The Art of the Customer Discovery Interview

Customer discovery is hard. As an entrepreneur with a bias towards action, the action of building features in a product is much more fun than talking to potential customers. Only, if you don’t talk to potential customers early and often, the chance of success is significantly diminished. Once you’ve mentally agreed that talking to potential customers before or during the earliest stages of product development is key, it’s time to do customer discover interviews.

Here are a few things to keep in mind with customer discovery interviews:

  • Don’t lead the witness — it’s all too common to try and guide the potential customer down a path the jives with your desires
  • Ask broad, open ended questions
  • Get a good understanding of how things work currently with as much excruciating detail as you can uncover
  • Find out what the ideal solution would be if time and money were no issue (if you could wave a magic wand and have anything you wanted , what would it be?)
  • Never show any prototypes you might have until after you’ve asked all your main questions (don’t introduce bias!)

Customer discovery interviews are super valuable and should be employed by all entrepreneurs.

What else? What are some other ideas on the art of the customer discovery interview?

4 thoughts on “The Art of the Customer Discovery Interview

  1. I’ve found customer discovery to be very helpful in ensuring you are hitting on some level of customer pain with your products. It can be very tricky to truly measure the full value the customer places on your solution – and the market size – in a “lab” type setting. I recommend trying to sell your product as fast as possible. Within a month of launching you should have mockups and a basic powerpoint that can be used to during initial sales appointments. If you really want the truth, ask someone to buy your product. If you aren’t solving a real pain, the customer won’t be willing to go to their boss to get budget.

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