First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Reto Lämmler : We are all well and fortunately all healthy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined TestingTime
Reto Lämmler : I’m the co-founder and CEO of TestingTime. TestingTime recruits test users for usability tests, focus groups, interviews, surveys and more. I discovered my passion for user experience when I was the VP Product Management at Doodle.com.
I love to make things radically simple. In addition to my job, I professionalized my passion with a MAS in Human Computer Interaction Design. Before TestingTime, I worked as an interaction design freelancer to improve the world with my knowledge of User Centered Design. But I was shocked to find out that outside of Doodle, user-centered work is not often done. I looked into this problem and discovered that the acquisition of test users often became a big problem. In 2014, we were able to prove our founders’ business idea by means of an MVP (Minimal Viable Products) in a side project with a pleasing CHF 100,000 turnover. In January 2015, TestingTime AG was founded and a first round of financing was carried out with investiere.ch.
How does TestingTime innovate?
Reto Lämmler : In this blog post you can find out perfectly what measures we have already implemented to ensure quality and reliability in the recruitment of test persons. With all these checks in place, we managed to get our no-show and misfit rate to a stable low number and to ensure having no study junkies at our customers’ test. However, we don’t stop our efforts in improving TestingTime’s test users quality even further. For example, we plan to look into ID verification. With many online banks coming up, there are now great solutions to verify an ID online. We believe it could bring even more trust into the quality of a test user.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Reto Lämmler : Our main business before the coronavirus was recruiting test users for in person studies. We were also fully on course for growth and have also expanded our team. This has changed radically with the pandemic and social distancing. From one day to the next, our customers had to switch to remote. And we had to quickly change our focus to remote studies. Fortunately, we were able to support customers who haven’t done remote studies before. The switch to remote itself was not a problem for us, as part of our team works remotely abroad and TestingTime was originally only specialised in remote studies only. However, we have noticed that in some cases there have been budget cuts in user research, although the user experience should be given even more attention in such times. Our investors also continue to believe in us and we were able to successfully close the last financing round despite Corona.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned
Reto Lämmler : Like so many other companies, we had to decide fairly quickly how we would work together during this extraordinary time, and how we would protect our employees and their jobs the best way possible. I think we did that pretty well. Of course, as a start-up we also had to make certain adjustments and switch from growth mode to survival mode. We have adapted our goals and our budget for 2020 accordingly. Fortunately, we are able to keep the business going and have not had to part with employees. What I’ve learned from this: Always keep a cool head and stay calm. There’s always a solution. And we’re all in this together.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and TestingTime in the future ?
Reto Lämmler : Personally, I use sport and cold water swimming to handle stress. Also, meditation helps to center the mind and body. Team-wise, luckily our core values help us cope with a lot of anxiety and keep us strong as a team.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Reto Lämmler : We have some direct competitors with a US focus. But I can confidently say that we are the best partner for the European market. And of course, there are also a few recruitment agencies. What makes us special is that we really only focus on the recruitment of the test users and therefore have a perfect understanding of this process and of what defines great test users. We have a representative pool consisting of more than 500’000 test users. In addition to the self-service during the ordering process, we offer a great and personal customer service afterwards.
Your final thoughts
Reto Lämmler : Test early and often! Do not cancel your UX research and wait until it’s too late! Make your product or service outstanding right now. We can help you with that.
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