Most companies agree that user experience is important. In a 2019 UserZoom report, 70% of corporate CEOs said they view user and customer experience as a competitive differentiator. But knowing exactly what users want — and what annoys them — can be challenging. Customer satisfaction and market research surveys have response rates as low as 10%, and many user experience researchers say they don’t have enough time to analyze the results.
The need for a solution has led to the creation of software-based user research tools such as UserLeap, Airkit, and UserZoom. Platforms like Big Ask and Ribbon seek to simplify the process of interviewing customers about product ideas and strategy, while services like Sprig and Maze allow product teams to track how users interact with a product and generate reports.
Another player in this highly competitive market is user interviews, which focus on the recruitment problem of user research. Co-founded by Dennis Meng, Bob Sarris, and Basel Fakhoury, the idea for user interviews came from a mobile travel app that wasn’t gaining much traction.
“We started doing a lot of user research to validate our hypotheses when we were trying to come up with new ideas and research,” Fakhoury, who serves as CEO of User Interviews, told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The more research we did, the more curious we became about how valuable research could be, and we realized there was a huge pain point in finding study participants. We then did more research to confirm this possibility and were blown away by how strong the signal was: Participant recruitment is the most painful part of the user experience by a mile. .
And the risks of allowing customer research efforts to falter, whether for employment-related reasons or otherwise, can be significant. According to Adobe research, 38% of people will stop interacting with a website if images don’t load or take too long. Clicktale reports that 73% of brands fail to deliver a consistent experience across their various digital channels, which hurts customer loyalty.
User Interviews — which closed a $27.5 million Series B round today that brings the company’s total to $45 million — offers two products aimed at addressing this pain point. One, called recruitment, is designed to help researchers recruit study participants based on various demographic and behavioral criteria. Another research hub serves as a customer relationship management tool for research teams, streamlining the logistics of getting customers to research and allowing them to build user panels for research.
Anyone can sign up to participate in user interviews-facilitated surveys. More than 2.4 million have signed up so far. After a user creates a profile, they can apply for a study, after which the researcher approves or denies acceptance. Surveyors can choose to “double screen” participants, which may include getting users to sign an NDA or consent form, and they can choose to reward participants with gift cards and other forms of monetary compensation (usually $50 to $200). .
That payment range is on the high side for customer survey portals, but some recent user interviews with TrustPilot have not been particularly positive. We’ve reached out to the company for more information on why that might be.
According to Fakhory, User Interviews uses machine learning models to prevent and detect survey fraud. On the support page on its website, the company says that 0.3% — ~150 — of the roughly 50,000 participants active on its platform each month are called suspicious.
“With its recruiting, research center, and growing integration suite, User Interviews stands out as a complete solution for participant recruitment and management that plays well with any tools researchers want to use for trials,” said Fakhoury. We are faster, cheaper and more flexible than established recruitment agencies and our speed, cost and intuitive user experience have opened up quality research to new audiences such as product managers and user experience designers, who previously tried to ‘DIY’ their research recruitment with poor results.”
Fakhori did not disclose revenue figures when asked. But User Interviews says it counts “thousands” of brands among its customers, including Adobe, CNN, Amazon, Intuit, Mayo Clinic, Spotify, Pinterest and Citibank.
Sageview Capital led User Interviews Series B with participation from Team Fit, Associate, Las Olas VC, Trestle Ventures, ValueNet, ERA Awesome Ventures and FJ Labs. Fakhori said the investment would “fuel growth” and help “further build” the company’s core products.