spent on ReOps
spent on ReOps
Clemens W. Janssen, PhD
Lead UX Researcher
Clemens W. Janssen talks to customers. The happy
and engaged ones, sure. But also the frustrated and
disengaged ones. Especially the ones who churn.
“I believe the strongest voice is always the voice of the user. As a researcher, I’m looking for ways to say, ‘Here's my finding. Here's my conclusion. Don't just trust me. Hear it from the user.’ I want us to look at our users holistically. That means understanding their needs and attitudes from a multidimensional perspective, beyond their usage of our platform.”
The former clinical researcher and PhD scientist left his decade-long academic post for the software industry, where he’s now the Lead UX Researcher at Nutrisense – a program that helps anyone learn about their unique responses to food, understand their metabolism, and reach their health goals. He’s also the only researcher.
Launching a research team of one means shouldering the operational workload alone. Without the right tools in place, it’s easy to get bogged down by busy work that takes time away from talking to customers and discovering insights that inform product decisions.
Fortunately, Janssen already has the right tools in place. “I'm working in Great Question every day. I start my day by opening Great Question, so maybe I can consider myself a power user.”
In 2019, Alex Skryl, Kara Collier and Dan Zavorotny founded Nutrisense, disrupting the traditional health space with a preventative approach. With growth off the charts, the Product Management team at Nutrisense began to take shape in December 2021. Janssen joined eight months later as the first formal researcher.
“Research has always been done a little bit at Nutrisense, but there was no formal research program. There was no point person for research on the team. So starting in August with me, we started growing the research mindset more and more in the company.”
To lay the foundation for a healthy research culture at Nutrisense, Janssen had to figure out the most effective way to team up with Product Management and Design.
“I train people on setting up research methodologies, standardize our processes with templates, and provide quality control. I'm currently working with product managers on exploratory user research and giving designers training and tools to conduct moderated and unmoderated testing. When they develop new prototypes they want to test with a group of users, I help them figure out everything from screening criteria and recruitment to the actual research session they are doing.”
While early progress has been made, Janssen still likens the current stage of research maturity at Nutrisense to “putting the plumbing in place” – building systems and processes now that will be needed to transform the company into a research powerhouse in the future.
“The longer-term vision over the course of this year is that we recruit two more researchers to work with me. It will allow us to move faster and more efficiently, create stronger bonds, and improve collaboration. Twelve months from now, I see us working in teams of three or four, with product managers, designers, researchers, and potentially content experts teaming up on projects.”
Introducing a stronger research mindset comes with challenges. Janssen’s mission is to continuously challenge the teams around him to marry qualitative insights with a quantitative approach.
Janssen arrived at Nutrisense with a clear picture of what he wanted the research function to look like.
“I was looking for a way to make my life more efficient and, at the same time, be more effective in bringing the voice of the user and insights from research into product design.”
This meant automating as much of his research operations as possible. It also meant finding the right tools to establish a central research hub. But in a sea of niche solutions for different points in the customer research journey, too many tools quickly became a problem – especially with the budget constraints of a startup company.
“Before Great Question, I was exporting a list from
Typeform, and then I was manually writing and sending out emails in Gmail asking people to book a time on Calendly. And then, I had everything in Calendly and my video recordings in Zoom. So there were a lot of manual steps across various tools.”
In fact, Janssen has the research to prove the amount of time he’s saving with Great Question.
“We have one ongoing research project for churning members that is still using our old process, but I'm in the process of integrating it into Great Question.”
On average, Janssen talks to four churning customers per week. Without Great Question, this requires 60 to 70 minutes of work just to manage his research operations, from recruitment and scheduling to panel management, incentives, and more. But with an end-to-end platform like Great Question?
“Four minutes? Maybe three. It's a significant time-saving.”
Using Great Question to automate tactical work frees up more of Janssen’s time to focus on strategic thinking, planning, and analysis. It’s proven to drastically decrease the amount of effort it takes to connect with Nutrisense members and uncover powerful insights. As a research team of one anticipating growth, his early success with automation provides proof of concept that Nutrisense has the operations in place to scale research efficiently throughout the company.
“Great Question is a platform that helps you automate and streamline your research operations. It ties things together under one roof that historically you would have in other tools or different places. It’s the most advanced tool that I have seen so far to improve your research operations, and manage research projects and participants.”
Janssen understands the potential pitfalls of growing Nutrisense’s research function too fast too soon without having a rock-solid foundation in place.
“We are still in the process of establishing a research and experimentation-first culture.”
As a preventative measure, he stresses the importance of transparency in all research activities across the company. Making a habit of sharing audio and video snippets from research projects allows people to hear key insights and findings firsthand, as opposed to a filtered version where important context may get lost.
“We recently started sharing podcast versions of our written reports so that you can choose which format you want to use to digest the insights. I think sharing information and effective storytelling is a huge gap in our profession. Even if the data is strong, many good research findings don’t make it anywhere because the story isn’t shared effectively.”
To prepare for growth, Janssen continues to expand his training outside the product scope to dietitians from the health team and the customer support team. He believes everyone at Nutrisense, especially client-facing functions, should join him in contributing to research by using their unified platform of choice – Great Question.