We recently launched Nucleus in public beta. At Nucleus, we do fast iterations. And the best way to iterate is to ship fast and get early feedback.
We have implemented loads of awesome analytics tools in our product. But there is no substitute for getting deep insights by directly talking to our users. You’ve probably heard of Steve Blank comment
“There are no facts inside your building.” So, you need to get out and talk to customers.
This is a great advice but knowing where to start can be a little difficult. What questions do you ask? What questions to avoid? And what do you do with all the answers you receive?
As we’re going through this process, I’ve compiled a list of resources to help you get started. Effective customer interviews are vital for product development. I hope these resources help to nail your next customer interviews.
How to Find Customers to Interview
We know we need to “get out of the building”, but where do we go? If you have a working product, you start with existing users. If you’re in ideation phase, you need to first define the customer persona.
The process of finding customers to interview is a preview of what it’ll take to sell to your customers. You may need to stand out on the street, do cold emails, create meetups. There is no silver bullet, tactics like these can work depending on your idea and market. Even for good channels, a 10–20% response rate is normal, so don’t get discouraged. Here are some resources to help you find customers to interview.
The first rule of user research: never ask anyone what they want.
— Erika Hall, Just Enough Research
The key to doing effective customer interviews is to ask the right questions and avoid leading questions. For example, “Would you use this product” or “How much would you pay for it” are actually not that important.
Here are some good resources that will help you come up with the what questions to ask and what questions to avoid.
12 Tips for Early Customer Development Interviews (Revision 3)
Note: also see my 11 Customer Development Anti-Patterns post. Each time I give a talk introducing people to qualitative…
How to Structure (and get the most out of) Customer Development Interviews
Running a startup puts a ton of responsibilities on your plate. From marketing to sales, ghetto-HR to accounting…
Never Ask What They Want — 3 Better Questions to Ask in User Interviews
Wouldn’t it be so easy if users just told you want they wanted? Nope.
Lean Startup Customer Discovery Tips
For those of you interested in Lean Startup and Lean User Experience, here's a one-pager about what to do when you're
Bad Customer Development Questions and How to Avoid My Mistakes
Summary: Although Customer Development can give us tremendous insight into market problems, it takes a lot of time …
Get better data from user studies: 16 interviewing tips
One of my favorite parts of my job is interviewing a huge variety of people about their habits, needs, attitudes, and…
These are just some of my favorites but you can find more here.
If you’re still curious and want to learn more, I’ve few books to suggest.
The Four Steps to the Epiphany - A great read for current and aspiring entrepreneurs by Steve Blank.
The Startup Owner’s Manual - The other book written by Steve Blank. A good book to read after you’ve read the first one.
The Lean Startup - A good compliment to Four Steps to the Epiphany by Eric Rees, pioneer of the Lean Startup movement.
The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development — A book by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits — well versed in customer development.
The Lean Entrepreneur — The other book by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits
You can find more customer development related book here.
Effective customer interviews are an important skill to develop as you build and iterate your product. I hope you’ll put these resources to use and master your next customer interview.
❤ Please hit recommend if you found this post useful.
✨ Follow me to be notified when I release my next story — “What we learned doing 30+ customer interviews” and more.