How To Run An Effective User Interview To Collect Customer Feedback
July 11, 2018
July 11, 2018
Most founders or product managers have some familiarity with the industry that they are supporting with their product however they are not typically experts fully in all of the nuances and niches of the industry. To be successful, product managers need to rely on the knowledge of their customers and user segment to ensure that they have the critical features needed to be an effective product but also that their design and experience is as streamlined as possible. To do this, product managers should set aside time on a normal basis to reach out to users and hear their thoughts on what changes would make the product better for them.
Always keep in mind that there is no such as thing as bad feedback. All user input regardless if it is positive about your product or negative, is useful. The feedback will tell your strengths and weaknesses and you need to be able to listen to what is being said and turn that into features to improve your product.
Here are tips on how to manage user interviews to collect customer feedback:
1. Do not offer incentives: When doing a user interview you want honest feedback from users regardless of their current state where the motivation is simply to provide suggestions. Often when you offer an incentive, you get users who agree to tell you what they think you want to hear simply to get what you are offering. There are many users who just want to use your platform and are hitting roadblocks or have ideas to make it better. Search for these users who have a vested interest in making the product better for themselves as your best candidates for user interviews.
2. Plan Your Questions: A user interview should be a friendly discussion about the customer, their business, how they are accomplishing their need in your product and what changes would make the product more effective for them. Your user is busy and doing you a favor. Don’t waste their time by “winging it” during the user interview. In order to get usable customer feedback from a user interview, plan them out with the flow of questions and progression to cover the areas you need more information on and be sensitive to your customers time.
3. Leave it open ended: You may have an agenda when doing a user interview that you want to prove out a thought or idea of yours however you need to leave your questions open ended to validate the idea. If you ask yes or no questions, you will not hear the voice of the customer only the limited reply to a basic question. To actually hear the voice of the customer during a user interview you need to set the stage with an open ended question like “what would you like to see different about the product” or “if you could change one thing about this feature what would it be” and let your customer fill in with their thoughts. IF you ask closed questions, you are missing the point of the user interviews.
4. Have clear next steps: Nothing will kill feedback channels quicker than a feedback black hole. When you get customer feedback, you need to provide a clear communication plan to set expectations on what you plan to do with their feedback. When will they expect to see any changes from their feedback or suggestions? When you get customer feedback, you need to document the customer ideas so that the user knows you heard them and can see you are tracking their suggestions. You do not need to implement any or all of their suggestions but you need to hear them and respond to each point provided to close the feedback loop.
User interviews can be a powerful way to get customer feedback about your product when they are managed effectively. Always remember that any interaction with a user of your product is a reflection on your company and brand so you need to enter the user interview as a representative of your brand and keeping in mind that a bad interaction can lead to a churn or on the other side can be turned into a positive review somewhere so always bring your A game when dealing with your customers especially during user interviews.