The main goal of any enterprise rests in making sure the needs of its customers are met. Irrespective of how that sounds, it’s a fact that shouldn’t be downplayed. All businesses from the local grocery located at the street corner to huge multinational companies with all the vital web-solutions have a common purpose: to satisfy their client’s demands. Failure to do so can ultimately mean the end of their existence in their respective markets.
Despite this being common knowledge, many businesses still fail in making sure their customers’ needs are met. In fact, the main impediment is the capability to identify the target audience’s desires and obstacles.
It’s in this case that the ability to ask questions comes in handy. The interviewer has to be skilled in asking questions, listening cautiously, and being prepared to acknowledge any findings even when the initial assumptions are not correct. As such, knowing the right techniques to use when asking various questions and what exactly to ask, allows you to understand what customers or users expect from your business or products.
What Aspects Make an Interview Good?
Not all interviews go according to plan or achieve the desired objective, which is mostly due to avoidable mistakes. Below are some pointers to spice up things and make the interview experience for the parties involved worthwhile.
The Conversation should be Structured
The interaction between a respondent and interviewer will be flawless if only what they discuss is structured. Doing so prevents shifting from one topic to the other without following a given guideline.
You have to be consistent and ensure that your conversation is reasonably organized. You cannot adequately forecast all the questions you plan to ask the respondent since most of them will come from the details revealed during the session. However, ensuring that the interviewee keeps up with your line of thought is imperative.
You should give the respondent ample time to talk so that you can gather the desired information. Even though it may be tempting for you to start by pitching your idea, this technique might not help in understanding whether your potential clientele is interested in it or not.
In this case, the rule of thumb entails listening cautiously to the respondent as opposed to sharing your opinion. By doing so, you will be in a better position to channel your energy to your customers’ needs, challenges, interests, and dislikes. Therefore, you can gain valuable information to help you in improving your product.
Active listening is among the most useful and well-known listening techniques. A brief outlook of the practice is outlined in the image below.
Ask the Necessary Questions
- Ask Questions about the Present and Past
Future-based questions are not advisable during the interview, as they might lead the respondent into envisioning possible situations, make forecasts, and share subjective views. These queries are somewhat misleading, as they are not factual. Usually, they are based on assumptions made by respondents on your behalf (For instance, a question such as what features would be helpful on this site?). The best approach is to concentrate on both present and past events as opposed to the future. For example, you can ask a question like: Could you please demonstrate to us how you use the application? Are there any challenges you face?
Make sure that you question the respondents on their past and present experiences. Do not hesitate to ask them about a particular scenario whereby they experienced a challenge and what they did overcome it.
- Open-ended Questions
In case the talk involves close-ended queries, then the respondent may fail to reveal any new vital information that what you already know. These questions limit the responses to a brief, one-word answer and do not assist in building a comprehensive talk (For instance, Do you regularly take coffee or tea?). To gain the most from your conversation with the interviewee, try as much as possible to come up with open-ended questions (For example, you can ask: What do you regularly drink?).
One of the advantages of using open-ended questions is the possibility of new details being revealed, which you might have failed to consider earlier. The extra piece of information you obtain makes all the difference between open and close-ended questions.
Use the 3-Second Pausing Rule
Silence is an excellent technique of asking questions in a bid to get valuable information from a respondent/interviewee. Using pauses when talking, assists in adding some emphasis to various aspects. They also provide all the parties involved with some time to collect their thoughts before responding. Consider using this 3-second pausing rule.
- Taking a 3-second pause before a given question aids in stressing its significance.
- A similar pause immediately after asking a question helps in showing the respondent that his or her answer is needed.
- Making another pause after giving the initial response allows the interviewee to provide further details or deliver a comprehensive reply.
If you are wondering why a three-second pause is recommended compared to one that takes a shorter duration, the reason is that the latter is less effective in achieving the above objectives.
When making a conversation with someone, it’s imperative to know how to act, how different types of questions work and the kind of outcomes they will give you. Do not use close-ended queries in a bid to avoid getting less-informative answers. Instead, asking open-ended questions can help you take advantage of the conversation, in that they allow you to learn as much information as possible from a given respondent.
Try focusing your attention on the needs of the customers or users as supposed to using the opportunity to sell a particular idea. What’s more, you should ask the interviewee about his or her past and present experiences instead of questions relating to the future. If you manage to follow all these vital hints or tips of asking questions, you will realize that satisfying the needs of your customers is not as complicated as you had previously imagined.