Apr 13, 2023

Why we record all customer meetings at NEXT (And why you should too)



Rick van der Werf

Why we record all customer meetings at NEXT (And why you should too)

The pandemic forced us to move all our customer interactions online. And most have stayed online as the new hybrid workplace has settled in since. There were so many calls happening that a few of us at NEXT decided to start recording our customer meetings so that we can go back to them for insights. The experiment was so successful that nowadays, all of our teams, including product, UX, customer success, growth, sales, and marketing, record their customer calls.

“As more and more companies become product-led, how quickly and precisely a company identifies new customer needs and ships product ultimately determines its success.”, says Jennifer Li, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz.

Many companies, like us, have discovered the benefits of recording customer calls and relying the insights in the calls. However, the business value of this practice is not always clear. Specifically, it may not be clear how this practice will help teams build better products, reach product-market fit faster, and reduce development costs.

In this post, we will discuss how recording customer calls helps us and other customer-centric teams. We will also shed some light on why recording customer calls is a must.

To Focus on the conversation

Recording your conversation with a customer allows you to stay present and engaged during your call. When you record, you know you can revisit and extract insights from the call at your convenience. You don't need to take detailed notes, capture screenshots, or worry about missing out on critical information. You can just concentrate on the conversation.

At NEXT, we don't take notes. Instead, we use NEXT AI to record, transcribe, and clip reels of key customer moments from the call. We then share these customer insights on Slack with everyone, into Jira tickets as customer evidence for development stories, etc.

To share customer learnings

Every customer interaction is an opportunity to learn and improve. However, insights shared by customers on such calls don't always end up in the hands of the right teams.

Notes made during calls are difficult to find, share, and action after the call. They often miss the complete context of the conversation and include the biases of the notetaker. The raw voice of the customer is lost somwhere between good intentions and poor execution.

On the other hand, recording your customer calls lets you share the customer's voice directly. Keeping the entire team one degree of separation from the customer is priceless.

“At Erste Group we use NEXT to record, transcribe and analyze all our user interviews, feedback sessions, product demos, and even training sessions. We mostly share individual insights within our team for day-to-day decisions. For stakeholdser outside the team, we combine insights into stories to provide richer context. NEXT has allowed us to democratize the voice of the customer across the entire organization.” – Mikey Zwettler, Product Leader at Erste Group

To deliver a great user experience

Recording customer calls makes it easier to advocate for bug fixes, product improvements, or new features, as you can share the customer's struggle in their own words. By choosing to record calls, you save time, reduce ambiguity, and respond faster. As a result, you deliver a better customer experience all around.

“Our goal at the bank is to be customer-first, so we can provide the best possible experience to our customers. That means creating products our customers need and want. And to find out what customers really need and want and what they’re struggling with, we use NEXT.” – Vanessa Fraiberger, Head of Digital CIB, BNP Paribas

To inform product roadmap

Feedback gathered from customer calls often doesn't make it onto the product roadmap. This is because the few people in direct contact with the customers fail to make a compelling case for their asks. By sharing the rawest form of the customer's voice, a recording, you can help build empathy for the customer's needs within the product team and beyond. Recordings turn everyone into customer advocates.

"No product decision is left to assumptions at Erste Group. We use NEXT to gather user insights that drive every decision in our product development process. NEXT gives everyone firsthand exposure to the customer's needs and the ability to contribute to product decision from their perspective." – Mikey Zwettler, Product Leader at Erste Group

To democratize customer understanding

Recording customer calls allows you to collect and access customer data in unprecedented ways. Sales and customer success teams can record their calls to build a library of customer knowledge that they can learn from and use to improve. Similarly, product and UX teams can record user interviews to create a research repository of user needs and wants. Combining these recordings into a common library makes customer insights accessible and actionable for everyone on the team, not just customer-facing members.

"Before NEXT, customer insights were often locked in the heads of our UX researchers or stored away in their personal notebooks. The information was not easily accessible to the rest of the team, making it difficult to make informed product decisions rooted in a shared understanding of our customers' needs and wants. NEXT has changed that!"Adrian von Muehlenen, x-Product Owner Material Passport at BASF

To deliver more efficiently

Too many products are built on assumptions. Research shows that for every dollar teams spend researching requirements, it costs ten dollars to redo that requirement during development, and it costs a hundred dollars or more after release! Recording customer calls and using customer insights to build products can lower your development costs by up to 40%.

"In building offerings, insights help us make fewer mistakes, reduce the amount of rework, and spend our time on innovations that unlock tangible value.” — Hans Schonfeld, Chief Innovation Officer, Netherlands National Police

Final thoughts

Recording customer calls and using them effectively is arguably the most efficient way to quickly and precisely identify new customer needs and ship great product:

  • don't spend any time debating assumptions and we don't make any gut-feeling decisions;

  • rely on insights from customers call to validate big-picture and day-to-day decisions;

  • spend less on development costs, create wow! customer experiences; and ultimately

  • win!