How do startups get the information they need to solve the right problems for their customers?
There is nothing worse than building a new product, service, or experience that you want to sell, putting it out into the world, and...
Or having your business - the one you poured your heart and soul in developing - dramatically underperform...
Or having your customers churn without knowing WHY...
The fundamental question for anyone in business should be...
What can I do to better serve my current and future customers today?
What if you could...
- Have the answer to “will anyone want (or buy) this?” before you spend time creating the product or service...
- Measure customer satisfaction without costly and time-intensive surveys that take months to complete...
- Launch your product or service to happy customers and predictable sales on day one...
- Develop products and services that people want to buy - on your first attempt - eliminating the grind of trial-and-error and tons of money on "testing and guessing"...
- Know how to market your offer to your customers in a way that grabs their attention without an extensive, costly, and lengthy A/B testing...
- Ship products that people can't wait to buy, with customers virtually begging you to sell them your product or service...
- Have a non-sleazy, customer-centered, and effective sales process, where your products or services virtually sell themselves...
This is a reality for über successful companies, like...
and Twitter (I know because I work there)...
FACT: Customer focused businesses are more successful than those who aren't...
Every single decision originates from knowing their customers... and they go to great lengths to accomplish this.
And if you value your time, want to build cool things that people love and actually use, and get pumped when more people are using your product, i.e. more daily average users (DAU) or monthly average users (MAU), more customers, your decisions should be no different.
You must get to know your user or customer. Walk a mile in their shoes. Empathize with their needs. Then, and only then, can you build things that they will actually care about. Things that they need to get them closer to their ideal state. Things they will geek out about.
This is the secret behind creating customers for life. Peter Drucker had it right when he said,
The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.
Customers are the pivotal ingredient in success; if you want to launch to instant sales, you must start with the customer.
But this begs the question; how does a business create and keep a customer? The answer is surprisingly simple.
The single best way to get to know your customers is through a rapid, relevant, and rigorous customer interviews.
FACT: The shortest distance between two points is a straight line...
Serving your customers without DEEPLY understanding their needs is setting yourself up for A LOT of additional work and needless stress. You will spend needless time and energy testing, pivoting, and changing only to find that you have made no progress...
Why take the more complicated, long, hard route to success?
When you can take the EASY, effective, and efficient way through rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews?
Get the answers you need without spending a fortune on "Big Data" solutions, expensive software, or research firms who simply don't have the expertise to get the job done right the first time. All you have to do is ask the RIGHT questions, to the RIGHT people, at the RIGHT time - this is the easy way.
FACT: Customer interviews can help you BUILD something people CARE about...
You come up with a great idea. You spend countless hours wireframing, whiteboarding, building, writing, developing, and creating, only to hear...
Then, you spend hours editing, modifying, testing, outreach, marketing, building an email list and...
Then you attempt every strategy you can find online, and
Then, you think maybe this idea wasn't the right choice. But no worries! You can just pivot. You have another idea that you think will be even more awesome than the first, and...
The cycle begins again, and again, and again...
This scenario sucks, yet so many people needlessly go through it. And it is completely avoidable.
You can build things that people use and care about; all it takes is rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews.
FACT: Customer interviews can help you MAKE money...
Customer interviews are responsible for building a BILLION DOLLAR brand for consumer packaged goods giant Proctor & Gamble.
As the story goes, there was a scientist working in a lab on a secret project to create a new product that could eradicate bad smells. Proctor & Gamble had spent millions of dollars developing this colorless, cheap-to-manufacture liquid that could be sprayed on nearly anything to “remove” an odor.
The success of this formula was so certain, that Proctor & Gamble had spent millions of dollars developing an ad campaign they were sure was going to hit it out of the park. So certain in fact, that the marketers sat back and began anticipating all the ways they would spend their bonuses.
They launched the product that you know as Febreze.
A week passed. Then two. A month. Two months. Sales were shrinking.
It looked like all hope was lost...
The marketing team decided to conduct some in-depth interviews to figure out what had gone wrong.
The needed to understand why Febreze was failing so miserably.
One of the interviews was with an avid cat lover; she literally owned nine cats.
