I want to interview potential customers for my two-sided app idea, so I can learn from them for insights (should I develop first web app or mobile app, is this a real problem, can I provide a better way to have this done? How much they spend, or lose (time, money) Etc), how should I do this? I do have access to potential customers in a Facebook Group I participate. Should I contact each one Individually or Post a link to get interested people sign up for the solution and then contact them? Or both? Or something else?
Hi, I have done this numerous times at both concept/pre-product stage but also once a product is built and trying to figure out "the problem it solves" (this generally happens after someone has tried to take it to market and no one is buying).
Do you understand how your future users "solve" this problem right now? Observation is a great tool to understand this and then asking to talk to people about their lives in general, and gently leading them to talk about the area you think you solve. If you ask them if something specific is a problem (such as in a FB post, ads etc.), psychologically people feel the need to give you some feedback etc. and you end up basing everything on false assumptions. The other thing is if you ask users if they want certain features and technology, the answer is always yes because people think they want choice, but actually only want limited choice. Your choice of platform should be according to easiest way to solve the problem for end users but also the quickest way for you to build an MVP too and test these assumptions.
This early stage of problem market fit can help inform your marketing pitch, MPV/roadmaps etc. so it is good to listen and learn. I am happy to give you some time free of charge if you want to talk further.
Start by identifying what need your app will solve for the customer. If you can get them to say "Yes, that is a problem that I have" then you already have one foot in the door. Then to show them that you are serious, provide an attractive but rough draft. This allows them to provide input to the design but lets them know that you are willing to take the lead and do the heavy lifting on developing the solution.
If you would like additional guidance and detailed examples of how I have gained customer support, visit my profile and sign up for a call.
Ask smart questions they've never heard before. This causes anyone to think good of you and it interrupts their daily autopilot mode and forces them to think and then have a unique interaction with you. Overtime, this method can establish an authentic relationship which should be your goal with customers and business friends alike. Even better, create a string of unique questions that cause them to view your pitch for themselves the same way you view it for them. As for contacting one vs many, that's a trial and error question. Start by asking for feedback on your questions to the group (and be transparent about your intentions) because the interested people will help you "close" them... and then use the finished product to pitch the next most interested people in the group (perhaps people that are posting things related to your pitch).. and then finally, you can pitch all else remaining. Make sense?
One way of looking at it, is to engage them in co-designing the app. Many will participate because they like the idea of being involved into a "cool" project that solves a common problem. The caveat is that you need to have a structured approach, have clear deliverables, and that not all of the "co-created" outcome is usable as turn-key solution; it needs to be analyzed in terms of what problems they want to solve and how (which are both key pillars of any strong consumer insight)
If you can get them for a couple of hours is a common space, it is going to be more efficient, but, if that is not possible, you can co-create on-line, by simply using a forum app, or even a Facebook closed group.
While co-creation is a very powerful tool, it also comes with a set of hurdles. The first challenge with co-creation - in general, regardless of whether it is on- or off-line - is to let enough time for actors to build a team dynamic, by working together, while at the same time, let their individualities come out in a way that is acceptable to other team members. A good portion of the co-creation effort is actually spent in building a working dynamic among all actors, before actually moving to pure co-creation. In this stage I tend to use tools and techniques from Design Thinking, which also help establishing an emotional connection to the scope of the project, as well as to other
team members (e.g., building Personas, Stakeholder Maps, Segmentations, Customer Journey,...).
The second challenge is setting up a decision-making mechanism, which is fair, efficient and does not generate frustration. In a physical session I would normally give
the chance to each participant to express three full votes (no fractions!) to other teams (not to their own work). In an on-line setting I usually reduce it to one vote, because otherwise the complexity grows rapidly.
The third challenge relates to remote co-creation: I do not suspect broadband being a problem with your target group, the core problem relates to the difficulty of remote communication with multiple actors are discussing on-line: a lot of people, willingly or not, troll other people on line; moreover, very often several sub-threads are formed
and communication is not always easy to manage (e.g., imagine a chat with 10 users, the derivative discussions among subgroups are often polarizing everybody’s
Despite that I think a co-creation session is a great way of generating insights, tap into your customers' creativity, while ensuring a unique a relevant set of insights