You’ve Interviewed Customers. Now what?

One of the challenges of interviewing customers, is analyzing the results. I’m typically left with a pile of terse notes, and a handful of questions:
  • What were the most common pains?
  • If my assumption was invalidated, what do I do next?
  • Were there any major themes that I missed?

My solution? Post-It Notes. Video walk-through below.


The Lean Startup Conference recently asked me to run a workshop on the Science of Pricing. As I started to write the workshop’s description I realized I knew what I wanted to teach, but had no clue what entrepreneurs wanted to learn.

So I got out of the building and I interviewed a handful of founders about the difficulties they had pricing their products.

Here’s how I use Post Its to organize the mess of interview results:

Step 1: Find the Nuggets

Customer Interview Notes

The first thing I do is go through my notes and bold the salient points.

Step 2: Create One Post It per Nugget

Then I wrote up an (online) Post It note for each of the nuggets in one of my interviews.

Then I write up an (online) Post It note for each of the nuggets in one of my interviews.

Step 3: Repeat, with a Different Color


Then I repeat the process for another interview using different colored Post Its (you’ll see why later).  This is why I use electronic Post Its – I don’t have enough real-life Post It note colors.

Step 4: Group Notes as you Go


As I create the Post Its, I group common themes together.

Step 5: Keep Only Groups of Post Its


Once I’m finished creating the Post Its, I usually have quite a mess. To clean that up, I get rid of any Post It that was only mentioned by one customer and keep everything that was mentioned twice+.

Step 6: Sort by Popularity


Next I prioritize the groups of Post Its based on how many customers mentioned those concepts. This is where the different colored Post Its come in handy.

Step 7: Harvest your Learnings


Finally, I create a summary with the core concepts and screen shots of the Post Its. Now I have an easy to read report of the findings, in order of importance, complete with real customer quotes!

This is the shit. What's comes after interviewing customers? A Post It cloud to sort the signal from the noise.If you create one of these, whenever you have a question about what problem you’re solving, “features” you should add to solve it, order to do things in, etc., you can turn to this report and instantly recall your customer’s needs. Bonus: you can easily share it with team members, advisers and potential investors.

For me, all that was left, was to combine what I learned into a description.

What’s Next?

Want help understanding your interviews? Schedule a 1-on-1 mentoring call.

This is Part 5 of our series of on Interviewing Customers:

  1. Which Customers Should you Interview (The SPA Treatment)
  2. How to Find Customers to Interview
  3. Getting Customer Interviews with Cold Emails
  4. How I Interview Customers
  5. You’ve Interviewed Customers. Now what?

First time to Customer Development Labs?

Check out our most popular experiments:

  1. Interviewing 100 customers in 4 hours with MTurk
  2. Testing your Domain Name
  3. Crowdtesting: How many $’s is your idea worth?
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One comment

  1. Gab Goldenberg (@GabGoldenberg)

    hey Justin,

    I was left with this question after doing about two rounds of interviews (~40 total) . I had found several problems, but which would I solve? I had qualitative, but not quantitative data. So I’m surveying people now to get lots of data, then will add up responses to indicate which problem(s) are higher priority.

    The above may be useful for seeing what came out qualitatively, but assuming it’s from just a few dozen interviews, it’s too little quantitative research. Perhaps your interviewees aren’t representative and the data is skewed…?

    So I think the above is a great way to make sense of your interview data (qualitative data), and you may want to elaborate and say that there’s a need for quantitative to rank problems as the next step. What do you think?

    BTW, really loving the blog ! Keep on sharing the goods :D.

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