FAQ

UserMuse is a market research service designed for enterprise tech companies. We connect the people who make enterprise tools with people in their target markets who fit their customer profile to help them validate ideas and opportunities. We are firm believers in the power of user interviews and market feedback for making better products.

In short, because UserMuse isn’t a general-purpose social network. We exist to connect product makers with experts who can help them understand their target markets. Our service is designed to help product developers make commercially successful products.

When people sign up as experts-for-hire on UserMuse, they may detail not only where they work and what their job is, but also the specific tools and products they use as part of their job. They may also provide product reviews that highlight their experience with these tools to validate their expertise to us. And of course, our members have already told us that they are open to being hired for user research interviews and/or advisory jobs. That means you aren’t cold-emailing people and hoping they’ll respond.

Yes and no. While our members may perform a consulting service to the product developers who contract them, they are usually not career consultants. Rather, they are marketers, salespeople, HR managers, engineers, operations managers, accountants, finance managers, and all kinds of other professionals working in industry today. In other words, they’re the target users of the thousands and thousands of enterprise products on the market today. Finding experts on UserMuse is more like recruiting a focus group than hiring a team of professional consultants (except we do the recruiting work for you).

In a nutshell: you should use the service to make contacts in your target market and conduct user interviews. The more you talk to your potential customers, the better you can validate that your product roadmap addresses real market needs. The most common thing we hear from product designers is, “I don’t have time to do research, and I don’t know what my customers want.

UserMuse market research interviews provide value throughout the development process:

  • In the nascent stages of product inception, focused interviews with people who meet your target customer description can uncover market needs and help you validate that the problems you’re trying to solve are important;
  • During product development, user interviews and prototype reviews are crucial for getting initial validation and feedback; and
  • Leading up to and through the product launch, interviews are an ideal way to test messaging and positioning concepts as well as get product feedback.
When you register on UserMuse, you’ll first specify that you wish to be an expert-for-hire. You’ll then pick which products from our database you've used in your most recent career stops and the companies at which you used them. Fill out the review form for any of the products with which you're highly familiar from your past use, and that’s it! When product designers request people with similar backgrounds to yours for a project, we will recommend you for their projects.

Being an expert is not about technical sophistication necessarily. Rather, it means that for a particular tool means that you consider yourself a knowledgeable or representative user. For example, if you use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool every day to do your job and generally have a good understanding of it, you're probably an expert to a product designer wanting to understand how people use that tool.

Remember, most products are designed for the "average" user, not the ultra-sophisticated power users. If you're on the fence about your expertise for a product, it never hurts to write a review. We’ll evaluate whether you’re a fit for a project before recommending you.

People who submit projects to UserMuse pay a finder’s fee for the introductions we make. We don’t sell your information or email addresses to other lists or data providers.
People who want to hire experts through UserMuse for their project receive an invoice via e-mail, which must be paid before they can be introduced to the experts they’ve selected. Once we have facilitated the introductions at agreed-upon consulting rates between the two parties, it is up to those parties to finalize scheduling, conduct the user interviews and settle payment.

The UserMuse community is based on trust. In general, we recommend that hirers conduct the interview and then pay the expert immediately afterwards for a one-time user interview. For ongoing consulting engagements, both parties might agree to a different arrangement. While we don’t advocate (or collect affiliate revenue from) any payments provider, we have a certain fondness for P2P solutions such as PayPal and Venmo for their speed and ease of use.

The key is for both parties to (1) communicate clear expectations, and (2) follow through on all commitments at the agreed-upon timeline.

When you submit a project request, we talk to the potential experts we think look like a fit to confirm they meet the description you provide us. We then send you descriptions of the individuals in question (along with their respective consulting rates), and you make the final decision on whom you'd like to be introduced to.

Our introduction fee is non-refundable. If your experience with a particular expert is unsatisfactory, notify us at support@usermuse.com with “Payment Issue” in the subject line so that we can understand the issue and follow up with the expert in question, if appropriate. If we determine that an expert misrepresented themselves or otherwise fell short of our community guidelines, we will do our best to match you with another expert and waive our fee.

Experts who have been found to misrepresent their professional experience or otherwise not abide by our community guidelines face suspension or permanent ban from the site.

If you are not paid in the agreed-upon amount or manner by someone who hires you for a consulting arrangement on UserMuse, please tell us via email at support@usermuse.com, with “Payment Issue” in the subject line. We will follow up with the person who submitted the project and attempt to broker a resolution. Please note that we do not have the authority to force a user to make payment. As the consultant, you own the relationship with the person contracting your services.

If we however find that someone is not making good faith efforts to pay experts for services rendered or otherwise falls short of our community guidelines, they face a temporary or permanent ban from UserMuse.

Yes - Our experience has been that the majority of product managers pay for user interviews from either their company’s general expense or market research budgets. Many reallocate funds from their conference attendee budget to conduct user interviews because they see a higher ROI from focused conversations with vetted experts. We certainly would advise that you make the case to your department to allocate team budget for user reviews.
First and foremost, the reviews help us match experts with the right projects by showing us what a person knows about the tools involved with doing their job. Explaining your experience with the different tools you use at work demonstrates (a) the depth of your overall expertise, (b) how well you match the requirements for a project, and (c) how capable you are of providing high-quality feedback.
The main reason is that anonymity enables honesty. People often have to stake their credibility in a new tool roll-out in an organization. When things go badly, criticizing the tool can feel uncomfortably close to criticizing the individual(s) behind its deployment. While we do not tolerate calling out individuals by name in product reviews on UserMuse, we do want people to provide their honest evaluations without fear of retaliation or damaging professional relationships.
Yes. We have plans to make users' reviews searchable and organized by company in the near future.
We review submissions from users individually and follow up with users where we see a need for clarification. We will also soon be introducing community-based validation.
Not at this time. In order to preserve users' anonymity and promote the utmost honesty in their product reviews, we will not be exposing users' identities and ratings which could be used to de-anonymize them. We're open to hearing your feedback on this point; feel free to contact us at support@usermuse.com.