Now that you’ve identified who you think can be your target customer segment, you’ll need to really understand them by talking to them individually.
Here’s your mission, find people who you think have the problems your business will solve. Reach out to these people and set up a time to either call or meet face-to-face for an “interview”. Ask questions and listen to how the potential customers talk about the problems your business is trying to solve. This information is crucial to how you develop your product or service!
Before we get started, copy the Customer Interview Template to your Google Drive to help you start interviewing people who can be potential customers.
How do you survey customers?
List 25 people to call that could be potential customers to your business.
Before starting the interview, lead with a few warm up questions. Small talk will help make everyone (including you) feel more comfortable. Make sure to keep the conversation casual, hold eye contact and remember to ask your interviewee for honest answers. Use the framework below and feel free to edit it to fit your business needs.
What's the biggest challenge you're facing as a [Insert Problem Here]? Pay attention to
The words they use to describe the problem
If they try to deflect or avoid the question keep exploring it with them, rephrasing if necessary
When was the last time you tried to solve that problem? Pay attention to
Have they tried to solve it in the last 6 months? If not, start over asking about a different challenge
Can you tell me about the last time that problem happened? . Why is it a problem for you? Pay attention to
Opportunities to clarify - this is your chance to ask "dumb" questions. Phrases and jargon you can turn into marketing copy
The real problem they're trying to solve
Emotions you can evoke in your marketing copy
How did you find your current solution? Pay attention to
The channels you can use to find other customers like this one
What isn’t ideal about your current solution? Pay attention to
This is how to differentiate your solution from the competition
What's the biggest challenge you're facing as a [Single Mom] with respect to [Going grocery shopping?] Pay attention to
Pay extra close attention to how recently they've looked for a solution.
If they haven’t look for a solution to a problem that you spoon feed them, they aren’t early adopters for it.
Wrap Up Questions I'm actually exploring a solution to [insert the problem they are most actively solving] problem. Can I contact you if we find a viable solution?
After collecting all your data points make sure you take down their contact information, in the event you end up solving their problem. Don’t forget to thank the for their time and input. We recommend that you also send a short thank-you email a couple days after.
Why is it important to survey customers?
How can you be sure that your customers want what you are selling? Listening to potential customers is the best way to understand how you can help them.
Don't tell the interviewees about your business idea yet. You're just trying to learn about their problems and desires and how you can build a business to fill a gap in their experience.
Start the interview with warm up questions by making small talk. It will make everyone (including you) feel better, “Did you watch the super bowl?” or “How is the weather where you are?”
Empathize with the customers’ struggles and frustrations. Using phrases like, “I’ve experienced the exact same problems myself” or “You’re not alone there. I’ve talked to several other people who have said the same thing” will make them feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and experiences.
Remember to thank them for taking time out of their day to help shape your company! “This has been incredibly helpful. You’ve really helped us tackle this problem in a new light.” or “Our team will be so happy to make the developments we talked about.”