Jonathan Markwell on Customer Interviews
Welcome to empathy deployed the
podcast where you can experience
an example customer interview.
You'll discover new perspectives on
different software products and improve
your customer interview technique.
As I attempt to do the same.
I'm Jonathan Markwell and this
episode is a little different.
Morgan Williams approached me to ask if
he could interview me about my experience.
At customer interviews.
I responded that I'd be happy to.
But it might be fun if we
recorded it for this podcast.
So here's the interview
See Jonathan, how you doing?
Morgan: I want you to jump straight in and
really just get a little bit of background
about yourself, kind of what you're up to.
So if you're able to share that, that'd
be a fantastic way to sort of kick things
Um, uh, I guess I do, um,
Ferris different things.
Um, I'm best known for running
a coworking space, uh, in
Brighton, which is 13 years old.
Um, and, um, has a little
over a hundred members.
Um, these days.
And there's a sort of very much sort of
member run focused on, on individuals.
Uh, but, um, sort of before that and
alongside that, um, I've been very
into, um, developing web software,
um, built some own, uh, software and
service businesses and, um, worked
on a, on a bunch of other people's.
Over the years.
Uh, and, um, and I understand you're,
you're interested in talking to
me, um, for my interest in customer
interviews and experience in doing that.
And, uh, so I've realized over the
years, customer interviews, um,
have been particularly important
to a lot of the more successful,
um, businesses I've worked on.
And I realized that, um, recently
I want to get better at that.
Morgan: And at the moment you're
saying, is you just doing the
podcast at the moment alongside
the sort of coworking space?
Jon: Uh, yeah, I mean, the
coworking spaces are very part-time
as a bit of a labor of love
to be honest, um, uh, venture.
Um, and my, my main gig is, uh,
is consulting for different, um,
relatively small SAS businesses.
So I mostly work with B2B software service
businesses that are under 1 million.
Um, at the moment, what were the
sort of the three things you've
got going on at the moment?
Um, do you conduct, or, so you
do collect any feedback from your
customers at the moment or users
or from, uh, the people that you
Jon: do consulting work for?
So, um, it's fairly informal with
members of the skiff coworking space.
Um, I tried to talk to a
couple of members every week.
Um, I kind of felt I
should probably do that.
Um, a bit more formally to, um,
the, uh, with my consulting clients.
Um, I've increasingly be doing, um,
customer interviews with their customers.
Um, uh, so I usually
conduct the interview.
Often with them on the call as well.
Um, and, um, so sort of help them
get into the practice, uh, uh, turn
around six of those, uh, I think
this year, um, need to do more.
Um, and, um, and I've done about
six of my own for a few different
things earlier in the year.
Exploring some stuff around
potential software products.
Um, oh, and actually there, I've
done another five with another
client, um, as well this year.
So I'm trying to get into the habit of
doing it quite a lot with clients, um, and
some of their customers more into it than.
Morgan: And besides user interviews,
do you do any other forms of sort of
feedback collection, whether it could
be surveys, uh, NPS, um, anything
like that or some sort of user
Jon: Intercom widget?
Yeah, I've done a lot of surveys
in a cost, um, in particular,
uh, MPS, um, based ones.
I've had a lot of good
experience with I've tried.
Do that less.
So more recently.
Um, uh, so yeah, I've, there's,
there's various first kinds of,
I think I've sent out this year.
I think surveys that I've probably
reached about three or 4,000.
People over about three different
or four different surveys.
And I've got a couple more that I'm hoping
to get out before the end of the year.
Morgan: And is there any
reason why you do those?
I actually, why you're
signed to do them as often.
So, um, I'm trying to understand,
um, what, what customers want and,
and that's some, um, I have a few
different kinds of surveys that I do.
Uh, so, um, Often I'll start with, um,
an NPS style survey and it's not, I don't
use the MPS question so much, um, now, but
I lost a question that's easy to answer.
Um, it could be a yes, no, maybe
question or it could be on some
kind of scale and then followed
that with a followup question.
Um, primarily to get the follow-up,
uh, um, And, uh, and so I can
get a, get a bit of qualitative
data on what's on their mind.
Um, what's um, about in the context of
the product, um, or business, um, that
we're talking about, uh, and see if
there are any things, um, that come out.
But, uh, and then, um, I'll either take
that and use that as a reason to talk
to them more in a customer interview.
