2.5+ hours saved per project by consolidating five tools into one
25,000 Zendesk research participants housed within Research Hub
ReOps team of 2 can now support 200+ researchers, PMs, + designers
Miranda Fitts, Manager, Research Operations
Erin Nakahara, Program Manager, Research Operations
Zendesk is the leading customer experience software provider, powering customer relationships and support for over 110,000 brands. To meet growing demand for research among a large and customer-obsessed product organization, Zendesk’s Research Operations team introduced Research Hub to help democratize access to customers and enable self-serve research recruiting.
“We have team members from around the world who are more and more interested in having direct interactions with customers. As the volume of recruiting requests grew, manually fielding them all on my own started to become unrealistic.
I also struggled to set expectations around timing, bandwidth, and response rates—requests were being made last minute, participant criteria would change halfway through recruiting, or a team wanted to connect with a very small group of users that just didn’t respond. In reality, most of what I was doing in the recruiting process was fielding communications between two parties, and it didn’t really make sense logistically for a participant to email me before their interview to tell the researcher they would need to reschedule.
We needed a self-service solution to remove bottlenecks in our previous request process, and empower our team to immediately act on urgent projects, with enough flexibility to change course when needed, and a straight line of communication to participants.
The old system was time-consuming and difficult to teach. I needed a holistic, scalable solution to democratize participant recruiting.” – Miranda Fitts, Manager, Research Operations
“We were in the midst of a transition to a self-service recruitment model, and User Interviews was key to supporting that transition. We took an iterative approach to rollout, starting first with simpler rolling studies, then driving adoption with the whole UX research team, followed by product design, and ultimately the full product org.” – Erin Nakahara, Program Manager, Research Operations
Hub houses a research panel of 25,000 Zendesk customers. Researchers and product folks use it to independently manage recruiting for their studies, which are typically 1-1 user interviews and unmoderated studies. Customer research has informed crucial decisions in some of Zendesk’s recent releases focused around AI-powered conversational experiences, supporting intelligent operations at scale, and offering an open and flexible platform.
“Our team really likes using Hub! An analysis of our previous workflow versus end-to-end recruitment through User Interviews estimated a savings of over 2.5 hours per project. And that’s not including additional time spent on licensing, training, and security reviews involved with subscriptions for multiple tools.
The overall recruiting process in User Interviews is clear and flexible. There is significantly more transparency, and we’ve created a governance framework that requires users to complete an online course and formally acknowledge policies around contacting customers, obtaining consent, managing data, and accessing the incentives budget (available only when people use User Interviews).
A big win for Research Ops is that by democratizing customer recruitment, we’ve led our teammates to have more realistic expectations around timing, response rates, sampling, and time zone flexibility." – Miranda Fitts, Manager, Research Operations
“We’re working with the team at User Interviews to explore new use cases like incremental incentives for diary studies, and integrations between Hub and survey tools. We also plan to start exploring recruitment with the User Interviews participant panel.” – Miranda Fitts, Manager, Research Operations
“We’re excited about the new flex incentives feature that User Interviews is launching soon. This will enable us to run more complex research projects at Zendesk, including diary studies, quantitative studies, and possibly even in-person studies.” – Erin Nakahara, Program Manager, Research Operations