In a recent blog I wrote - Leveraging Feedback for Efficiency - we discussed how critical capturing customer feedback is to your business. Today, I want to share why it needs to be done through a live interview process.
Here are the dos and don’ts of interviews:
Offer to compensate your customer for taking the time to talk with you. First, you’ll want to ensure you schedule an ample amount of time to get through the interview. This allows you to dive deeply into the lifecycle stage you’ve chosen.
I’m a fan of paying at least $100 per hour - or more if you can swing it - for this level of customer feedback. The investment should be enough for a high participation rate from prospective participants. On your end, a higher payout means you’ll take the prep work seriously.
The interview should be completely standardized. Each question you ask and the feelings you aim to solicit should be consistent among participants.
In our “Buy/Sell Interview,” we have five minutes scheduled for the intro with seven specific bullet points to cover. After the intro, we allot 10 minutes to get to know the person, then 35 minutes to dive into the stages of awareness through conversion. Each section is scripted, which allows the conversation to stay on course and on time. This helps to guarantee the results will be comparable to other interviews in the same lifecycle.
Do: Record Your Interview (Capture Customer Feedback Quotes).
During the customer feedback interview, you’ll want to give undivided attention to the participant, so taking notes might be difficult. Watch any captivating interview on television and you’ll never see the interviewer taking notes. So you shouldn’t either.
Record the interview via Zoom or your iPhone so you can later reference important quotes. If you’re soliciting emotion, you’ll end up with quotes like, “I selected your company because I trusted your team. I had no fear of you wasting my time like other companies.”
Attentive listening is the goal and your interviewee deserves 100% of your attention. It goes without saying that you should let your interviewee know you’re going to record. Let them know if there are questions they don’t want to answer, or prefer not be on the record, that you’ll pause the recording.
Do: Set The Scene.
During the intro, explain that an important part of gathering the customer feedback is how the process made them feel. Point out that you won’t be taking notes or placing your attention elsewhere. Explain that you may go deep on specific topics, but that if there’s anything they don’t want to answer, that’s perfectly fine. If it helps, have them imagine they’re participating on a TV show interview.
Finally, review the time commitment, compensation and the fact that the interview is being recorded. Remind them that you’ll request permission to use any quotes prior to publishing.
Don’t: Take The First Answer.
Humans don’t typically volunteer feelings freely. This means you’ll have to drill down far enough to solicit the emotion behind each action.
For example, when you dive into the awareness process, you might start by asking, “What problem did you have that made you think about needing a service like ours?” Then follow it up with, “How did that problem make you feel?” And then finally, “Why was that problem so frustrating?”
If you aren’t hearing feelings like anger, thrill, trust or joy, you’re not done with that part of the interview. Keep digging deeper to uncover the emotion.
Do: Stay On Topic.
During the customer feedback interview, the participant may likely skip forward before you’ve had a chance to go deeper into a specific topic. It’s important that you mentally capture their entire statement so try to keep them focused on the topic.
Use responses such as, “I hear [repeat what you heard].” Or, “I’d like to understand a little more about [the section that you need to draw the participant back to].”
Don’t: Rush The Responses.
Once you’ve stated a question, you may find that your interviewee needs time to think. Don’t step on their toes by providing additional thoughts. Sometimes silence is golden to let them think through their answer. Exercise some patience and let them request clarity in the question if they need it.
Bonus: Share Your ‘Why.’
Ask the question, then provide commentary around why or how you’re expecting an answer. This gives the subject extra time to think through their response without rushing it.
An example would be, “I’d like to find out which other companies you evaluated during the selection process, and if you can recall how their process made you feel. I ask this because I want to compare if we’re actually communicating our company culture and values better than our competitors.”
ICYMI: Check out Part I of The Correct Way To Capture Customer Feedback At Your Gym!
In Summary: Be Efficient When Collecting Customer Feedback
Performing interviews like these at a high level will take practice. Set the scene, stay on track and explain why you’re asking each question. Give your customer plenty of time to provide adequate feedback and allow them to display emotion. Record the interview for reference later and compensate them accordingly. This will allow you to gather highly-valuable insights that can take your business to new heights.
Good luck and happy interviewing!