Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Customer Discovery Experiments

If you’re having difficulty figuring out (1) who to interview (2) how to find these customers (3) what to ask and (4) how to understand the results, keep reading.

This module will dramatically improve your customer identification, locating, and surveying. In addition to learning how to get the most out of your interactions and avoid common pitfalls.

(1) Who to interview
Start with the SPA Treatment exercise here.

The video below explains the SPA Treatment exercise (link to video here)
Video length: 7:24

(2) How to find customers
Finding customers to interview can be difficult. Here are some suggestions for both B2B and B2C products that are explained in greater detail in the video below:

B2B: Webinars
B2C: Mechanical Turk
Bonus: How you can use mTurk to interview 100 customers in 4 hours
(Link to video here) – Video length: 7:37

(3) What to ask
Below is a useful outline for your customer discovery interviews.

Tell me a story about the last time ________ (problem encountered).
Example: “Tell me a story about the last time you looked for a job.”
What was hardest?
Why was that hard?
How did you solve this problem? / How do you solve this problem now?
Why is the solution you tried not ideal?
Try to get through this process three times in each customer interview. You’ll likely learn something new in each iteration.
Example: “Tell me another story about a time when you were looking for a job.”
Remember the 5 Whys. Asking “why” once results in a superficial answer. By the time we get to the fifth “why”, we’ve uncovered something useful – the core motivation of what the customer is trying to solve and why.
Bonus: take notes of the emotions your customer expresses in the interview, such as frustration, anger, grief, guilt, happiness, etc. This is how you’re going to connect with your customers.

(4) Analyze results from customer interviews
Conduct enough interviews until you can trust the data and spot patterns.

Use Post-it Notes to summarize notes from each interview – use a different color Post-it Note for each interview. After each interview, you’ll start to be able to group together similar notes (problems, emotions, etc.) and therefore (in)validate assumptions and draw conclusions.

Don’t have a bunch of Post-it Notes lying around? No problem! You can use a virtual whiteboard tool like Miro for free.

Additional Resources:
Steve Blank: Steve Blank’s Customer Discovery Checklist

Strategyzer: Conducting Interviews That Deliver Relevant Customer Insights

Techstars: Understand Your Customers (9 minutes)

Thinking about problem solving through customer validation.

Think Growth: How Startups Should Do Customer Discovery by Steve Blank

Lean Stack: Customer Forces Canvas

Sandler’s Pain Funnel

Sandler’s Pain Funnel: Getting Beneath the Surface

The Sandler Pain Funnel

Sandler Selling: The 3 Levels of Pain