How to Have Conversations with Users

When you decide to have a conversation with your users, you should follow structured steps to prepare it since well-structured conversations enable to get key insights and reflections from users. There are five steps to get ready for having conversations with users.

Step 1. Creating a List of Conversation Objectives

Conversations are attempts to obtain solutions from problems, so defining objectives of conversations are important to get proper solutions of problems. Well-developed and clarified objectives allow to enlighten the flow of conversations when you conduct sessions.

Step 2. Recruiting Users

Recruiting users refer to a process of connecting and attracting suitable users for your conversation sessions. You can select users that you want to talk with, and even screen some people if you need to have only certain type of people as your participants.

Step 3. Scheduling Conversations

Once you determine your user list that you want to talk with, you can schedule sessions with them. You should consider not only when they are available, but also when they prefer to talk. Usually, people tend to be more open when they have more time and flexibility. When you are done with your scheduling, then it is time to talk with your users.

Step 4. More Than Just Asking Questions

Before starting a conversation, it is important to make the user feel comfortable. The conversation should focus on the relationship between the user and the product. If the purpose is clear, and we articulate what we want to know through the conversation, the users will feel more comfortable and act natural.

Once the user understands the conversation is about the interaction with the product and not them, a facilitator should lead to more in depth conversation. Things like, what factors make a strong connection between the users and products, what features lead to lower user interests, what parts lead to higher user frustration, and other things along those lines are appropriate at this phase.

It is easy to jump directly into the product too much and forget about the user interaction, which strains the conversation. Again, it is interplay between the users and the product.

Step 5. Documenting Conversations

It is great to take some notes during conversation sessions. You will not miss any important details about users’ answers and you can avoid redundant follow up questions by using your notes. In addition, it looks like you are paying attention to your users. You can use notes to analyze after the sessions by summarizing what the users said. Video and audio recordings also could be great supportive materials.

There are various ways to have conversation with users. Bringing them onsite, a phone call, instant messaging, and email are just a few. Embedding a chat system into the product is also a useful way to get feedback from users.

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Customer Conversation Tools

Here are few tools that we might recommend for supporting communication with users. Tools below are specifically designed for gathering insights of users and even more comprehensive services beyond conversations.

Live Conversation

  • Phone conversation, Google hangout, Skype, Slack
    • Live conversation tools bring interactions to people with photos, message, and even group video calls for free. They provide real time messaging, search, archiving, and more.

Web Chat

  • Intercom
    • Create a public help center where people can find answers on their own, letting you spend time on problems that truly need your assistance.

Participant Recruitment

  • Ethnio
    • Find the right participants for your in-person and remote UX research, online exercises, or surveys, by using ethnio to create beautiful recruiting screeners.

Capture User Conversation

  • HandrailUX
    • HandrailUX helps to easily plan, collect, and share your moderated user research. All in one place. HandrailUX allows to capture user conversations and share with team members.

If you know any other great tools for having conversations with users, please let us know and share with other people who want to interact with users more!

Eui Yang, Ph.D.

Eui is a UX analyst/researcher at ConnectFive. She loves to see how people interact with products and systems.

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