User Interviews That Will Lead to Better Business Decisions

Whether you’re looking to improve your existing product or you’re about to start development on something completely new, user interviews can help you learn more about what your customers want and need. Asking the right questions at the right time will help you gain insight into the minds of your customers, which in turn can lead to better business decisions down the road.

When conducting user interviews, there are two main considerations to keep in mind: how best to ask the questions, and what format of the interview will yield the most actionable insights. Here are some tips on running better user interviews for your business.

User Interviews That Will Lead to Better Business Decisions

When should you start doing user interviews?

There’s no such thing as too early. Ideally, you’ll be talking with users before you start building your product—but even if you’re farther down in your development cycle, talking with users will still prove valuable. Remember: these interviews aren’t about getting confirmation that your idea is good; they’re about learning where and how it can be improved.

1) Introduction

Great products start with great ideas, but those great ideas aren’t any good unless they translate into a great product. It all starts with customer validation—and that often begins with interviews. User interviews help you determine what features should be included in your product and which should be cut out, while ensuring your customers have a voice in that process. User interview results can lead to more confident development decisions and even guide pricing strategies down the line.

2) Preparation

Preparation is key when it comes to running successful user interviews. Here are some tips for preparing for your next round of user interviews.

3) Questions

Although user interviews can provide a lot of insight, they have a major flaw: they’re all about questions. How do you use our product? What do you like about it? Do you use feature x? If so, why? In reality, answers don’t hold that much value. Ask too many questions and you get answers that don’t answer your real question.

4) Don’t forget the protocol!

The most common mistake people make when conducting user interviews is forgetting to consider design. Before you get into any discussion about features, it’s critical to think about how your users will experience your product, including how you want them to interact with it. If they can’t easily do so—or if you don’t want them getting in their own way—you’ll need to redesign what you’re building.

What are user interviews and How to conduct them?

A user interview is a conversation with an end user of your product or service. It allows you, as a business leader, to build empathy for your customers and their experiences. You can use interviews to gather qualitative and quantitative data about specific customer segments and learn about pain points and challenges so that you can improve your offering. But how do you conduct a good interview? Here are some ways

  1. Set a goal for the interview.

The goal of a user interview should be determining if your product will add value for users and not about getting people to buy. Before you even write down one question, you should know what you’re trying to learn from an interview. You can do that by setting a goal at the beginning of each interview.

  1. Make the user feel as comfortable as possible.

One of your main goals during a user interview is to get to know your users and hear their thoughts about their experiences with a product. This process can sometimes be difficult if you’re conducting a remote interview, so it’s important to take measures in advance that will make your users feel comfortable and relaxed, such as meeting them in person or talking with them over Skype.

  1. Prepare questions before the interview.

Questions can be vital to conducting a successful interview, and it’s important that you come prepared with ideas of your own. Take your cue from some of our favorite user interview questions here. After all, if you don’t know what questions you’re going to ask, how will you know what answers to look for?

  1. Construct follow-up questions based on your research goals.

If you have a clear sense of what you want from your user interview, then crafting follow-up questions is not that difficult. When preparing for an interview, just ask yourself: What do I want to learn from my users? Do I want their input on a specific idea or task?

Do I want them to weigh in on a particular aspect of their experience? Or do I simply want to get an understanding of how they feel about my brand? Whatever your goal is, craft followups that will allow you to suss out insights that align with that objective. For example, if your goal is getting feedback on your product’s onboarding flow (intro screen and welcome email), create questions around these areas.

  1. Anticipate different responses

It’s easy to assume you know what people will say in a user interview, but it’s critical that you prepare yourself for all potential responses. You need to have a response ready for everyone you talk with, not just those that give you your desired answer. Don’t come into an interview with set ideas about how it will go—you want every person’s responses and thoughts on your business opportunity. Anticipate different outcomes and be prepared to take notes on anything insightful or helpful (even if it isn’t what you were hoping for).

  1. Write dialog-provoking interview questions

In order to get really insightful responses from your interview subjects, you need questions that will make them talk—not ones that make them recite. It’s better to ask one question with six follow-ups than it is to ask 10 questions; if your goal is actually getting them to tell you about their motivations, likes and dislikes, etc., five or six direct questions are much more likely to yield good information than 10 bland queries like How often do you use our product? (Source)

  1. Avoid leading, closed, or vague questions.

One of the primary goals of a user interview is to gather information from your users so that you can inform future product decisions. To get meaningful feedback, it’s important not to lead, or bias, users in one direction or another with questions. In addition, because it takes a fair amount of time and effort for a user to participate in an interview, it’s important not to ask closed questions, which limit responses.

  1. Prepare more questions than you believe you will have time to ask.

This is one of my favourite rules in running interviews. If you’re not asking enough questions, you’re probably doing something wrong or leaving important information on the table. You should expect that you won’t be able to ask every question you write, so write more than you think you need and don’t worry about having too many. But if your interviewees are giving answers that are taking 5 minutes each, make sure your list is dense with easy questions.

Find the difference between Interviews vs. Usability Tests

It’s important to make a distinction between user interviews and usability tests because these processes and their results can be drastically different. User interviews (sometimes called contextual inquiries) allow you, as a designer, to gather information about your users on a more personal level. They’re ideal for getting feedback from users on what they like and don’t like about certain features of your product—and how you can change those features to accommodate their needs better.

Conclusion

Depending on what you’re trying to achieve with your business, user interviews can be an invaluable tool. By asking potential customers questions, you’re able to get a lot of good information. However, that information isn’t always useful or helpful in making business decisions. So how do you turn your data into better business decisions?

Start by looking at what kind of interviewee data you’ve collected and determining whether it fits your research goals. When you analyze and interpret user interview data correctly, it’s amazing how much information one person’s feedback can provide!

 

User Interviews That Will Lead to Better Business Decisions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top