Want to talk to users more often? You don’t need a specific research study to get in the habit. Our continuous interview launch kit will get you ready to talk to users regularly so you can build your team’s research muscle.
If you're ready to get started, you can launch your continuous interview study right now. Using our Research Hub Free Forever Plan, you can get started building a research panel for your continuous interviews.
Continuous interviews are interviews you do, continuously. While that may sound like a daunting task, setting aside a chunk of time each week to connect with users is as easy as scheduling any other meeting. The goal of continuous interviewing is to keep you in touch with the people that matter most, your users. Whether it’s fifteen minutes once a week or an hour every other week, continuous interviewing is more about the frequent practice of touching base with users, so you can tailor it to your schedule.
Teresa Torres, who teaches a course on continuous interviewing, illustrated a great way of approaching your continuous interview practice:
I think the place I would start is with the frequency. Can you just talk to a customer every week? What you talk to them about obviously matters. But what I have seen is that when teams talk to customers more often, even if they do everything wrong, they get exposed to how often they're surprised, and how often they misunderstand something, and how often what they're building isn't going to work. And I think that's the value of continuous interviewing, is really just being reminded on a regular basis that our customers will always know their world better than we possibly could.
The thing continuous interviews will help you and your team with most is staying grounded in the customer’s point of view instead of your own. This launch kit will help make the process faster and easier, so all you’ll need to do on the day of the interview is show up.
Yes and no. Continuous interviews are especially important for people who may not have regular research contact with users, but may not be as impactful for team members who spend all day every day doing research. They can also be used to keep teams in touch with users in between research projects.
How you use continuous interviews will depend on your team’s research cadence. We talked to Teresa Torres, founder of Product Talk, who teaches an entire course on continuous interviewing. Here’s what she said about setting up a good cadence for your continuous interviews:
I use the benchmark of interview a customer at least once a week. I think, but I really do also encourage a continuous mindset about this. If you're interviewing once a quarter, maybe focus on getting to once a month. If you're interviewing once a month, maybe try to do every other week. And even if you're interviewing every week, I would even push to: Can you interview a couple times a week? The metric that I like to look at from an interviewing standpoint is: Can you reduce the cycle time between interviews?
Continuous interviews don’t have to be very long. For starters, this launch kit suggests you block off one 30 minute session a week, but you can make them as long or as short as you like. Continuous interviews are all about building the habit, so choose a length of time you can realistically keep up with.
For continuous interviews, you’ll want to talk to your users. Getting consistent feedback from people who actually use your product will help you keep you thinking about what the customer may want or need, and how that works with your roadmap, not the other way around.
To help you find customers to interview, we’ve created this guide to building opt-in forms. Combined with our Research Hub Free Forever plan, it will help you build a panel of your users you can return to again and again. Research Hub will keep everything organized, like when users last participated in a study, and your opt-in form will keep users signing up without you having to constantly seek them out.
In continuous interviews, the playbook is pretty loose. We’ve provided a list of questions to get you started in our template, but you can ask whatever questions feel right to you. Nail down a few you want to ask in each session and let the conversation flow from there. You’ll learn something new from each person you talk to, so go into each interview with an open mind!
We’ve included a handy note taking template to help you with that. It’s helpful to have a note taker in the session with you, so you can focus on what the user is saying during your interview. Note takers can be anyone on your team. It’s a great way to get lots of different people involved with the practice of talking to customers regularly and doesn’t take a lot of effort.
To get note takers for our continuous interviewing process, we use a Zap to send a Slack message with the session time to a research-specific channel. Once the session’s in Slack, our team can reply if they want to take notes for that session, and voila! This is the process we’ve found works best for our team, but there are tons of different ways to do it.
The feedback you get from continuous interviewing may be a bit more scattered than feedback from other, more focused research. So our analysis template will help keep track of the notes you take during sessions and scan through them quickly to find emerging themes. These themes can help influence more focused research, or serve to add color to your existing roadmap.