Perhaps one of the reasons security companies don’t conduct enough user research is the difficulty in finding people to test with.

We’ve been working with AuthAuth (an automotive security company), and one of their key personas is managers of repair shops. In order to learn more about how they think, we started conducting customer interviews

Finding Auto Shop Managers

While finding users who match certain personas can sometimes be challenging, (like testing with cloud architects) shop owners seemed different. There are around 100,000 independent repair shops in the US, each with its own shop manager. We assumed finding participants would be easy, and it was.

Thanks to our client’s online portal, we had access to thousands of shop managers who visit daily. To grab their attention, we posted a small ad offering a $20 Amazon gift card in exchange for a 20-minute user testing session.

The good news

Upon posting the ad, we were immediately inundated with shop managers willing to talk with us. As you would expect, our calendar filled up and we were extremely pumped with our success.

The bad news

After 20-30 interviews, we started to notice a trend. Nearly 80% of the people who scheduled an interview didn’t show up at all. 🙁

What we tried – and failed

We started making assumptions as to why so many people ghosted us. We assumed they simply forgot about the meeting they scheduled?

Instead of giving up, we pivoted and started requiring a phone number, so we could send a reminder text to participants. After sending the reminder texts, we saw little to no improvement in attendance.

We thought to ourselves, “No worries, let’s test something else”.

We considered that we might be getting low attendance because users were scheduling the sessions 3-4 weeks in advance. An easy fix would be to limit the scheduled time to within 2 weeks of the booking date.  And again, we saw little improvement in attendance.

We finally found the something that worked

After trying a few more things, we changed one specific thing in the reminder text. Immediately, we saw an influx in interview attendance. We had done it; we doubled our attendance rate!

Curious about what the simple text change was?

The original reminder text

​​Hey [*first-name*], It’s William with AutoAuth and I’m confirming the upcoming AutoAuth call you scheduled for a $20 gift card.

I'm looking forward to video chatting with you today 1pm CT to discuss new potential features in AutoAuth.

The new (and improved) reminder text

Hi [*first-name*], It's William with AutoAuth. 

A while ago, you signed up for a quick chat about how to improve AutoAuth. Maybe because we offered a $20 giftcard? 😉

You chose 5:00 PM ET (4:00 PM CT) today from my calendar for us to talk. Are we still good to videochat in ~5 hours?

Did you spot the difference?

We reminded the participants that THEY had chosen this specific time for us to meet. This wasn’t a cold sales call we had scheduled; it was something they specifically requested.

It all comes down to this

Getting to know your customers is difficult. You will hit roadblocks, but remember: you are mining for gold! While the insights might be few and far between, they can save your team weeks of development time. It can be the difference in finding product market fit in months instead of years.

Just like the products you design and build, keep iterating until you find something that works. Persistence and iteration are key when conducting user research and building successful products.

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