The Main Goal: Understand your customer's view before formulating a solution.
Problem interview is all about validating your hypothesis around the problem you pretend to solve. At this stage you mostly want to tackle the following 3 types of risk:
- Product risk: what are you solving?
- Market risk: who is the competition?
- Customer risk: who are they?
The problem interview will allow you to measure how customers react to the top problem/problems - describe customers the main problem or problems you are tackling and wanting to solve. Measure their reaction, response; ask the customer if those resonate with them. Never tackle more than 3 problems.
Prior to proceeding make it clear that you do not have a finished product, you are not selling or pitching anything.
The problem interview sheet should be clear, concise, and measurable by following the next criteria:
- Collect Demographics to test customer segment.
- Tell a story to set the problem context.
- Problem ranking to test the problem.
- Explore the customer's view.
- Wrap up.
In your interview sheet, when formulating a specific problem in one sentence make sure that you determine a priority ranking once the customer provides you with feedback:
- Is the problem a major concern to them of no concern at all
- What is the pain level, is it high or low
When exploring the customer's views, the best strategy is not to have a script; simply ask the interviewees which main problem they like to be addressed and in which way. Let them go into as much detail as they wish.
- Ask follow up questions making sure your questions don't lead them or try to convince them - be impartial.
- Get a sense of how they rate the problem: "must have", "nice to have" or "don't need"
- If they offer up new problems along the way, explore them the same way.
When wrapping up provide a hook to keep the interest - explain briefly your solution at a high level (it makes the interviewee spread your message), ask for referrals (new interviewees), ask them if they would be willing to take a look at your product when something is ready.
Once the interview is finished, document your results immediately - while the information is still fresh in your mind.
It's recommended that during your first few interviews you have another person with you to keep the interviews as objective as possible. each one should also fill the form independently. Have a debriefing session between both to compare notes - and record the interview results.
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