Uh, and I, I that's my preferred
approach now is to sort of, especially
when there's a lot of customers use
a very short survey as a way to sort
of start a conversation with someone.
And then, um, see if a reply to that.
I can turn into a, uh, a customer
interviewer and I can get a lot
of a richer set of information,
um, from him or from them.
Um, and then the third approach is to
do, uh, which I've jumped to before.
Um, trying to, um, hold off on the
longer survey, not, not super long, but
maybe sort of eight to 10 questions.
Um, Trying to add a sort of quality
quantitative dimension to what
I've learned from customer survey.
Morgan: Um, what was the reason
for stopping the sort of long form
Um, it's not, it's not
that I've stopped them.
It's just that I felt I should always do
at least, um, uh, you know, reasonable
number of customer interviews,
burst, um, before jumping into.
Um, into, into surveys because
people don't like doing surveys,
don't get many responses from them.
And so the more the survey is built
to what, you know, to some things that
we've heard directly from customers.
Um, the better.
So for example, uh, I quite like having
questions, um, asking things like what's
most important, um, T um, either in terms
of your business goal with this product
or in terms of the next, um, Product, uh,
the next feature that we should work on.
Um, and ideally I'd like a list
of things that I've already heard
in using words that customers
have used in each of those lists.
And then people choose the most important
and least important from that list.
And that gives us the, um, quantitative.
Morgan: So, correct me if I'm wrong.
It's mainly using kind of the surveys
has that, um, initial, let's almost
validate, who's willing to at least
respond to a survey and then using them
as almost like a funnel to funnel down
to people where we can then say, Hey,
look, these people responded, let's try
and get them onto a, more of a customer
user interviews to get some deeper
insights from them, kind of that roughly.
Well, if the two surveys tie this
very short form survey definitely
has that approach and sort of a way,
an easy way to open a conversation,
um, with, with, with people.
Um, and in some cases, filter, um, to
people that are happy or not happy, um,
maybe say in the past one of use NPS,
um, we might specifically, uh, try and.
Um, a number of people that gave us a
10 and maybe also we decide we don't
always talk to the, the less happy
people because, um, like I've often found
it better to focus on the people that
are happy and sort of build on that.
Um, and also they're
more willing to, to talk.
Um, that's when.
Things are going relatively well
for those products, by the way.
So if, if there is some growth or if
most people are coming back as, as
positive, not focusing too much on the,
on the people that run are unhappy.
So yeah, I guess
Morgan: it's always harder to reach
out to people that don't seem very
positive about the product experience or
whatnot and asking them for more time.
Morgan: really why do you
do customer interviews then?
Um, or at least prioritize those above
all the other different feedback then.
Jon: Uh, just that the amount I learned
from a customer interview is so much
more, um, I can, uh, you know, I,
uh, I guess the, uh, go the, the name
of the, of the, of the podcast, um,
kinds of says in empathy deployed,
um, I'm trying to empathize with
people and really make sure that.
Um, where we're creating something
that fits their, um, uh, their needs.
And we've been in with their worldview
and their perspective on things, making
sure it's, um, the product for them.
If, if they're the right customer, For us.
Um, so I guess, yeah, sometimes you
might, there are customer interviews
where your, um, and it's only through
the customer interview that you
realize maybe this person isn't the
right person to be a customer as well.
Um, which doesn't always come
through in a customer survey.
Um, uh, and so if you've got that
richer, um, view of them, you can
then, uh, decide how much weight
to give, um, The their responses,
um, in, in that interview as well.
Found what's your process by the way,
for actually conducting user interviews.
And that can be sort of from know
early stage, how do we identify who to
interview through to actually conducting
it and then all the way out to the other
side of analyzing, how does that entire
Jon: look for you?
Uh, it's a, it's evolving a lot.
Um, in this year I've been
actually taking time to learn.
More about it.
Um, uh, and, um, I'm, I'm really
treating, um, Michelle Hanson's book,
uh, deploy empathy as a guide to me.
Um, and I'm trying to sort of get
good at the preface, a little, the
practices that are in there, but
obviously merging it with some of
the things, um, that, that I also do.
Um, so my.
Process is, um, uh, my, I guess let's
just take my most recent, um, uh,
larger scale, um, process of a client.
As an example, we did, um, a survey
asking, um, one multiple choice,
um, question, um, And, uh, in that
case, this was for a developer tool.