As the researchers walked into the home, one of the researchers crossed the threshold, he was hit by an
overwhelming odor that literally caused him to gag. This was nearly the exact time that the woman they had come to interview exclaimed that she something of a neat freak.
As they sat down on the couch, the team began asking questions. This exchange stood out:
“What do you do about the cat smell?”
“It’s usually not a problem,” she said.
“Do you smell it now?”
“No,” she said. “Isn’t it wonderful? They hardly smell at all!”
This interview was mirrored by similar interviews in dozens of other smelly homes.
The insight hit the researchers almost as hard as the initial cat odor; the reason Febreze wasn’t selling was that people couldn’t detect odors in their homes that they had become accustomed to living with.
In essence; they had become desensitized to the scent! Even the strongest odors fade with constant exposure.
This led Febreze to change the product, positioning, and marketing. The original Febreze, conceived as a revolutionary way to destroy odors, became an air freshener used once things are already clean. Within two months, sales doubled. A year later, the product brought in $230 million.
Since then, the Febreze brand accounts for sales in excess of $1 billion a year. In fact, today it’s one of the top-selling products in the world.
Those interviews were worth more than a billion dollars.
What could rapid, relevant, and rigorous interviews do for your business?
FACT: Every successful business encounters obstacles; it's what they do with them that makes them different...
There is no such thing as instant success. Everybody faces challenges and obstacles - Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk...
What will you do when you are faced with these obstacles?
Obstacle #1 - "I'm stuck. How do I decide what to do next?"
It's normal to get stuck. Maybe you're stuck on your business idea or what your next product should be.
Being stuck is OK. What isn't OK is staying stuck. It is your sole job to figure it out and get "unstuck," and the worst thing you can do is use the "guessing and praying" method as your way out.
In this case, I like to go back to Bezos (WWJBD - What would Jeff Bezos do?) and remember:
"The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer.” — Jeff Bezos
If you're stuck, the solution isn’t to think it away or agonize endlessly over all the different things you should do.
The solution is to ask your customer what they truly want through rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews.
Your customers will give you the answers … if you just know which questions to ask.
Obstacle #2 - "Customer interviews takes a ton of time, effort, and energy that I just don't have."
Customer interviews can be a ton of work, if you are doing them the wrong way.
But you want to know what takes even more work? Doing the same thing over and over and never getting the results you want...
By learning a battle-tested, proven method, you can make understanding your customers needs, wants, and desires, fast, easy, and crystal clear.
If you skip interviews, you risk creating something that nobody will buy, and enter an endless cycle of pivot-develop-release-[crickets]...
To skip this cycle, ask your customer what they truly want through rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews.
Obstacle #3 - "If I fail to validate my idea, then I have to start over.""
You don't "fail" at validation. In fact, every outcome is a "win."
If you discover your business or product idea isn't going to be profitable — that's great news! Much better to find that out now than after you've spent months (or years) and thousands of dollars on it.
Plus, even if your idea falls apart during validation, the information and data you learn is invaluable in developing the winning idea.
It's the whole, "When one door closes, other doors open" concept.
Want to get closer to your winning idea?
Conduct rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews.
Obstacle #4 - "I don't know how to find people to interview."
This is a tactical problem. The good news, finding the right people AND getting them to participate can be learned.
It doesn't have to feel "pushy, weird, or awkward."
By following a process, you can consistently get people to work with you so you can conduct rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews.
Obstacle #5 - "I already tried conducting research in FB groups, subreddits, and Amazon reviews. None of that helped."
You can learn a lot from forums, groups, social media posts, and Amazon reviews, but it's not the whole picture; it's only a piece of the puzzle.
This information missing is background, situation, and context.
The single best way to get background, situation, and context is through rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews.
Obstacle #6 - "How do you know when an idea is actually good enough?"
First, let's start with an absolute "don't."
Don't ask your friends or family. They might love you but they’ll lie to you. They don’t want to tell you the truth, so they’ll say things like, “Yeah, that would probably be really helpful to people” (code for: “…but not for me”).
There is a clear method called "saturation" that lets you know when your idea is good enough. It is used by academics at MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Oxford, and every other academic institution in the world. Why? Because it works.
The best part...
You can learn it...
