Interviewing tips. What to do, what not to do, how to find them, and more. Obvious? Yes. The difficulty comes in their execution.
Customer interviews are an important part of any lean start-up. Once out of the building you will certainly learn a lot about your customer segment and the problem you are trying to solve.
We’ve learned a lot about our own customer segment this way, but we have also learned — through trial and error — how to talk to people. So we’ll go over some lessons learned from talking to customers and include what to do, what not to do, how to find them, and more. Some of these may seem a little obvious but the difficulty comes in their execution. Try to keep track of these tips and you’ll do great.
Before the Interviews
Create questions around the problem and see if your customer arrives to the problem without you telling them explicitly. One of your goals should be to see if what they need is your value proposition or how is it different from what you are offering.
On your first couple of interviews it doesn’t really matter all that much where you go and who you talk to. You’re trying to get a feel for the problem and your potential customer. Over time, you will define your customer segment more accurately and should try to avoid noise in your feedback as much as possible.
For example, early on we made the mistake of assuming we would find our customers in our distribution channels. However, we quickly realized that channels are where your customer is going to look for your product, not necessarily where they will be hanging out.
Make sure you nail your customer segment and figure out where you can find your customer. Do “A day in the life of your customer”, where you put your self in your customers shoes and try to figure out what they do throughout the day. I assure you that it will pan out. For example, if your customer segment is parents with young kids, they will probably spend part of their weekends doing some fun activities for their kids. So try to figure out what places near you kids can have fun (e.g. parks) and go there to find your customers.
Driving the Interviews