And so we asked, um,
which stack they're using.
So something really easy
that they can answer.
um, cause it's very difficult
for us to see from, from our EDS.
And it impacts a lot on
what work that we do.
So just getting that as a,
um, one data point before it
would definitely be useful.
And then follow it up,
um, with, um, question.
I can't remember exactly
what that question was.
Um, But it was something, um,
uh, like what maybe what do you
value most about the product?
Um, and we would then, and, and,
and, and a final question as well.
Is there anything else
that you'd like to say?
And so that just gives us a bit of,
um, Uh, view on customers and then we
could use that to follow up and say,
well, we want to make sure we get a
good range of people using different,
um, platforms, uh, for the, uh,
for, for some customer interviews.
Um, and because we had a little bit
of information from the survey, we
can make each email to them personal.
So then it would be a
personal email to each one.
Um, rather than any boat kind of email to
invite them to, uh, an, uh, an interview.
Um, and we also added an incentive
preemptively, um, just because we felt.
From previous knowledge of
how that audience, um, works
with that particular product.
Um, we thought it'd be quite
difficult to get that time.
Um, and developers, uh, um, you know, I
don't love getting on phone calls as well.
Um, and also develop as a
relative relative well-paid.
So we didn't think we could give them
a direct financial, uh, incentive
since these are all customers, by the
way that we're focusing on, rather
than people that have been in trouble.
And so we, um, we offered, uh, to make
a donation to a charity or cause if
they, if they choice, um, uh, and, um,
yeah, they, they, they appreciate that.
Not sure how much it helped, but it felt
good to everybody, I guess, and, and,
uh, got to support quite a wide range
of, um, different causes on the way.
Um, Uh, but yes, it will be,
get them, get them to call.
And, um, I used a script, very similar
to the, um, script and, um, deploy,
uh, empathy, um, for, uh, for, uh,
for a customer, an existing customer.
Morgan: by the way, the, uh, the
sort of incentive, the charity theme.
I really liked that.
Um, I might even try and test
that well, what's the results
like of that compared to maybe a
different incentive you used before,
Jon: or just no incentive?
Uh, I don't have data really to compare.
Um, I know that, you know, it
felt, it felt better, everyone.
Um, you know, we got some really
good feedback on doing it.
Um, and the people that we.
Uh, some of the charities that people
picked it, you know, they just had a
donation form, but some of them, we
had to approach to be able to make the
donation and they loved it as well.
So, um, uh, yeah, so it was,
it just felt much more, um, uh,
much nicer, I think, all around
compared to, to an Amazon voucher.
Um, and a couple of people we spoke
to were saying, like, usually with
these things, they get offered in
an Amazon voucher and it's like,
I don't need an Amazon voucher.
I just charged.
Books that I buy to my
company or, you know, yeah.
As soon as you said that,
I thought I caught us.
That's that's a real nice and
creative way of approaching it.
Um, just getting back to the
process you spoke all the way out
to, or kind of getting on the call.
What about afterwards in terms
of what do you do when you, or
what's your process when you've got
the, you conducted the interview?
What did you do with that
Jon: Uh, so.
Never able to take notes
during an interview.
So I always ask permission to record.
Unfortunately, every one of them
has, um, uh, been, been happy
with me to, to record, uh, and ask
permission to share that internally,
as I say, with some recent customer
interviews, the, um, my client's been
on the call at the same time, but
he wasn't able to make all of them.
And so, um, I would share it with them.
Um, I think the, I was mostly
doing those interviews via zoom.
Um, and so hitting the record button
in zoom, once they're happy for
me to hit record, and then I share
the recordings via Google drive.
Um, and the, so my process, um, then
is that I I'll always, I'm not going
to jump to any conclusions just
from that first, um, run through.
I'll always go.
Uh, and, um, and rewatch them,
uh, and I've used, um, descript,
uh, to help turn the interviews
into textual, um, documents.
Uh, and, um, yeah, now.
Write some notes, um, to, to, to
pull out some of the key things
from, from those we realized, um,
uh, with those customer interviews
that we did, we're really lucky.
We had some.
Well, you could say lucky,
maybe not lucky, but everyone
was really happy customers.
Um, there wasn't that feedback loop didn't
really exist that much for that company.
