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Your Complete Customer Interview Checklist

Use this checklist to plan, field, analyze, and report your next customer interview.

Flexible, accessible, and always insightful, moderated user research methods, such as in-depth interviews (IDIs), are in most innovative teams’ toolkits. After all, talking with customers is rarely a bad idea and most voice of the customer (VoC) programs involve, you know, the actual voice of users!

User Interviews—as our name suggests—has been thinking, researching, and writing about the value of customer interview methods for years. It’s why we became a company! Without interviews, we think it’s nearly impossible to learn the “Why?” behind a pain point or trend.

The checklist below summarizes and organizes some of our best work on this topic—and each item in the checklist includes a companion article, report, or resource. So whether you are card-carrying researcher looking for a new approach or scheduling your first customer interview next week, you’ll find something here.

The checklist covers every major step in the customer interview process:

  1. Planning—interview design, question selection, and recruitment consideration
  2. Fielding—scheduling interviews, moderating, and remote/accessibility matter
  3. Analyzing—qualitative data management, insight distillation, and synthesis
  4. Reporting—templates, summarization strategies, and steps for repeatability

(And if you’d like a deeper dive into any these steps, be sure to check out this guide.)

Planning the interview

Before jumping into conversations—whether with your users or prospects—follow these steps to set yourself up for success when it’s time to make sense of the data and share recommendations.

    ☑️ Confirm the time is right for conducting research

    ☑️ Create a plan for your interviews, including,

        1. Recruitment strategy

        2. Sample size goals/needs

        3. Compensation expectations

    ☑️ Select the type of interview (or focus group)

    ☑️ Generate draft interview guide or script

    ☑️ Reflect on the impact of potential bias

Fielding the interview

With a plan in place and questions drafted, it’s time to move toward the operations and fielding phase. Regardless of which tools you use during this phase, follow these steps to maximize the time with customers.

    ☑️ Take steps to reduce participant fatigue and no-shows

    ☑️ Draft clear and compelling invitation messages

    ☑️ Identify and confirm a reliable session note taker

    ☑️ If interviews are conducted remotely,

        1. Choose the best tool for the job

        2. Address relevant access needs

        3. Plan for using recordings and transcripts

Analyzing the interview

Now it’s time to move onto analysis and synthesis. You'll want to create a plan to make the most of your open-ended, unstructured data (such as transcripts or notes from interviews) as well as your timeline.

    ☑️ Keep in mind best practices around open-ended data

    ☑️ Craft user stories based on the sessions

    ☑️ Reflect on you might bias the results

    ☑️ Prepare for managing critical feedback

Reporting the interview

Finally, it’s time to translate your synthesis into deliverables: reports, bite-sized shareouts, decks…whatever your stakeholders need to make a decision based on your work. Taking the time to craft outputs that clearly restate the goals, methods, and outcomes of each project goes a long way toward creating a flywheel whereby stakeholders crave useful research insights.

    ☑️ Remind yourself of what goes into a UX report

    ☑️ Decide on a report structure for the insights

    ☑️ Note repeatable steps for future projects

Need a fast and reliable way to recruit customers for your interviews?

User Interviews is trusted by hundreds of teams to source trustworthy participants—both enterprise and consumer—for their research. With powerful targeting, customizable screening, and project support, you’ll spend less time searching for customers and more time learning from them.

Get started today.

Ben Wiedmaier
Senior Content Marketing Manager
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