How do you create your customer personas and their conversion funnels? On our side, we always try to conduct in-person interviews, about eight interviews for each persona, to figure out a target audience. The interview methodology we follow is one recommended by MIT’s Design Thinking online class, specifically by instructor Eli Itin.
How to organize an interview:
- Aim to have eight interviews for each persona.
- Pick a range of people to interview (from extreme users to less engaged users).
- Have two people conduct the interview: one to takes notes; one to ask questions.
- Cap the length of each interview at 30 minutes.
- Always schedule in-person interviews. Talk to people in their environment. Use Skype video if you need to save on the budget.
- Don’t interview customers who “fly first class.” In other words, the super happy customers.
- Don’t pretend you understand the problem. The idea is to throw out assumptions and preconceived ideas and understand what is really happening: the thoughts, emotions, motivations, choices, behaviors, and needs.
- Don’t surprise people. Call ahead and explain what the interview is about. It’s always better if the other person thinks about it a bit about it.
What to say/ask during the interview:
- I’m [name/title] I’m interviewing for this reason… in the area of...
- What does [the topic] mean to you?
- What is your role? Please describe it.
- Tell me about the last time that…
- How did [the topic] make you feel?
- What was a recent success or a good experience?
- What was a recent failure or bad experience?
- Follow the rules of the 5 WHYs? After the first answer, ask “Why?” The second answer, ask “Why?” again, and so on. This way, you will really dive into the process.
- “I don’t like the interface.” | “Why?”
- “It is too complicated.” | “Why”
- “I can’t find what I am looking for.” | “Why?”
- “I don’t see the search box.” | “Why?”
- “It is hidden at the bottom of the page.” | “Why?”
- Encourage stories. Ask people to tell you a story.
- Ask short questions that are no more than 10 words.
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues (expressions, body language, etc.)
- Capture good quotes.
- Take a photo of the person if he or she agrees.
- Never say “usually.” Instead, say, “Last time...."
- Don’t be afraid of silence. Allow for silence. Don’t jump to the next question.
- Don’t suggest answers to your own questions.
- Don’t ask binary yes/no questions. Instead, say, “Tell me about….”
By the way, we really love the MIT Design Thinking online class proposed by Emeritus. It’s $900 for about two months. Our team even tested it by taking it for you. The class is great, so make sure to take it!