?
This episode originally aired December 20, 2021.