7 keys to conduct customer interviews that deliver valuable insights.
Customer interviews are direct conversations with your customers about their experiences, especially with your company and its products or services. They can help you uncover unexpected or unplanned insights, learn the customers’ language, and get more valuable and usable feedback.
But how do you conduct customer interviews effectively? Here are some steps to follow:
1. Set a clear goal
Before you start interviewing your customers, you need to have a clear goal in mind. What are you trying to learn from them? What are the specific questions you want to answer? How will you use the insights to improve your business?
Having a clear goal will help you design your interview questions, choose your interviewees, and analyze your results.
2. Find the right customers
Not all customers are equally suitable for interviews. You want to find customers who are representative of your target market, who have recently used your product or service, and who are willing and able to share their honest opinions.
You can use different methods to find and recruit customers for interviews, such as email invitations, website pop-ups, social media posts, or referrals. You can also use a screener survey to filter out customers who don’t meet your criteria.
3. Design your interview questions
Once you have your goal and your customers, you need to prepare your interview questions. The best questions are open-ended, meaning they allow the customer to express their thoughts and feelings without leading them to a specific answer.
You can use different types of questions to explore different aspects of the customer experience, such as:
- Background questions: These questions help you understand the customer’s context, needs, goals, and challenges. For example: “What is your role in your company?” “What problem were you trying to solve when you bought our product?”
- Behavior questions: These questions help you understand the customer’s actions and behaviors related to your product or service. For example: “How often do you use our product?” “What are the main features that you use?” “How do you integrate our product into your workflow?”
- Satisfaction questions: These questions help you understand the customer’s level of satisfaction and loyalty with your product or service. For example: “How satisfied are you with our product?” “What do you like most about our product?” “What do you dislike most about our product?”
- Improvement questions: These questions help you understand the customer’s expectations and suggestions for improvement. For example: “What features or functionalities are missing from our product?” “How can we make our product easier to use?” “What would make you recommend our product to others?”
You can use different scales to measure the customer’s responses, such as Likert scales (e.g., strongly agree to strongly disagree), rating scales (e.g., 1 to 10), or sentiment scales (e.g., happy to unhappy).
4. Create a good environment
The quality of your customer interviews depends largely on the environment in which they take place. You want to create a comfortable and friendly atmosphere that encourages the customer to open up and share their honest feedback.
You can choose different formats for conducting customer interviews, such as phone calls, video calls, or face-to-face meetings. You can also choose different durations for your interviews, depending on how much time you and your customers have available.
Some tips for creating a good environment are:
- Schedule the interview at a convenient time for the customer
- Send a confirmation email with the details of the interview
- Introduce yourself and explain the purpose and format of the interview
- Ask for permission to record the interview (if applicable)
- Establish rapport and trust with the customer by using icebreakers or small talk
- Be respectful and attentive throughout the interview
- Thank the customer for their time and feedback
5. Conduct the interview
Now that you have everything ready, it’s time to conduct the interview. The most important thing is to listen actively and empathetically to what the customer has to say.
Some tips for conducting a good interview are:
- Follow your interview guide but be flexible enough to explore interesting topics that emerge
- Ask follow-up questions or probes to clarify or deepen the customer’s responses
- Use verbal and non-verbal cues to show interest and encouragement
- Avoid interrupting, judging, or influencing the customer’s answers
- Summarize or paraphrase what the customer said to check for understanding
- Ask for examples or stories to illustrate the customer’s points
6. Offer the option to follow-up
At the end of the interview, you can ask the customer if they are willing to be contacted again for further questions or feedback. This can help you maintain a relationship with the customer and validate or update your insights.
You can also offer the customer an incentive for participating in the interview, such as a gift card, a discount, or a free trial. This can help you show appreciation and increase the customer’s satisfaction and loyalty.
7. Analyze the results
The final and most important step of conducting customer interviews is to analyze and use the data and feedback you have collected to make informed and effective decisions and changes.
To do this, you need to organize and clean your data, ensuring it is stored and managed securely and accessibly. You also need to code and categorize your data, looking for patterns, themes, and insights that answer your research questions.
You can use different tools and methods to analyze your data, such as spreadsheets, charts, graphs, or word clouds. You can also use different techniques to present and communicate your findings, such as reports, dashboards, or stories.
Customer interviews are a valuable tool for any business that wants to understand and delight their customers. They can help you discover new insights, improve your products or services, and increase your customer retention and referrals.
But conducting customer interviews is not as easy as it sounds. You need to follow some best practices to ensure that you get reliable and actionable feedback that will help you achieve your goals.
If you want to learn more about how to conduct customer interviews effectively, call our experts to know more, on Customer Interviewing for Quality Improvement. We can help you design, moderate, and analyze customer interviews in a practical and engaging way.
Supercharge your Customer Interviews! Have a great week ahead!
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