So it was wonderful to hear all the, all
the good things, but it also provided
an opportunity to, um, uh, to, to
use some of that material potentially
to create testimonials, um, so that
we could get some of their voice
onto the, onto the website as well.
Um, my mate actually, uh, uh, An error,
um, with one of the early interviews, um,
in that I went back to the interviewee
with my notes and I'd written the notes.
Uh, Pure's something that was quite
sort of case study or testimonial and my
probably more, more marketing orientate
it than, than really, um, Uh, it w it
was capturing the situation, but, um,
I think it felt a bit much for the, for
the person that they didn't want that to
be something that was in public, the way
that they had described that some of the
problems that they, they had experienced.
Uh, and so I D I didn't really.
Handle that so well, whereas the others
I've kind of asked at the end, if they'd
be happy to it, especially if it's been
a very positive interview, if they'd
be happy to, um, to have a testimonial,
especially when some of them are sort
of gushing in the interview and really
wants to say how happy they were.
Anyway, they kind of, it was very easy
for the, you know, it was obviously they
won, they would be happy to do that.
And, and, uh, and they wanted to,
and so, um, we were able to turn a
lot of those into, um, testimonials
as well as giving us, um, good
insight into things that they'd
like us to focus on, um, working on.
Morgan: I found it was quite nice.
I guess that's the upside of having
positive, positive customers.
You can spin each one into a testimonial,
I guess that's the sort of inner
entrepreneur and you're trying to look
for there and opportunities to find
Jon: some social proof.
The kits, I think, is a mistake
for me to focus too much on it.
Especially with that early one
in that, um, it kind of bias.
Like if I, if that's what I'm
trying to get, I might not hear
the things that I need to hear.
Um, some I'm sort of,
I'm conscious of that.
And especially as it could, um, You
know, have a, have a negative impact on
particularly worried about that, that
customer, um, that, that was put out by
what we came back with because it sort of
negates any benefit of listening to them.
Um, and obviously the, the main
thing that, um, you know, the most
important thing about customer
interviews is just listening to
people, not trying to, you know, get
some benefit, like a testimonial.
Out of it is trying to understand
what their perspective really is.
Um, and, uh, yeah.
And then being able to feed that
back into making the product better
for them, rather than making your
business more money by using them.
Um, it's not, you know,
everyone wants to be doing,
I guess that comes back down
to the sort of empathy thing.
As opposed to thinking about what
can I get out of the interview?
Yeah, I'm just pulling
up on the process then.
Uh, and you touched a little bit
on the, kind of, one of the pains
there, but how did you actually,
how'd you find you the entire process
for conducting use of interviews?
You know, any pains problems or, um,
you know, on the other side, is there
anything you particularly enjoy?
Jon: Uh, I, I guess I struggle with
lots of it, which is why I've started
this podcast to try and get myself
into more of a habit of doing it.
Um, it's, you know, my, uh, my
default preference isn't to talk
to people, um, to go out of my
way to talk to people, uh, a lot.
Um, I, uh, Prefer a day spent with
my heading code or that's what
I would choose, um, beforehand.
So I, you know, I had some anxiety
in the run-up to, uh, to interviews.
Um, I, you know, I, I prefer an interview
where I can the, the time between, um,
planning it and then, uh, it happening
is very short, which actually this kind
of was today, um, in terms of finding
this specific time, and I'm not sort of.
Um, so much, uh, then when it comes
into the practicalities of it, something
I've struggled with, which is maybe,
well, actually it's been a situation
with, with within two years that I've
been doing, not for podcasts, but having
audio trouble, especially because I'm
not replying, not relying on notes.
I am relying on the quality of the
audio and I've had some customers
where there's been some background
noise has been so bad that it's been
difficult for me even to listen to it.
Uh, and so yeah, getting,
getting the audio quality.
Um, uh, and then just getting, I
think practice, it's just getting
past the awkwardness of, uh, starting
the, um, The conversation, but I
tell you what, after I always, even
though it's, it's quite painful for
me to start and to, to get into it.
Um, afterwards I always
feel very good about it.
I mean, especially when it's talking to
someone, that's very happy about the tool
that they're using have not had many,
um, interviews with people that are.
Um, unhappy or angry, um,
about, about something.
Um, so, uh, you know, here, it would be
useful for me to have that experience
at some point, but on the whole, I, um,
come away quite energized from having
the conversation hearing from, um, uh,
hearing from people and hearing new.
