During market research & analysis
Right after pilot or soft launch
Part of run and growth phase
To analyze need of new features
When known, keep the interview... Precise, can be detailed, recurring.
When stranger, keep the interview... Brief, can cover more topics, one time.
When you create a product or launch new features. "What" - what do you want to build, what new features do you want to create, what checks do you want to add, what thoughts should come from your site based on market research, how do you want to implement this site, should be focused in the interview.
Catch the thoughts of users, and then you can decide how you will implement this or that feature. The conversation partner should focus on learning how your products and features work.
What motivates your customer to use the product!
Does product support their JTBD (Jobs To Be Done)?
Dive into their Problems and Struggling moments
Find out how same functionalities are used differently
Learn customer's habits (watch their action/usage)
Any buying barriers? (budget, current product etc.)
Any usage barriers due to seasonality factor?
How many customers you should interview?
Generally, 5 to 6 customers in each category and/or persona
No more than 10, or it will most probably fetch repetitive outcome
It helps to stay focused on desired outcome and driving interviews efficiently
It will also help to uncover specific usage patterns and trends, if exist.
Start with easy, fact-based questions
Keep it casual and relaxed
Make it face to face (or video call)
Include some broader questions
Show genuine interest in what customer explains (his/her point of view)
Ask probing questions, to fetch better insights for the topic.
Building rapport with customer in advance always helps
Practice effective listening, to isolate the noise during conversation
Focus on questions that help you to validate your understanding of problem statement
Cross check your understanding, to be on same page (reflective listening).
No Presentations or Product demos
Don't ask Leading Questions
No WHY, or it triggers rational mind
Don't keep asking lot of questions
Control strong reactions to response
Don't reflect negativity in your tone
Don't be defensive for negative responses from customer
Nirav Patel, Microsoft Product Lead