The absolute best question to ask during user interviews

Especially if you're a novice at interviewing users, or accidentally asked leading questions, ending interviews with this is the most important thing you can do.

The absolute best question to ask during user interviews

In yesterday's post I mentioned several times about how the features in your product are less important than the pains that you're solving for your users.

There are many ways to mess up a user interview and get biased data, which happens most frequently when you accidentally lead the user to give you a certain answer.

In order to combat this, at the end of every interview I try to ensure that I've narrowed down the pain I'm solving for the user, even if I've asked some leading questions earlier.

To do this I use this question:

"If I were to decide we're NOT going to add [feature we discussed today], how would that make you feel?"

Then I guage the response to see how intense the pain we're attempting to solve for matters to the user.

If you find it works better for you, you can end the question like this instead: "If I were to decide we're NOT going to add [feature we discussed today], what would you do?"

Here are some "Good answer" and "Bad answer" examples to look out for:

Good answers (move forward)

  • "I'd have to keep doing [annoying process] instead." This shows the user is already trying to solve the pain another way.
  • "I'd find another product/solution that solves this problem." Shows that not having the feature is actually a reason for the user to leave.
  • "Could you work on [related thing] instead?" This shows there is pain the user is feeling, but maybe this feature isn't the right way to solve it.

Bad answers (question solving this pain)

  • "I really love your product, so I'd keep using it." While this sounds good, this shows no pain for the talked about feature.
  • Any response that sounds indifferent (not a strong enough emotion) means there is greater pain for the user elsewwhere.
  • "Could you work on [UNrelated thing] instead?" This shows the user has greater pain somewhere else, which means maybe this shouldn't be prioritized.

What if you're unsure about their answer?

You can either always ask this follow up question, or only ask it if you're unsure about the users previous answer.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, how upset would you be if we didn't launch this feature?"

This is a variation of the NPS (Net Promoter Score) question that can be read like this:

  • 1-6 means the user is against you working on the feature
  • 7-8 means the user is indifferent
  • 9-10 means the user would be in pain if you didn't work on this

Even if you led the witness, these questions are both extremely useful for determining if you're actually solving any pain that the user feels, or if they're even in pain in the first place.

Until next time,

P.S. I appreciate every share:

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