We all know a core responsibility of a product manager is to constantly and consistently bring the customer perspective into the business.
I must admit, earlier in my career I totally sucked at it.
I had no plan. I often just winged it. I asked the wrong questions. I was a poor listener. I talked more and listened less. I tended to get too excited about my product idea and go into pitch mode instead of focusing on the customer’s problems. And I was very guilty of confirmation bias.
Fortunately, with lots of practice, over time I got better. As I did, I accumulated a list of the best strategies that I use even today to conduct an interview that helps me extract real customer insights.
So in this video I share 5 of the best customer interview strategies:
Use these 5 powerful tips to supercharge your customer interviews to extract every ounce of goodness from them:
- Set an objective. Know what you want to get out of the interview — that is, what is it you want to learn and come away with?
- Have a script. Having a script will help guide your interview with the customer, be better prepared and purposeful in your interviewing, and make sure you achieve the objective you’ve set out.
- Ask “Why?” — a lot. This is by far the most important question in your arsenal. It allows you to go deep, get inside the mind of your customer, understand their motivations, get to the true nature of the problem they’re trying to solve, and how they actually value their solutions.
- Ask for examples. Asking for an example forces your customer to get specific rather than speak in generalities, giving you tangible evidence of a customer’s problem, and allowing you to momentarily “live in their world”.
- Focus on listening. Cannot stress this enough! The biggest thing you can do is to TALK LESS AND LISTEN MORE. Your purpose is to get THEIR perspective — not promote your point of view, explain yourself, defend your idea or debate. The only times you should look to speak is when you need to clarify something or need to ask a follow-up question.
Follow these strategies and you’ll become a pro at conducting truly insightful customer interviews.
Watch the video above, download the full list of customer interview strategies, and please share in the comments below what strategies you’ve developed to conduct truly insightful customer interviews.