Customer Interview

A lot of assumptions you might have, can be validated with customer interviews. This will give you an enormous amount of information. Context about the problems they might face, solutions they might want, which helps you to truly understand their customer journey. 

Some tips & tricks for conducting a customer interview:

Approaching people

  • First decide your target group: current and/or potential customers
  • Depending on who you target you can approach people on the streets, by mail/call or in the context of your business
  • Always make clear why you want to interview the person and that it will be anonymous
  • If it helps you can offer something in return 
  • For qualitative experiments like interviews it’s sufficient to have about 5-10 people

Preparation of the interview

  • Clearly state what your goal is for the interview. Link the interview to the goal of the project, but don’t make it too specific
  • Choose if you want it to be an open dialogue or a survey with a list of questions
  • Discuss with your colleague who does what: 1 person speaks, the other person takes notes. 
  • If you are alone, ask for permission to record
  • Are you interviewing a non-customer (e.g. topic experts, business stakeholders)? The same set of rules apply, but your research goal changes. So change your interview script

During the Interview

  • Be a good host. Throughout the interview, keep the customer’s comfort in mind. Use body language to make yourself look friendly. Smile!
  • Start by asking broad questions about the person’s life, values and habits, before asking more specific questions that relate directly to your challenge
  • Don’t overcomplicate your questions with industry jargon. Use simple language as though you’re having a conversation with a friend
  • Ask people to give examples
  • Ask for details, let them explain it
  • Ask open-ended questions. Ask “Who-What-Where-When-Why-How?” questions. Don’t ask leading “yes-no” or multiple-choice questions.
  • NEVER pitch your solution, ask about the past (problem)
  • How often does something happen? How do they currently deal with it? 
  • Don’t be afraid to drop silences. A silence is awkward for everybody, yet it will encourage the customer to talk without creating any bias

After the interview

  • No, you will not remember. So capture your main findings straight after!
  • Take 5 minutes to review your notes and make sure you have captured it all
  • Make time to structure your data, f.e. by creating categories: 
    • Facts (‘I always drive Volkswagen’)
    • Quotes (‘I trust my dealer’)
    • Insights (“The dealer informs and influences this freelancer”)
  • Analyze the results of the interviews by clustering interesting quotes and insights into different themes

Customer Journey Map

After the interview has been conducted it might be useful to map your findings into a customer journey. This visualizes the experiences that a customer (group) has over time with a certain product or service. It maps out all the steps they take and touchpoints they have with your business and adds the emotions that they have at each of them. This will help you to zoom out, to understand your customers’ needs over time and show opportunities for improving the customer experience.

Following these steps to map your customer journey:

  • Define your goal: what do you want to accomplish with making a customer journey map?
  • Collect, analyze and structure quantitative and qualitative data as input for the journey
  • Define a scope and time frame for the journey: when does it start and end?
  • Start with mapping persona actions
  • Add other ‘swimlanes’ to the journey map (e.g. emotions, channels, etc.)
  • Use the map to spot opportunities to improve the customer experience

Tools Customer Interview

Video Customer Interview

Any Questions?

Please don't hesitate to contact the Digital Innovation Lab. We are always happy to help!