Business Management

Understand your audience: how to conduct customer interviews?

Image Business Management



Ana McFee

Business Development Senior Manager at EHL

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Knowing your customer is essential for any business venture. Successful business owners understand what their customers want and how to make their product or service available in the most effective way. The breadth of knowledge is also important; knowing more than their names, ages, and incomes is required. Knowing your customers' hobbies, tastes, and interests, as well as what they watch, listen to, and read, can give you a competitive advantage.

Understanding your customers' purchasing habits is also critical. As a business owner, you must understand who is most likely to require or desire the product or service you offer.


    Why is it important to understand your audience?

    Companies that understand what their customers want and expect can work on designing the customer experience for increased loyalty and repeat business. The more often your customer engages with you, the more chances you'll have to create a positive experience and a strong relationship.

    Listen to your customers' feedback and offer sound advice, even if you have to refer them to another source on occasion.

    Tools to better understand your customer

    There are a wealth of tools out there to help you better understand your audience, and their wants and needs.

    Conduct Surveys

    Surveys conducted online, through social media, by email, or even in person, provide valuable insights. However, you should focus on creating a survey strategy that has defined objectives - paying close attention to what your business needs input or feedback on. Combining quantitative data responses and qualitative customer feedback will give you the best insights.

    Use Social Listening

    Identify your followers and who they follow, as well as where they live. Keep an eye on their interests to find out what kind of brands they like and what keeps them engaged. You can use social media analytics tools to gain key insights into your customers, such as understanding the impact of your messaging and what interests, engages, and inspires your audience.

    Sentiment analysis

    Based on the emotions detected in voice and text data, sentiment analysis uses artificial intelligence to improve customer understanding. As a result, businesses can easily identify customers' opinions about their brand, services or products.

    Speak with your sales and customer service teams.

    Regularly communicating with the respective teams helps you identify and understand your consumers' pain points, complaints, sales objections, as well as your brand's attributes.

    Test the customer experience

    By following your customers' touchpoints, interactions and transactions, you will gain insight into the routes they take and identify ways to simplify their lives and delight them.

    Customer review

    Customers' reviews not only provide insight into where you can improve to stay current with trends, but they also function as a starting point for a genuine conversation. With a live chat, for example, you can make it easy for people to share their opinions.

    Customer Interview Guide

    Before you begin, it is important to provide some background information and outline the purpose of the conversion, as well as acknowledge and address any privacy concerns that people may have.

    1. Select people with different roles and views target based on your persona. Select both existing and potential customers. Mix loyal, new and former customers if feasible.

    2. Do the interview face-toface if possible.

    3. Make interviews at least 30-45 minutes, but not much longer.

    4. Design your interview questions in advance and use simple language.

    5. Create a good environment: comfortable and relaxed.

    6. Start the conversation with a little small talk, it will help everyone feel more comfortable.

    7. Do less than 50% of the talking.

    8. Understand the interviewee state of mind by looking for a "Quote of the day" with each interview.

    9. Validate the customer problem you are trying to solve, not the product or service you are trying to sell.

    10. Focus on understanding your customer. Use different forums to discuss your ideas and solutions.

    11. Do not ask hypothetical questions and do not make guesses.

    12. Keep the questions as open as possible.

    Customer Interview Guide

    This document is a collection of questions you might want to ask your customer to learn more about them and their buying behavior.

    Note that not all questions might fit your business or the purpose of your customer interview. Feel free to remove or add questions as you see fit.

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