Click's Customer Development Interview Template/Script

 Image Credit: Faakhir Rizvi

Image Credit: Faakhir Rizvi

Click's Lean Launchpad: Pioneer Valley students have been making great progress on their customer development interviews.  We started with this simple and effective starter template from Jason Evanish.  When our teams were ready to up their sophistication, they did some research and put together a more extensive set of templates, shared below...

 

Problem Interview

  • Welcome / Up Front Contract (2 min)

    • Thank them!

    • Explain you are doing research on a new product idea.  You are not selling anything.  You just want to learn from their experience.

    • You will be happy to answer their questions about what you have learned so far (if they have interest) - do this to communicate this is a 2-way street and you are up for GIVING as well as GAINING.

    • Explain time you plan to use (and stick to it)

  • Collect Customer Segment data (2 min)

    • Ask questions to verify they are in your target market!

    • Secure any demographic/psychographic data called for given your target market.

  • Pain Overview (5-15 min)

    • “I’m focusing on [problem area]”

    • “When we have spoken with others like you, we often find they are experiencing [Pain 1], [Pain 2], and/or [Pain 3].  Do any of these apply to you?”

    • “Are there other important problems you have that I didn’t mention?”

    • “How would you rank these problems, from most important to least?”

    • Tip: use index cards to make it easy for them to remember the pains and yo arrange them in priority order.

  • Pain Deep Dive (15-30 min)

    • Start with the highest ranked problem.

    • “How do you deal with this problem?”

    • “What is the impact of this problem on you?”

    • Repeat for other problems as time allows.

  • Wrap up (2 min)

    • Ask if you can follow up afterwards should you get interesting results or make progress towards a potential solution.

    • Ask who else you should speak to and if they would be OK referring you.

    • Thank them, profusely!

    • Document everything right afterwards, while it is fresh.

Solution Interview

  • Welcome / Up Front Contract (2 min)

    • Thank them!

    • Explain you are doing research on a new product idea.  You have a crude prototype suitable only for demonstrating core concepts - in other words you are not selling anything.  You just want to learn from their experience.

    • You will be happy to answer their questions about what you have learned so far (if they have interest) - do this to communicate this is a 2-way street and you are up for GIVING as well as GAINING.

    • Explain time you plan to use (and stick to it)

  • Collect Customer Segment data (2 min)

    • Ask questions to verify they are in your target market!

    • Secure any demographic/psychographic data called for given your target market.

  • Review Pain (2 min) - Summarize what you heard from them before “After speaking to you and a lot of people like you, we heard again and again that you experience [Pain 1], [Pain 2], and [Pain 3].  These problems cause [impact].  Does that sound about right?” - you want to make sure they agree before you proceed! If they don’t, this is important to learn NOW.

  • Demo (15 min)

    • For the pain they ranked most highly, show your mockup screens of what a solution would look like and the value it would deliver.  

    • Check for questions.

    • Repeat for other problem areas.

    • “Which portion of the solution was most compelling?  Least?  Why?”

    • “What is missing?”

  • Test pricing (3 min)

    • Try out your guestimate price.

    • Notice their immediate reaction.

      • If they say yes, but hesitate, you probably have it right.

      • If they say yes right away, your price is too low.

      • If they say no ask what price they feel is fair (note what people SAY they think is fair is less than what they will actually be willing to pay).

    • For products with high switching costs, ask if they would use it if it were free.

  • Wrap-up

    • Ask if they would be interested in being in a service trial once you build it.

    • Ask for referrals.

    • Thank them, profusely!

    • Document everything right away while it is fresh.

Find a GoogleDoc version of this template here.

Note: the above template is heavily influenced by this awesome Chicago Lean Startup Circle presentation.