After you conduct rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews, you will analyze and synthesize what you discovered to tell you when your idea has legs.
As you can see, rapid, rigorous, and relevant interviews have impact.
In fact, it is a necessary component of being a customer-centric (or obsessed) business that thrives in the modern business environment.
The problem is, most people don't have the skills to move the needle relative to interviewing customers. They might be EXPERTS in their domain, but...
An expert in one domain is not necessarily an expert in another.
If you are an expert in marketing, does that make you an expert in finance?
If you are an expert in developing CPG products, are you an expert in developing technology products (and vice versa)?
Sure there might be some crossover, but...
The path to expertise takes years of experience, training, practice, and education.
So what do you do when you aren't an expert, but you want expert results?
You either work with someone who specializes in the space, or you get specialized training to get up to speed.
Either way, I can help.
FACT: The Perfect Customer Interview can help you get the information you need to solve the right problems for your customers...
This program is the fastest (and most direct) path to learning how to conduct rapid, rigorous, and relevant customer interviews.
If you want to build a PROFITABLE business, product, service or experience by solving the right problems for your customers, this is for you.
In this intensive program you WILL learn how to conduct the RIGHT interview, with the RIGHT people, at the RIGHT time...
Saving you the stress, overwhelm, and countless hours of "testing and pivoting" to get it right.
But more importantly, you will learn a repeatable process that you can use to deeply understand your customers needs.
Over and over and over again...
Let me be clear. This isn't another online class that sits on your hard drive along with the worksheets that you never complete.
This is your unique opportunity to partner with a global interviewing expert, consumer psychologist, and retired police detective to uncover insights about your customers while gaining the skills to conduct rapid, rigorous, and relevant interviews on your own.
The Perfect Customer Interview is for you if...
- You're stuck in your business or product development journey, i.e. finding your business idea, figuring out why your customers aren't buying, or deciding what product to build next;
- You want to be a truly customer-centric business — one that truly helps its audience;
- You want to stop guessing and hoping things work out. You're ready for clear signals from your audience about what business to build and what products to create.
If you're ready, you can join The Perfect Customer Interview and profitably solve the right problems for your customers.
- Gain laser-focused clarity of the problem you are solving;
- Develop your Project Intent (your primary goal);
- Conduct your Background Investigation (to understand the current body of knowledge);
- Develop your Interview Objectives;
- Develop your Interview Action Plan (describes the who, what, when, where, and why (the 5 W’s) of how your interviews will be executed).
- Identify your Customer Profile;
- Develop your Recruitment Plan;
- Develop your Screener;
- Execute Recruitment;
- Develop your Discussion Protocol.
This is how it works...
The Perfect Customer Interview
We work together to build a custom Interview Action Plan (a roadmap) that fits your specific needs. New product development? No problem. "Jobs to be Done" (JTBD) interviews? Consider it "done." Customer development interviews? I got you covered. Stank rank or prioritization questions? You got it. "White space" or "Blue Ocean" exploration? I'm on it like Magellan. The point here is any type of interview you need, I will help you achieve. The best part; this isn't a "cookie cutter" program. All strategies are tailored to your specific situation.
At the beginning of each week you will be exposed to new actionable content. The content is designed for you to use; not just consume. The content works helps provide a framework through knowledge and understanding. But, as you know, information is everywhere. I will help you apply what you learn to your specific situation.
Every Friday there is an AMA call. You will never go through a week feeling like you are stuck. The collaborative calls help us "workshop" and remove blockers while providing you momentum to move your project forward. This allows you the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback before you get stuck.
Every week, you have unlimited text, phone, email (or Slack) access to me, with a guaranteed 12-hour turnaround during the week (next business day on weekends).
We will work together to develop ACTUAL documentation that you will use; not awkward worksheets that sit on your hard drive. You will leave this program with an Interview Commander's Intent document that contains YOUR objectives, and Interview Action Plan that walks you step-by-step through YOUR plan of attack, an Interview Recruitment Plan that walks you through YOUR recruitment process, a Screener, a Discussion Protocol, and Analysis and Synthesis outputs. The things you create and leave with - you will ACTUALLY USE.