Morgan: Yeah, I guess when speaking
to a sort of happy customers, always
quite, quite, quite pumping or
rewarding, at least coming away from,
uh, from speaking to them, I just
wanted to jump into soapstone about
a little bit more on the specifics of
the different parts of the process.
You spoke about kind of using that
survey initially to, um, sort of
almost like a feeler to see if there's
anyone out there that's kind of wanting
to answer a little survey and using
them sort of filter down and, and
approach them with the user interview.
Um, how'd you find the process of actually
finding those specific people, um, to
reach out to in terms of the survey.
Um, kind of email that she
Jon: sent out.
And the surveys, um, I've done,
uh, I've initially focused
on customer paying customers.
Um, and in the case of a client, which
hadn't thousands of customers, uh, I
think we chose a fairly random sample
of a couple of hundred to do, uh, an
initial, um, send to before going to the
whole, um, audience of customers again,
um, rather than the young customers, just
so that we could make sure there wasn't
anything really stupid, that was wrong
with the survey that we hadn't spotted.
Um, Uh, but we, um, really this,
the surveys then what would use to
segment further, even in either in
terms of the fact that they replied
a tool or, um, uh, or in terms of
what they, what they responded with.
Um, but I don't, um, I haven't
done anything specific, uh, to.
Target people for customer interviews
beyond that, um, have thought about it.
Uh, um, but often I, yeah, I mean,
there's two challenges with targeting it.
More one is I can bias it towards, you
know, the, the well-known companies, um,
that, uh, It would be really great to
get a testimonial from, and that it's,
uh, you know, then it's biasing the
interview somewhat from there because
I'm focused too much on, on that.
Um, uh, um, I've forgotten what the
other I'm aware I was going to do.
I mean, it could be based on how
long they've been customers or,
or how much, um, how much they
spent, uh, consider doing that.
But the main issue is that, uh,
the response rate isn't always that
high, um, unless their customers,
because they, these are, I should
also say, um, At difference.
If I did this with this gift going.
The coworking space.
Um, I run, it would be different, but
with the B2B SAS that I work on, which
have mostly very low touch customers,
um, uh, the response rate is quite low.
Um, anyway, uh, and so you can't be that
picky, um, when you've only got a couple
of hundred customers, uh, and you're, and
you're trying to get another customer and
three, I find it quite hard to, um, To
convince them, um, although to be fair,
we've not actually gone wide with that,
um, incentives that we tried with the.
With the smaller group.
So still landing on that.
Morgan: I presume that's kind of this
survey sent out via email or was it in,
Jon: in software?
Oh, that's email, email.
Morgan: And really.
How much time I'm going to guess.
It might be quite difficult for
you, especially from the consulting
side of things, because I guess
you have consulting for a company.
Um, but you might know, I mean, how
much time and sort of money maybe on
a weekly or monthly basis, are you
or the companies themselves putting
into getting feedback from customers?
Um, you know, that could
be all feedback methods.
Um, user interviews, NPS surveys.
Jon: Um, some of the smaller customers I
work with, although we try to get into a
habit of doing it, it's, it's probably a
quarterly, um, exercise on the best case,
um, rather than an ongoing, um, Process.
There is no exception to that, which
I'm mentioning a minute, but with the
people that, um, where we're looking
at doing this quarterly, um, just
because we've got where we're sort
of being generous and doing lots of
different things, um, So we might send
out a survey and then have a try and
have a week or two of, uh, interviews.
Um, I guess the cost there is to
combination of the incentives and,
um, my time and that, um, eclipses
any other costs, like having software
and things that we're using that
might be 50 or a hundred dollars.
Um, Uh, that we pay for.
Um, but, um, uh, we probably spent
over a thousand dollars on incentives
last time and, uh, a multiple of my
time, um, on that, especially when, uh,
uh, you know, it's probably about 50%
of my attention when we're doing it.
Um, Uh, 50% of my
attention with that client.
So it might be up to a
week of my time solidly,
Morgan: sorry, for both of your time
and for the sort of thousand pounds
worth of incentives per quarter,
Jon: you'd say, uh, yeah, I mean,
we, we could probably, it depends
how we adjust the incentives.
We went quite high.
This was $100.
Or a hundred pounds incentive.
I think we went probably pounds for people
in the UK, um, mix of us, UK and Europe.
