When it comes to crafting and developing your brand or adding impactful content to your website, knowing what your customers are thinking and doing is invaluable. The best way to gather this type of information is to ask your customers for feedback about their daily lives. This requires setting up confidential and timely interviews with your current and potential customers. To make the most of these discussions and the information that is given, here are five steps to take to prepare for customer buyer persona interviews.
Step 1: Plan for the Interview Format and Setting
Ideally, you will want a multi-departmental team working to prepare for these interviews. This provides a variety of viewpoints that will allow you to understand your customer’s persona and unique traits better. Furthermore, this team should design a specific and documented process for how to conduct the interviews. When planning, no detail is too small or unimportant. Scripting, seating, customer comfort, interviewer selection, and general environment all matter.
Step 2: Decide who Exactly to Interview
You could interview all of your customers, but that would end up being costly, inefficient, and overwhelming. The primary target categories should be new customers, repeat customers, “trouble” customers, and customers from specific referral sources. Within each of these categories, you will want to find customers that are from different demographics and target audiences. This will result in a useful dataset of varying customer viewpoints for your final results.
Step 3: Prepare the Questions and Dialogue
As part of the planning process, your interview team should develop a script of topics and questions. Most importantly, this interview should feel like a conversation rather than an interrogation. It’s best to create a number of open-ended questions aimed at understanding the customer’s thinking and behavior. Simultaneously, your interviewers should be prepared to direct the conversation away from unnecessary, overly personal, or potentially offensive topics and back onto the intended content.
Step 4: Train your Interviewers to Set the Tone
The interviewers also need to set the tone of the interview meetings. A professional demeanor should be used to put the customer at ease. Many customers want clear answers for what will be done with their information. Your interviewers should be able to inform them that the information gathered will not be sold or given to third parties, that the information will be confidential and de-identified, and that they will not be subjected to additional sales calls or contacts from either your company or any others.
Step 5: Accurate Record Keeping for Analysis
After the interviews, there will be lots of information to review. It will be impossible for any one person or even a small team to gather and review all the data themselves. Knowing that multiple people will need to review the data, you should be clear on your plan for record keeping. You might consider having interviews documented with audio recording. This would allow for the greatest accuracy of information. Paper documents and transcripts should be kept organized in files and analyzed in a non-biased fashion.
Customer buyer persona interviews offer a valuable opportunity to collect fundamental data for your marketing. Be sure to make the best of this opportunity with careful planning, skillful questioning, and accurate record keeping to direct an even more relevant and targeted marketing approach.