We Love Our Users and So Should You


We Love Our Users and So Should You

“I’m almost crying here at my laptop.” Message from our online contact form had just arrived to my inbox. “I can’t believe that a website like this exists.” Tears came to my eyes. I felt a bit sorry for this person, but immensely proud that we are able to give hope to people like her. “Maybe I’ll still get to live the kind of life that has been out of reach for me. Thank you!”

Every user is our customer

We at Headsted offer people online programs for mental issues, like social anxiety, low mood, high stress, and sleep problems. Each year 1 in 3 people suffer from these issues, but 2 out of 3 don’t get help for their problems. The data suggests that people need more accessible and affordable help for mental issues. I know that the need is real, because I have experienced it myself.

I had just started my university studies, when it hit me. I had been stressed for some time, slept poorly, and worried all the time. Then, suddenly I could not go out and face people anymore. I felt so terribly anxious and insecure. I felt judged whenever anyone as much as looked at me. I mustered the courage to call the health service. I cried on the phone and told how I could no longer function in my everyday life. They told me to wait two weeks.

So, I can relate to how hard it is to get help, and how hopeless that makes you feel. Paul Graham seems to think it’s a good starting point. But I’m not so arrogant that I’d say I know our users based on my experiences. We need to listen to our users, first and foremost.

We as a company put our users first. We are here to serve their need. We try to make our service so engaging and easy-to-use that they’ll give up some of their time on Facebook, watching TV, or playing Cities: Skylines. We treat users as customers, whether they pay or not. They are everything; If nobody uses our service, it might as well cease to exist. And really, even those who get the service for free are customers: they invest their time, they provide feedback, and many put their reputation on the line, when they recommend us to their friends and colleagues. This is why every user is our customer and our investor.

Know thy users

At the idea stage, before we built anything, we got our show on the road. We went to meet potential users and customers all over the country. To paraphrase Steve Blank: “You need to see their pupils dilate.” After asking about their problems and how they had tried to solve them before, we showed them our suggestion. It was one sheet of paper with a crude draft of our service-to-be. Then, we watched their pupils dilate. Or, in the case of the first draft, the confused expressions on their faces. After several drafts and revisions, I cannot tell how amazing it felt, when we got from those confused looks to spontaneous exclamations: “Wow, that would be amazing! Can I join your company?”

We collected a lot of data from our prospective users and customers before starting to build our service. We set up a newsletter, we designed various landing pages for pre-orders, and we tested the conversion rates of different Google ads and keywords. We also studied blogs, discussion forums, and Facebook groups to see how people have tried to solve their problems so far, and what they felt was missing. We sent out surveys. We used lots of complementary sources of data and gained – what I like to call – an informed hunch.

Since those early days, we have kept collecting a hodge-podge of data. Every contact with a user is an opportunity for us to learn. We connect through email, Facebook, Skype, or in real life. We look at conversion rates for our products, click-through rates for Facebook ads, how people describe our service online, send surveys to them, and interview them. All data is valuable.

How do we learn from the data? Our analysis method is art and design. Everything ties together: measures of psychological impact, user experience, customer relations, brand activities (PR and marketing), and product development go hand in hand. Metrics of user activity and comments from an interview are brought to the same table. We learn from all of them, find patterns, and decide at once.

User engagement pays off

Paying attention to our users has really paid off. Feedback for our services has been extremely positive. Over 95 % of respondents that they would recommend the service. Almost everyone says nice things when we ask their opinion about the service. Some even take the time to write an email and thank us personally.

People seem to want what we have to offer. Around 20% of online visitors sign up for our social anxiety program. I attribute this to the love we have for our users. As one of them said: “[The service is] good, clear, simple, and kind to the person.” These positive experiences are the reason why people refer us to other users: their friends, colleagues, and clients. And people are much more likely to sign up for something if it’s recommended by someone they know and trust.

So, users are the most important thing you have. Treat them accordingly. I would even go as far as to say: if you have no passionate followers, you are doing something wrong.

Toni is the Development Lead at Headsted Ltd. He’s a hardcore nerd who wrote his first computer programs at age 4. Toni’s got a Ph.D., a lovely and understanding spouse, and four daughters.

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