Um, and, uh, yeah, but the,
the incentive was probably,
um, you know, 20% of the costs.
Morgan: and then the time you said that's
a sort of a week's worth of your time per
quarter for that one specific customer.
Is that, is that correct?
Jon: Yeah, I reckon that's
probably about right solid week.
Obviously it would be spread.
Um, and really just wanted to
actually take it back a little bit.
Um, sort of go a bit more fundamental.
We dived a lot into sort of a
user interview specifically.
Um, but it'd be great to understand that.
Kind of what your biggest problems
at the moment with actually providing
that consultancy service to those
companies, anything that jumps to
mind about kind of the process that
you carry out with them, or just the
general work that you do with them?
Jon: Um, they're all different.
Um, uh, I guess one challenge
is some of those companies have.
Send regular emails or they'll
have phases where they're doing an
email campaign over a few weeks.
And when that's the case,
it's a challenge to.
Uh, do a survey and do a series of
customer interviews, um, in that
same window of time, um, because
they don't want to overwhelm
customers with, um, with emails.
And I don't want to send different
emails with different messages
from the same, same company at
the same, same time as well.
So, uh, that can be.
I checked that can just then
put things back by a month.
And so we don't get around to doing
it when we initially wanted to do it.
Um, I can be a challenge.
Uh, and I guess, um, Yeah, it would
be, it would be neat to have it
all a bit more, um, on autopilot.
Like, I, I like the idea of there always
being customer interview scheduled every
week and they just happen and it's as
a, as an ongoing process rather than
being, um, something that ends up getting
bunched up into a quarterly thing.
And, um, you know, we started to
look at some ideas for, for getting
that into place, but it's just.
Changing habits really,
to, to make that happen.
Um, and what,
Morgan: what did you look into after
Um, uh, I guess when I say look into,
I mean, more think about and talk
and say, should we do it this way?
Um, Uh, and, um, yeah, again, it's
different, whether there's a discipline
of sending regular emails, um, to
customers anyway, or, or asking them,
um, uh, questions, um, if there's no
habit of that, that, that already exists
or no process for doing that, then, um,
yeah, it's working out how that fits in.
That you know, is, uh, as a, as a sort
of project, but, um, there've always
been more urgent and important things.
I think that we've ended
up working on instead.
Morgan: uh, and the sort of, I mean,
you've pretty much just said it, that
what's the reason as to why you're
not doing it on a consistent basis
and are doing it on a quarterly basis.
Jon: Um, Uh, I guess actually the
prudent way to think about it is
it, like we know that doing customer
interviews and serving customers is
good for the company in the long-term.
And we learned from, from a little
bit from each one, um, but it
doesn't solve an immediate pain.
Um, and so, uh, Yeah.
So it's, uh, it's difficult to,
to justify doing it every week.
And it's why I've not got into
the habit of doing it myself.
It's like something I know I should
be doing is like a vitamin, I guess,
but it doesn't solve an immediate
pain for me now, but it might solve
a pain for me in six months if I've
been doing it for the last six months.
Um, so, um, so it's probably
that we think about it like that.
Morgan: how about in terms of sort
of time and energy and resources,
does that play a factor in it at all?
Jon: Yeah, I think, um, it's,
uh, it's a project, not a task.
Um, uh, and, and so there's
because there's lots of
different things, uh, to do.
Um, and, uh, there are
always many things to do.
It's just, it's just difficult
to, um, to prioritize it.
Uh, uh, because it's not, it doesn't
feel like it's a simple thing.
Um, I guess actually, probably going
back to one of your earlier questions,
um, a challenge in figuring out what
the simplest next task is is, is just,
you know, maybe if it was, if there was
a list of people and I knew the next
person that I was just going to send
an email to another task, and there was
a good reason for it being that person
that might take, um, Make it make it
easier, um, in some way, because there
isn't, you know, oh, we've got to send
an email to everybody and make sure that
fits within any other communications,
which is, which are going out.
Um, and, uh, yeah, whereas if
it's just a single email to one
person, it doesn't maybe feel like
it's bigger, a bigger job to do.
That's everything for me that was
really, really useful insight.
Jon: No problem.
Happy to help.
Morgan: Did you have any questions
yourself by the way, just out of any
of those, if you wanted to share,
Jon: uh, I'm curious about
where, how you've come around
to exploring this, um, Area.
Um, I have you, have you conducted
many customer interviews in the past?
