Interview with Luke Tyson, Operations Manager at Minaal — a NomNom Case Study.
In this Interview, Luke from Minaal shares his process for understanding customer needs, team alignment and his advice on how to get started.
Luke, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Minaal?
Luke: Minaal is an ecommerce startup designing gear that makes traveling faster, happier, and more productive. Our first big hit was the Minaal Carry-on (now the Carry-on 2.0), born out of the need we had for a travel bag that could go everywhere we do whether we’re hailing a tuk-tuk or headed into the boardroom.
My role as Operations Manager focuses closely on user feedback. Since the company was founded, we’ve always taken great care to be plugged in to what our users are saying. When you’re making products for a very discerning customer base, you need to listen well so that you can design the absolute best products.
We’ve used a lot of feedback systems in the past but have never found a tool that could integrate our disparate data.
Can you share with us what feedback sources you centralised and what processes you put in place?
As with any product development processes, we are constantly getting feedback from many data sources. We use Help Scout for customer support, Delighted for NPS and have all the normal social channels piping into NomNom.
The Projects feature has been really useful for building reports around keywords. Projects are automated, that allow us to track keywords and segment the feedback for easy review. On top of the projects feature, we also drill down a level deeper into themes from highlighted text that we find particularly interesting. We also use Help Scout tags to segment product feedback.
On the process side, we use NomNom to answer ad hoc internal questions around product development or marketing. We’ll typically go through NomNom and just run a quick keyword search to see what our users are talking about. Often users are eager to find more content that helps them learn more about the product features and benefits. Other times there are new feature ideas or enhancements that our most engaged users would like to share. This helps us keep learning on the product, positioning and content side.
In addition to these spontaneous searches, we also hold monthly feedback reviews where we review projects for keywords and themes that can be further calibrated. It’s critical to us that we continue to hear and respond to what our users want. These reports hold a lot of weight in our product planning process. NomNom has become integrated into our product development process as we decide what to build next.
How did you go about implementing NomNom within your workflow?
One of the things that I really appreciated when I was setting up NomNom was the excellent documentation. For many software services I’ll take a quick glance at the documentation and then assume that I can learn it on my own. With NomNom I read through everything and felt like I’d learned something and was able to hit the ground running.
What we found out pretty quickly in the setup is that hierarchy of information would be really important to keep us organized. The first level of data configuration came from the Projects feature. That was really helpful in organizing feedback around each product. After following those results, we quickly realized that drilling down a level deeper than projects into specific themes was really important to capture the long tail of feedback.
How is centralising data helping you build better products for your customers
It takes time to iterate on physical products but NomNom has already produced lots of actionable insights. We’ve already been able to zero in on questions our users have about the current gear and upgrade the copy on our product pages to better address their needs and desires. Since using NomNom we’ve made our specs more visible and added a link to shipping info which was previously a source of lots of customer service tickets.
One of the challenges of curating feedback is aligning the product team around the most important bits of feedback which require action. Having strong user insights and a holistic feedback source can make a big difference when it comes to alignment.
NomNom has the potential to be like having an extra user researcher in the room as you advocate for why the team ought to work on certain features. It’s an automated data source to inform our perception of the user and how we can advocate for their needs.
What would be your advice for other people trying to get started on building the right processes to become more customer centric.
The first step is to understand what kind of feedback you want to collect and then decide what tools you need to collect it. Next, you’ll need an internal champion who owns the customer or the user experience. It depends on the organization but this obligation often lands with a Product Lead, User Experience Lead or even CEO.
You need somebody who is advocating for the customer, somebody who owns the collection and the integrity of the user data and who also owns the communication with the team. I think having one person who’s administering a feedback system will help you overcome a lot of wasted time and unproductive debate. It’s helpful to discuss and debate customer feedback, but you ultimately need somebody who owns the customer experience to make final decisions about how to react and respond to feedback.
If you want to learn more about how to build effective feedback loops, you can subscribe to the Customer Insights Academy, a collection of bite-sized lessons with recommendations, interviews, and practical advice on how to collect, analyze, and take action on your customer data and qualitative research.
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