Watch target customers react to your new ideas—before you've made the expensive commitment to launch them.
Here’s how Friday works. One person from your team acts as
. He’ll interview five of your target customers, one at a time. He’ll let each of them try to complete a task with the prototype and ask a few questions to understand what they’re thinking as they interact with it.
Meanwhile, in another room, the rest of the team will watch a video stream of the interview and
These interviews are easy to do. They don’t require special expertise or equipment. You won’t need a behavioral psychologist or a laser-eye-tracker—just a friendly demeanor, a sense of curiosity, and a willingness to have your assumptions proven wrong.
This structured conversation helps the customer get comfortable, establishes some background, and ensures that the entire prototype is reviewed. Here’s how it goes:
Friendly welcome. Welcome the customer and put him or her at ease. Explain that you’re looking for candid feedback. (p. 204)
Context questions. Start with easy small talk, then transition to questions about the topic you’re trying to learn about. (p. 205)
Introduce the prototype. Remind the customer that some things might not work, and that you’re not testing him or her. Ask the customer to think aloud. (p. 206)
Tasks and nudges. Watch the customer figure out the prototype on his or her own. Start with a simple nudge. Ask follow-up questions to help the customer think aloud. (p. 208)
Debrief. Ask questions that prompt the customer to summarize. Then thank the customer, give him or her a gift card, and show the customer out. (p. 209)
Start the interviews!
When you’re ready, sit down with the first customer and begin the interviews.
meets 1-on-1 with the customers, watch the interviews and
together as a team. This includes the entire sprint team (except the
Interview tips & FAQ
Be a good host. Throughout the interview, keep the customer’s comfort in mind. Use body language to make yourself friendlier. Smile! (p. 212)
Ask open-ended questions. Ask “Who/What/Where/When/Why/How?” questions. Don’t ask leading “yes/no” or multiple-choice questions. (p. 212)
Ask broken questions. Allow your speech to trail off before you finish a question. Silence encourages the customer to talk without creating any bias. (p. 214)
Curiosity mindset. Be authentically fascinated by your customer’s reactions and thoughts. (p. 215)
Friday’s action takes place in two rooms. In the sprint room, the team watches the interviews over live video. The interview itself takes place in another, smaller room—which we cleverly call the “interview room.”
If you’re running a remote sprint, you can conduct your customer interviews over video chat instead of in-person—but you’ll need a few modifications. When writing
, we talked to GV’s Michael Margolis, who has run hundreds of interviews over video, to find out how to make it work. Here’s what we learned:
“You’ll need to work extra hard to engage your customer, put her at ease, and encourage her to think aloud. And the technology presents another challenge. You don’t want to waste valuable time getting your video-conference software up and running, so practice ahead of time and send your customers a detailed how-to guide for connecting.” (page 256)
Here are some tips for putting Michael’s advice into action:
Send a how-to guide. Don’t assume your interviewee has used GoToMeeting (or whatever software you’re using) before. Give them simple step-by-step instructions.
Sign documents in advance. Remote interviews still require signed NDAs. We recommend using
to get participants to e-sign beforehand, which gives them time to review the documents and also saves precious interview time.
Be extra friendly. Video drains about half the energy from a conversation, so you’ll have to project more energy in your interviews. You don’t need stage makeup and a clown’s demeanor—just be extra attentive, and give lots of verbal and non-verbal clues that you’re listening. Also consider an extra half cup of coffee in the morning.
“Genuinely greet the user with excitement and warmth, as opposed to taking a formal, procedural tone. We say things like ‘Are you comfortable? Do you need anything before we start? Anything to drink? Take your time, I wish I could offer you something!’” —
Hide your team. Having the full team visible in the room can be intimidating. Make sure your teammates turn off their video. Ideally, find a way to hide or minimize them in the video call with your customer.
Tech failure FAQ
Here’s AJ&Smart’s troubleshooting cheat sheet (thanks to
Customer’s webcam doesn’t work or they don't want to share video
Tell them it's okay. Don’t worry about it. It’s not a must-have.
Customer’s mic doesn’t work
Help them troubleshoot (be prepared to tell them where to click in your conferencing tool and Mac/PC settings). Be prepared to call them on their cell and use that for audio. (Tip: have some Skype credit to call internationally, have Skype Call Recorder installed to record the call)
Customer’s screen sharing doesn’t work
Guide them to where they should click. Be prepared to guide them on exactly on how to do it (e.g. "Now click Add to Chrome. Do you have it? Cool, you can close that and go back to the video call and try clicking the screen sharing button again...")
Customer’s computer is too slow to load the prototype or screen share
Have the prototype open and your machine and be prepared to share your screen and demo from your side instead. Ask them where they would want to click next and do the clicking for them.
Customer joins on mobile but you need them on desktop (even though you told them several times before)
Ask them if they can switch to a computer or get to one relatively soon. Be prepared to let them go and call a backup tester instead (and obviously have backup testers, see below…)
Expect people not to show up and have backups.
Try to mitigate this by sending people reminders (and remind them there's a human on the other end who will be in trouble if they don't show up without prior notice!)
Expect your main recording tool to fail (sometimes silently!)