Have you worked in this field?
Morgan: yeah, I mean, I have to share sort
of how almost the, how I got here, um,
which I guess is, uh, somewhat of a story.
Um, actually myself and my co-founder
at the moment who is also my
co-founder and our previous business.
Um, we may be waiting.
Way too long to conduct user
interviews, maybe at least
six months into the business.
And we felt like the problem
was already validated.
We'd already our paying customers
consistently getting revenue.
So although there wasn't really a problem.
Um, we still didn't conduct
user interviews probably
because we found a bit daunting.
We don't want to, um, uh, you know,
reach out to customers, annoyed
them, whatever, when we're trying to
build good relationships with them.
Um, and then as soon as we did them,
we got so much value from them.
Whether we were like, oh my God,
we should have done these sooner.
But the only problem was when
we, when we did go to them and
they were incredibly sort of.
The process was still daunting.
Um, but it was still an incredibly
time intensive energy intensive,
uh, complex of a process.
Um, uh, you know, you can, for the
amount of time you put in, especially
as a founder, like when, like you
said, you know, There's only a few of
you, you're trying to do dev marketing
design, uh, all these other things.
Um, it seems as though customer
interviews just, aren't one
of those top tier priorities.
Um, and so you're trying to do everything.
And so it really just is one
of those things you just put on
the back burner for a long time.
Um, and we sort of just did
the classic, you know, right.
Let's just walk up some sort of
feedback board and people can drop
their feedback in, and we're getting
loads of feature requests, but
we knew what we needed to build.
Um, cause we were sort
of our own customers.
Um, we didn't and we were getting
loads of feature requests.
We, we kind of knew.
Okay, well, we didn't know why
we didn't know the why behind.
We didn't under fully understand,
um, our problem, our customers,
or their processes, what they
did each day, why they did it,
why they did the things they did.
Um, we were just getting sort of
very high level feature requests.
And I think six months in, after
using the feedback where we kind of
realize like, yeah, we're now we do
need to do these customer interviews.
Um, and we found them incredibly valuable,
but they were very time consuming.
And so sort of fast forward to today.
Um, we sell a business maybe,
uh, back in late, late July.
And so we're sort of had a
little break, which is nice.
And then we're kind of coming back.
Let's start off with a, sort of
a new business idea together.
And then we kind of went back through
our experience of our previous business
and that's when we kind of uncovered,
Hey, that we felt like this, this
process could be improved the whole.
Uh, customer user into process could
be, is there a, could we, could you add
a spit on it that makes it maybe less
time consuming, a little bit easier?
Uh, I think the, the, the trend that
we found at the moment and actually
it's really, it was really interesting.
You said the same word,
which is also part of it.
So I think that's kind of where
we're, we're exploring at the
moment or the researchers sort
of pointing us in the direction.
User interviews on autopilot potentially.
Um, so yeah, at the moment it's, it's
looking, we're looking towards, um, sort
of, is there a way to create a solution
where you can get the same quality
feedback that you can get on use renters?
Like you mentioned, you know, you
get some real good insights, um,
nothing quite can compare to it.
Um, but in terms of the actual input,
the amount of effort you have to put in,
is there a way you can make that easier?
Um, without sacrificing on the output,
the quality of the insights she gets.
So, yeah, that's pretty.
I think, yeah, you reminded me of,
um, like an experience of, uh, a past
client that I went and then, uh, and
then worked or work with for awhile.
Um, most successful SAS business.
Um, we had some paying customers, um,
for the first product that we built.
Um, and this is why I know the value
of customer interviews, uh, so much it
wasn't until we went, uh, we were finding
it, frustrating that people weren't
using it even after we were selling it.
Uh, and it was difficult to sell and
it was difficult as onboarding was
difficult, what was difficult about it?
And it was, um, going and talking
to the actual end users rather than
the people that we were selling.
And understanding their process is the
key to realizing that actually it was
one feature that they really loved,
but it was the end of the process
that we'd created for them to, um, to
complete because it's like a CRM tool.
So they had to be using it as
a CRM to get this report out.
But all they wanted was the report.
Um, other, the, the report was the
thing that was most painful for them
to create, and they didn't want to
change their process to use some CRM.
And so I'm pulling that one feature
out, turned into the, um, the highly
profitable, um, easy to, to, to,
to sell as a self service SAS that
we were hoping to create all along.