COMPLETE customer research toolbox — get ALL of the EXACT scripts, surveys, checklists, tools, and questionnaires you need to validate your business idea and product.
Analysis and synthesis of your findings will be a snap with this software.
You have questions? Feeling stuck? Roadblock? No worries. I provide personalized answers and feedback through video micro lessons. I GUARANTEE you will never stay stuck.
I will personally review the documents you create, i.e. Objectives, Interview Action Plan, Screener, and Discussion Protocol, so that you can be sure the tools you are using are accurate and will get you closer to your objective.
You will learn the most cutting edge lean product experiments regularly used by product builders at companies like Spotify, Booking.com, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Google and recommended by top universities like Harvard, MIT, and Stanford. These experiments are designed to help you validate your riskiest assumptions. They will enable you to start focusing on building the right product from the start.
You will learn advanced strategies including leveraging surveys to contact hard-to-reach decision makers, validation through surveys, using surveys to validate at scale, etc. This information alone is worth more than the cost of the program.
Are you ready to learn how top businesses get the information they need to solve the right problems for their customers? Join the waitlist to be notified when enrollment opens.
Join the Waitlist
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! The systems, processes, and tools in The Perfect Customer Interview are perfect for finding and validating any business idea.
Yes! I've been in that situation, too. It sucks. The Perfect Customer Interview will help you avoid hitting that brick wall or help you bust through it.
Yes! The systems, methods, and processes that I teach can be used to test every new product idea you have OR improve your current offerings.
This program was designed for product managers, software developers (and app )developers, designers, online businesses, freelancers, agencies, consultants, retailers, SaaS, etc. It will help anyone who has customers AND actually cares about what they think..
The program is designed to ensure help is there when you need it. It is my priority to help you succeed. If you have specific, relevant questions about understanding and applying what you're learning, I am here to help.
Yep! You sure can. It only took me a decade of formal education to earn a doctorate in psychology, a decade of interviewing people as a criminal investigator, and another decade of working with companies large and small to develop this process. So you could spend the time trying to figure it out on your own OR you could save the hours of time and aggravation along with thousands of dollars letting me walk you step-by-step through the process.
I would say that you can't afford not to invest in this. If you forge forward without validating your idea or concept, you are risking HUGE LOSSES in both money and time. Would you spend $5,000 to earn $100,000? All day long. That is an investment with an excellent return. This program doesn't cost anything near that, but will help you build and scale the RIGHT idea, concept, or service to $100,000, $500,000, $1,000,000 or beyond. I have personally witnessed this lead to the launch of multi-million dollar products.
Nope. This program is GUARANTEED to deliver results. Period. The only way it doesn't work (and I mean only way) is that you don't take action on what you learn (both within the course and with the information you learn through the validation process).
This program will help you validate any idea before you spend time, resources, and money actually developing it.
That said, if you are looking for a magic pill, a get-rich-quick scheme, or are unwilling to take action, do us both a favor and don't sign up. If you are looking for done-for you-work, this is also not for you.
The program is designed to be executed over six-weeks (recommended). However, you can move through the content at a speed comfortable for you.
I am 100% confident that if you do the work, you will get results so I offer the following GUARANTEE: Try The Perfect Customer Interview and if you don't generate valuable insights after following the steps and process, I will personally help you to get you there.
That said, this program isn't for everyone. Please do not sign up if:
- You want someone to give you all the answers and you don't want to do any of the legwork;
- You feel like you already know everything there is to know about your customers and nobody can tell you otherwise;
- You are already *sold* on your idea and no amount of information in the world could get you to pivot or change your mind;
- You do not have 5-10 hours per week to invest in your business while learning and developing a new skill;
- You are not committed to using what you learn here.
Your Interview Partner
Described as a modern-day, consumer-focused Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Ari Zelmanow is consumer psychologist (and retired police detective) who empowers product developers and engineering teams (creators and makers) to conduct rapid, rigorous, and relevant interviews to solve the right problems for their customers. He has taught advanced interviewing techniques to the public and private sectors. He currently leads a research team at Twitter, holds the prestigious Professional Researcher Certification, and is a full member of the American Psychological Association. He has worked with some of the most iconic brands across the globe to create breakthrough products, brands, and retail experiences.