If you build a product based on your customer’s ideal self, you might get the initial sale, but you’ll struggle to engage them, and you’ll churn through customer after customer
we tend to respond to questions about our behavior based on our ideal view of ourselves.
And second, our brains are exceptionally good at creating coherent (but not necessarily true) stories that deceive us. This second factor can be harder to accept. Many of us pride ourselves on being logical, rational beings. How can it be that our brains regularly deceive us with coherent stories that simply aren’t true?
you won’t know if they are telling you about their ideal behavior or their actual behavior
don’t let your customer generalize
Her first response tells me how she thinks she buys a pair of jeans. Her second response tells me how she actually buys a pair of jeans.
The Gap Between What You Think You Do And What You Actually Do
Your Brain Excels at Deceiving You
interviewing can be an effective way to develop a deeper understanding of your customer’s world
You can’t simply ask your customers about their behavior and expect to get an accurate answer. Most will obligingly give you what sounds like a reasonable answer.
we asked the wrong questions. We built a product based on a coherent story told by both the thought leaders in our space and by our customers themselves. But it wasn’t a story that was true in reality.
How to Ask Better Customer Interview Questions
Too often, we ask direct questions
encourage them to tell you another story of a specific instance. You’ll get more reliable information
You want to learn what factors they consider when buying
But you can’t trust the answers to these direct questions.
Instead, you need to ask about specific instances of actual behavior to indirectly get at what you are trying to learn.
I want to uncover what you are actually doing, not what you hope to do. And the same is true for you and your interviews.
We need to reconcile the present with the past and when information is missing, our brains simply fill in any details that make the story coherent.
If you want to build a successful product, you need to understand your customer’s actual behavior—their reality—not the story they tell themselves.
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