How to Interview Customers - SockSeed
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How to Interview Customers

Another time we talked about the importance of customers. But we didn’t explain how to talk to customers. And let’s be honest, thinking about and talking are different things…

Talking to customers is one of a kind of torture!

  • Talking to a stranger. Fun
  • That stranger is immensely busy… and hates when people try to sell him things. Getting better.
  • That stranger will likely destroy your vision for a company. Ready to get started?!

If not, let’s rethink everything and go back to the beginning. If yes, let’s come up with a plan!

How Do I Prepare?

Preparation is a key to everything. And it’s always important to have a plan when you are dealing with your product and possible customers.

  1. Have a clear idea of your customer!
  2. Get rid of any preconceived notions you have about your solution; focusing too early on testing the solution makes you prone to biases that will prevent you from hearing what customers have to say.
  3. Jot down a list of questions that test your riskiest assumption. It’s not necessary to write out the questions one by one. The best approach SockSeed has found is keeping in mind key objectives you’re looking to get insight on, and having a casual conversation with your subject around those objectives.

Do’s and Don’t of the Interview

Do’s
  1. Make sure he/she fits your customer hypothesis.
  2. Always ask about past behavior.
  3. Always start questions with “who, what, why, when, where, how.” Why and how questions surface the most insightful answers.
  4. Always close by asking for their contact information and an intro to others who fit the customer profile. Chances are they have friends or colleagues who do.
  5. Always make sure your interviewee is not your mom, dad, or friend.
Don’ts
  1. Never start off by saying that you’re working on an idea. This biases the interviewee and they will feel inclined to be nice or reverse engineer your questions.
  2. Never ask leading questions. You are priming the interviewee for the answer you want to hear.Bad: It’s really awful to wait in long lines, isn’t it?
    Good: Tell me about the last time you waited in a long line.
  1. Never put the interviewee in hypothetical scenarios. The more you ask them to imagine a situation, the less you can trust their answers.Bad: If you were stopped by the police, what would you do?
    Good: Have you ever been stopped by the police? What did you do?
  2. Never start a question with “would.” This asks them about future behavior, which they cannot predict and is not reliable.Bad: Would you pay for this?Good: Actually test if they will through a Pitch experiment.
  3. Never start a question with “do,” unless it’s a qualifying question.Bad: Do you want more free time?
    Good: How do you manage your time?

So, what now?

We told you how to prepare, what to ask, and what not, and we would have left you to start writing your questions and sent you off to the public. But we’re are SockSeed here, and we aim to make your lives easier, i.e. we give you the ready made template of questions, all you need is to send it to your friends, acquaintances, or just hit the street and start talking to strangers!

Ready?

Go For It!

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SockSeed’s platform can help you with all these tips so do not hesitate to contact us. We know that every beginning looks scary but those tips should help you feel more motivated. If you find value to this post then get ready for many more articles to come written just for you!

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Katie Topchishvili
katie@sockseed.com