Um, but yeah, it was a series of,
um, Yeah, they were relatively
informal discussions and I think we
might have learned faster, um, and
understood things better if we'd
had a process of, um, more formal
customer interviews, um, earlier on.
I mean, it's interesting how Lisa had
kind of one interview with the right
person can make a whole of a difference as
opposed to, like I said, I imagine you're
probably, they're probably selling the
contract is probably with some accounts
billing person when actually your IBM user
has a completely different perspective
on it, but it's just, it's hard.
It's hard to know that that's the end
user when you're just talking through
maybe email or like surveys, for example.
So yeah, I was definitely
on the winner, so, yeah.
Really appreciate this.
Jon: Thank you, Morgan.
Um, for, uh, yeah, especially for
agreeing to, um, to interview me,
um, for my podcast and, um, and give
us another, another take on customer
interviews about customer interviews.
Um, so hopefully that's been
really useful for, for everyone.
Is there any way, um, people listening
can find out more about you, um, or what.
Um, yeah, I
Morgan: mean, I mean, I would say some
form of social media, but I'm never on it
and I don't, I don't know why, so yeah.
I mean, to be honest, that
probably isn't the best place you
could search me up on LinkedIn.
That's probably, that's
probably the best way.
All other social media forms.
Um, I'm pretty useless.
And I guess the business is in such
early phase that we don't really
have a, uh, a full-fledged solution
with the thing we're currently
working on is I guess, called use.
So if you want it to visit the
website, to check out this sort of
a landing page of what the solution
could potentially be like, uh, yeah.
That's probably where you'll find
us in our contact details, but, uh,
yeah, we're still validating it so
early days that might not be the, the
end product on a minor even exist.
Jon: We'll see.
So used haste, uh, use haste.io, um, and,
um, Morgan Williams, uh, on LinkedIn.
Um, Have you find your mouth, I'll get
those linked in the show notes for this
episode, a question I ask actually on
I'm dropping this on you as a surprise,
but hopefully you've got some off the top
of your head at the end of each podcast.
I'd be interested to hear from you
is three tools, um, software tools
that, um, you find yourself using, um,
or, uh, and, um, and maybe we would
recommend some of the, uh, the anything
you're paying for at the moment.
Um, the very early stages either.
Let's think, um, I guess the number
one for me, both paths on business and
notion, I don't know what to ask about it.
It's just, yeah, it's hard to explain.
It's just got a bit of everything.
Super easy to use.
Um, I guess.
I'm massively into design as well.
Sometimes a downside when we're spending
weeks on design, when we should just
be whipping up a quick landing page,
but a tool we use for that is Figma.
Real big fan of that.
Uh, yeah, it changes the game in terms of.
Comparing it to like Photoshop.
It just changes the game.
Um, and actually one thing I
use recently is Calendly, uh,
actually for these user interviews.
And it just seems like one of
those problems that has probably
existed for maybe 20 years.
And I feel like Canada is a fairly newish
kind of tool, um, which is just nuts.
So whether technology has changed
and allowed them to build that
easily or just no one, no one
built something that seems so.
Uh, but yeah, that's, uh, there
probably three tools I use
the most or in cannabis cases,
Jon: a new one that I'm enjoying.
So that's a notion Figma and candidly.
That's the one.
It's been really good.
Morgan: Yeah, no worries.
Thank you very much.
Jon: That was hopefully a useful
example of a customer interview.
You can find notes from this episode,
including links to all the products
mentioned at empathy, deployed.com.
If you know anyone who might benefit
from hearing this perspective,
please share the episode.
And word of caution.
This interview is a snapshot of
just one person's perspective
in an artificial situation.
You should be very careful about
drawing any conclusions about
the guest people like them or the
product from this single data point.
Customer interviews are most valuable
when you see parallels across, many
of them will be in a specific context.
I'd suggest a minimum of
five and ideally 12 to 15.
I recommend the book, deploy
empathy by Michelle Hanson for a
practical guide on how to do it.
Well, if you'd like to join
me as a guest on a future
episode, please send me a note.
I'm jumped on Twitter.
That's J O T.
My DMS are open.
You can also use the form at
empathy, deployed.com or email.
Hello at empathy deployed.
Please include the names and
addresses of free software products
you use regularly and or pay for.
Get an email when new episodes are posted.
Improve your customer interview technique every week.