I know, this is blasphemy in many researcher circles. We don’t research ourselves! We are too biased!
But if you know that, then you’ll take the findings with a grain of salt. So don’t miss the opportunity to both learn from “expert” users and give your employees a chance to have their voices heard.
At the start-up I’ve been working for, we have about 40 employees now! woohoo! Big for a start-up. I had developed a survey for our customers to understand their first-impressions of our product. Someone on my team– not me, sadly– suggested sending the survey out to our own employees before sending it out to our customers to get a sense of the data we might get back. It was excellent. Fifteen people responded in the first two days: a 37.5% response rate!
I pulled together a quick report on the results– clearly labeling this as an INTERNAL USER survey, but learning quite a bit from the responses. Our internal employees range in skill level from pretty good with a computer (Sales, I’m looking at you) to highly trained expert– so when people have trouble with parts of the interface, it’s probably a significant problem. And because we use our product internally for almost every type of communication, we run the product through the paces and have a more nuanced idea of how it could be improved than most of our current customers who are only just getting up to speed.
The survey took about 10 minutes to complete. It took me about 2 hours to analyze the data and throw it into Keynote. I didn’t have to spend any time creating the survey because I created it to send to our users. And I deployed it through SurveyMonkey, so that was free as well. And the results have helped our product team prioritize some new features. And all of our employees had a chance to have their say. Well worth it.