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Customer Interviewing 101: Knowing Your Customer

Posted by Dave Clarke on December 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

For just about every entrepreneur, truly knowing your customer is a continual quest. You want to know what problems they're facing so that you can create better solutions. You want to know what keeps them up at night so that you can help them sleep better. You want to know what complementary solutions or products they're using so that you can think in an integrated way. But finding the time to glean all this data and information is challenging, to say the least. However, dedicating a few minutes per week to interview customers can go a long way. Here are a few steps to help you get started...

  1. Pick five to 10 of your best customers. Now, what does "best" mean? Most profitable? Friendliest? Longest? When you get down to it, the best customers for your business are the ones you wish all of your customers were like. Figure out what that means to you, and pick out a few on your list. Now that you know who your best customers are, it’s time to make some calls. Learning more about your best customers will help you discover how best to market your business and get more bests.
  2. Ask your customers to describe life before they found you. What were they struggling with? Why did they call you? What were they using before? What was on their must-have life? This will help you further refine the pain point your customers experience.
  3. Next question: How is your customer’s life now that they’ve found you? Without sounding like a cheesy rom-com, this is the good stuff! You may be surprised to find out that what you thought you sold (a new logo, for example) wasn’t actually what the customer bought from you (confidence in their brand, and a professional look and feel).
  4. There is always room for improvement. Watching how your customers interact with your product is incredibly telling. Do they struggle with it? Do they smile when using it? Do they blink a lot when using it? There is a whole science to how customers interact with products, so the more you observe this, the better. (Bonus Tip: If you're in the software space, there are some great eye-tracking software applications that can provide all sorts of insights.)

And that’s it! Four quick ideas that can make knowing your customers that much more achievable. What have you tried to get to know your customers better? Tweet it at us!

Topics: Small Biz Tips