Clearhead has been rooted in research since the very beginning. Conducting stakeholder interviews to better understand business goals and problems before diving into solutioning is core to how we operate. A/B tests, a well-loved research method and a fast-follow methodology that still accompanies our Problem Solution Mapping (PSM) process today, may even be how you first came to know us.
Clearhead’s commitment to research is one of the many reasons I was excited to join the team in the first place. In my short time here, I’ve found a company both rooted in research and committed to fostering an enduring culture of research moving forward. At the same time, there’s a great opportunity to influence what this culture of research looks like at Clearhead, and the ways our research practice can expand and become even more foundational to optimizing customer experiences.
Here are three key principles that serve as the backbone for all of the research we do at Clearhead:
1) Customer Centric
Customers are key to the success of your business. I am a customer. You’re a customer too, likely several times a day. Oftentimes, businesses make decisions based purely on the bottom line, without thought of engaging their customers to help them achieve the business outcomes they desire. A customer centric approach to research brings the customer voice to the forefront of our decision-making process, be that prioritizing issues to address for a better customer experience, addressing aspects of the customer lifecycle to encourage and grow repeat business or crafting a value proposition for your product that resonates with customers.
At Clearhead, our research puts the customer first. Understanding their expectations, their highs and lows, their frustrations, their desires and their experience is what drives us every day. It’s this perspective that helps us shed light on our clients’ customers through our work.
At Clearhead, our product process is inherently collaborative. Product managers, designers, project managers, analysts, data scientists and researchers work hip-to-hip to optimize experiences for our clients and ourselves. Bi-weekly, we meet to talk about risks and roadblocks we see in how we work together, and how we might address them. Issues like these are surfaced through research or simply our experiences we have working with each other. It’s moments like these in my early days with Clearhead that showed me how deeply research is ingrained into how we work, and in all the right ways.
While working together internally is key to our success, working with our clients is equally critical. In addition to working well within our own teams, research is dependent on a successful, and collaborative client relationship. In our eyes, the more involved our client is with the research we’re doing, the better. Be that when we’re writing the brief and plan for the study or watching recordings of participants after we’ve completed the interviews, collaboration only fosters greater understanding of the participants’ experience and, by extension, the customer. Research at Clearhead can’t be effective without this key ingredient.
Research works best when it informs how specific segments or individual people use or feel about a very specific thing or things. Limited and fuzzy, I know. But, when you conduct research to understand how some people feel or use specific things at specific points in every product journey or digital experience, you start to be able to shine a light and open up new perspectives about a broader experience.
Most people think the easiest way to implement research is merely as a tool of validation. In that sense, research is the perfect add-on to the end of a project. But here at Clearhead we believe that is far too late. We use research from very beginning of an engagement to the very end–designing research and delivering insights that, while small in scale, can have big impact over time. These insights allow for more confident decision making for digital teams, ultimately leading to decisions that foster better digital experiences right away for customers.
Of course, research doesn’t hold the magic key to solve every business problem. In our view, while aiming to be comprehensive, it’s also incredibly important to embrace humility and expose limitations to our work up front. In our work, we don’t aim to know everything about your customer or your digital experience, but we do aim to reduce the uncertainty when you choose to make a mission critical UX decision at any point in an engagement.