pdmpill 10 – How to interview your (potential) customers?

The idea of interviewing customers is the heart of product management and is key in a competition-driven market and one of the healthy ways to find differentiation points with respect to your competition. From the multiple customer interview types, there are 4 types any product manager should know:

4 types of customer interview: exploratory interview, validation interview, satisfaction-oriented interview, efficiency interview.
  • Exploratory interviews: they are usually composed of free-form questions and are meant to identify the pain points, the openness of the customers to solve their problems. Product managers seek to understand how customers feel about their current operations and look for any useful clue for the product they are building.

Examples of question structure: What is the worst part of…? When you get lost driving / can’t find your pictures etc …, what do you do?

  • Validation interviews: product managers seek to validate some of the theories they have about the product they are looking to build. These interviews are run in a specific way: product managers present their theories and collect feedback.

Examples of pre-product questions: Do you ever lose things in your house? Do you ever have difficulties communicating with your remote colleagues?

Examples of post-product questions: When you’re using an app and you want to build a clickable prototype, what do you end up doing?

  • Satisfaction oriented interviews: product managers look to find meaningful clues on how to properly iterate and prioritise their features. Power users and early adopters are priceless interviewers at this stage.

Examples of questions: What should we stop doing? What’s one thing I can do to make this better for you?

  • Efficiency interviews: product managers want to understand who is using the product and under what circumstances.

Examples of questions: How easy it is for you to use feature X? If you wanted to do Y, how would you do it in our product?