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Market & Customer Research

Startup Customer Interviews: Asking the Right Questions from the Beginning

By November 30, 2020No Comments

“If I had only one hour to solve a problem, I would spend up to two-thirds of that hour in attempting to define what the problem is.”
– Professor of Industrial Engineering at Yale

You’ll hear me say time and again that “build a great product” is a misleading trope in the startup world. By starting with the problems your ideal customer experience, the solutions to those problems become far easier.

Where you find problems, you’ll find opportunities.

Yet, asking the right questions of the right people is very challenging. You may be debating whether to ask very specific questions around your hypotheses, or you may already understand that starting there may bias the person you’re talking to.

Where to begin?

The grand tour question asks your customer to walk you through a time they experienced the problem you are trying to solve (click to tweet). Frame the question as “Can you walk me through a time you experienced x?”

Then, after they’ve shared their experience, you can ask helpful follow-up questions that dig deeper into the customers’ problems they see as the biggest pains.


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