The Customer Interview Cheatsheet
This cheatsheet’s intended purpose is for helping you to conduct and manoeuvre your customer interviews successfully. Much of the ideas within this cheatsheet have been taken from a book called “The Mom Test”. The book focuses on asking the best types of questions in order to hone in on the problems your customer is facing. It also highlights the wrong types of questions you should be asking in these interviews.
The core idea of “The Mom Test”.
You shouldn't ask people whether your business idea is good. It's a dumb question because people will lie to you. Instead of talking about your concept, ask people about their lives and about their problems. This way, you gather enough data to iterate on your business venture and create a product people actually want to buy.
The 3 Rules of "The Mom Test" when conducting customer interviews:
Avoiding bad data
When interviewing customers you want to avoid bad data. The 3 types of bad data are complements, fluff and ideas. We are seeking to gather facts and commitments not compliments. People often describe who they WANT to be rather than who they ARE. So beware of asking questions that lead to generic answers. Get into specifics!
Don't pick your idea during customer interviews. If you do recognise it and correct it, pitching an idea means that you are trying to seek an approval. Don't PITCH!! Rather, we want to entice the crux of the problem out of the customer first, before we reveal our solution. Also, don't seek approval. your product should solve other people's problems not yours.
Questions to avoid in light of this:
Commitment and Advancement
Your first few customer interviews should help to frame the accuracy of your product market fit. After you have a iterated and honed your solution, you can then begin to present your ideas more firmly during customer interviews. ie: After it is confirmed that there is a market for your problem-solution and tha you can build it and people will pay for it, now it is time to reveal your solution.
However, you will need Commitments in the form of ‘advancement’. This is when the customer is ready to move from just a phone conversation to a pain customer and takes forward steps to eventually buy your product, time, money, reputation. Catching them at the point where they are already actively looking for a solution to their problem is the sweet spot.
Good questions for customer interviews.
General Questions to dig into emotional signals
If they are not the right fit
Catherine is the head of Operations at Soar.sh, a marketing services agency for growing startups. Soar helps digital companies grow faster with...