Customer research is a critical component of developing a successful product or service. However, it's important to approach customer interviews with the right mindset and techniques to gather valuable insights. In this exercise, we will explore the principles outlined in "The Mom Test" and learn how to ask effective questions, avoid common pitfalls, and document research findings.
The goal of this exercise is to transform assumptions into research questions and understand the importance of conducting customer interviews properly. By following the principles of "The Mom Test" and utilising effective questioning techniques, you will be able to gather meaningful insights and identify recurring patterns in customer feedback.
Understanding the Principles:
Begin by familiarising yourself with the key principles of "The Mom Test." Read about the importance of avoiding bad data, how not to conduct customer interviews, and examples of questions to avoid. Gain a clear understanding of how to conduct customer research effectively.
Crafting Good Questions:
Explore the examples of good questions provided in "The Mom Test." Learn how to talk about the customer's life instead of focusing solely on your product or idea. Practice asking specific questions about the past and digging deeper into feature requests and emotional signals. Understand the importance of sizing the problem and getting a commitment from the interviewees.
Examples of bad questions to avoid
Anchoring the answer:
- “Do you ever…”
- “Would you ever…”
- Do you think you…”
- Could you see yourself…”
Fishing for compliments: “I have an idea… do you think it’ll work”
Collecting compliments: “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback… everybody loves the idea from whom we’ve talked too”
Ego framing: “I just quit my job to work on this big idea… what do you think?
Too salesy: “No, I don’t think you get it… it also does this and that”
Too formal: “My first question is, on a scale from 1 to 10, thank you for agreeing to this interview”
Examples of good questions
Talk about their life
- Do you mind if I ask how you’re dealing with this stuff at the moment?
- What sort of difficulties have come up with doing that?
- When was the last time that happened?
- Can you talk me through that?
Digging into feature requests
- What do you want that
- What would that let you do
- How are you doing this currently without it
Digging into emotional signals
- Tell me more about that?
- What haven’t you been able to fix that already?
- That seems to really frustrate you - what’s the story behind that?
Sizing the problem
- How much time do you spend on it now?
- Would you make more money from it? How much?
- What are you already doing to fix this?
- You like it - why don’t you install it right now?
- Can you introduce me to someone else who is working on?
- Can we sign a letter of intent today?
Finding Interview Participants:
- Identify potential interview participants who match your target customer persona.
- Determine the best methods to reach out to these individuals, such as through professional networks, online communities, or social media platforms.
- Reach out to potential participants and schedule interview sessions.
Conducting the Interviews:
- Prepare a structured interview guide with a mix of open-ended and probing questions.
- Start the interviews by building rapport with the participants and creating a comfortable environment.
- Ask questions that delve into the customer's experiences, challenges, and desires.
- Actively listen to their responses and encourage them to provide specific examples and details.
- Avoid leading questions and fishing for compliments, and instead focus on understanding their genuine experiences and feedback.
Analysing and Documenting Findings:
- Take detailed notes during the interviews to capture key insights and observations.
- Review and organise your notes to identify recurring patterns, themes, and common pain points.
- Look for emotional signals and deeper motivations expressed by the participants.
- Document the findings in a structured manner, such as using a spreadsheet or a research synthesis tool.
- Summarise the key insights and observations, highlighting the most significant findings.
Iterating and Applying Insights:
- Reflect on the gathered insights and identify opportunities for improvement or refinement in your product or service.
- Use customer feedback to inform decision-making, refine your value proposition, and enhance your marketing strategies.
- Iterate your research questions and interview techniques based on the lessons learned from conducting the interviews.
By following these steps and utilising the principles and techniques from "The Mom Test," you will be equipped with effective strategies for running customer interviews, gathering valuable insights, and using the information to guide your business decisions.