What is it for?
The customer interview sheet is designed to help you structure and capture the important elements you want to learn during customer problems interviews.
How to use the Customer Interview Sheet
This customer interview sheet is structured in 3 parts: questions you ask yourself before the interview, questions you ask during the interview to guide the conversation towards specific learning goals and the conclusions you draw after the interview.
Before the interview
Who is my target customer?
Define the type of customer you want to talk to. It is a reminder of the criteria you are looking for in your target customers. If the person you’re meeting does not match your specifications, you should move on. Where to find them? Think about their habits and their daily journey, and identify where are you more likely to find them.
Which of their problems/needs am I setting out to solve?
You are assuming that your customers are encountering problems that are irritating enough for them to seek solutions (ideally your solution). List those problems here.
During the interview
Who is this person I am talking to? What are some of the facts that define her/him?
Try to gather as much relevant data as you can. Sometimes, you won’t have all the details but you will be able to estimate an approximate age for example. Bit by bit, you will collect valuable information and write them down in this frame.
What problems do you encounter regarding this situation? When was the last time you had this problem? Can you tell me how it happened?
The best way to understand customer behavior is to ask for stories. Stories force the customer to recall their precise actions around the event. By drilling down with questions, you can understand their motivation and why they make the choices they make.
From their stories, you can decipher their perspective on the problem to understand how important the problem is for that customer. You can assess the energy and efforts that the customer is putting into solving that problem.
Stories will reveal bigger and suspected problems encountered by your customers.
How are you solving this problem? Is it effective?
This question allows you to understand who you are competing against. You will be surprised. If your customer is not using a solution to solve that problem, then maybe the problem you are after is not that important to them. Once you know what solution is being implemented, you can start improving on it.
You can also learn how your customers are looking for solutions, this will provide insights on their journey and inform you about potential marketing channels.
Pains with existing solutions
How is this solution working out for you?
Ask for the story. Learn about the things that seem complicated, frustrating, unpleasant.
Aim at opening the conversation and discovering other problems related to the subject.
Again, assess how much of a problem this is for your customer. Is this something they are actively trying to solve?
After the interview
What were the most important things you learned?
Share your learnings with your team, and reflect on the 3 most important learnings. Is there a bigger problem the customer is trying to solve? What don't they like about the solutions they are using?
How important is this problem for this customer?
You need to understand if this is worth solving. Again you assess this based on the story they told you and their perspective on the problem. Is this person aware of having the problem? Is he/she paying for a solution?
How often does the customer have this problem or need?
This quantifies how often your solution could bring value. If the problem is not happening very often, then your solution might not be used a lot.
Now here comes the hard question. Is this customer an early adopter?
Is this person actively looking for a solution? If not, this customer is unlikely to be the first person to jump on your solution.
Other things you can learn during an interview:
Decision Trigger - What are the key moments and triggers where customers make key decisions about a problem?
Emotions - How do the customers feel at the different stages of their journey?
Success metric - How are the customers measuring success?
Language - How do the customers talk about their problem? This is very useful. You might use their own words in your value proposition.
Verbatims - Quotes from interviewed customers
Did your customer interviews validate or invalidate your hypotheses? According to your learnings, you now can decide whether to pivot or persevere.