I've talked a bit about customer interviews over the last couple weeks. And while posts on the theory are good I thought I'd wrap it up with an actual customer interview I did. Internet meet Evan. Evan meet Internet.
To start every interview I like to get a bit of background on the user. Since WooCommerce is self hosted we don't have much information on the user. We don't have any idea how often they use the software, if they're using any 3rd party add ons, etc. I could go through a laundry list of questions but I like to keep it short. Here's how I stared my interview with Evan.
- How many WooCommerce sites have you built or worked on? What sort of work do you do on WooCommerce sites?
- Have you worked on any other e-commerce platforms?
- What were your motivating factors to use WooCommerce to begin with?
- What motivates you to continue using WooCommerce?
In a recent NPS survey we discovered that customization is one of the aspects of WooCommerce that our customers really love. Unlike many hosted platforms you can do just about anything with WooCommerce so we were naturally curious exactly what our customers are customizing and how we can help them even more.
This is the first of three interviews I'm conducting where I'm looking into how WooCommerce customers customize WooCommerce to suit their needs. And by customize I mean getting it to function exactly as they want and to look exactly how they want it to look.
- What sort of things do clients ask you to customize? How do you go about doing that?
- How can your experience customizing WooCommerce be improved? Or to ask that another way what’s hard about customizing WooCommerce?
- What’s something you wish you knew about customizing WooCommerce right at the beginning of the process?
These questions can go on for a while and I usually ask follow up questions such as:
Interesting – you like to build an online catalog first and then later turn on the e-commerce functionality. How does that happen? Is it something you bring up as a selling point to the client? Is it something they're asking for? Or is it something else?
These questions are guide posts. Use them to remain in the general area but let the interviewee say whatever they want about the topic.
There's a few questions I like to ask people at the end.
- How likely are you to refer this product to a friend?
The above question is very hit or miss. On one hand it feels a bit like you're asking someone, “do you like me as a person?” and people are motivated to say yes. But you can sometimes still get really interesting results. In my interview with Evan he said “to someone already using a WordPress website definitely” which I translate to “you have the best WordPress solution not the best solution”. While it's not the answer I was hoping for it's good to know.
There's a few more that wrap up an interview:
- Do you know any other people that use WooCommerce that I could interview?
- Do you mind if I share this interview internally at Automattic?
For this specific interview I asked Evan if I could share this on my blog and he said yes. 🙂
After all this I open up the floor to the interviewee. They can share or ask me anything they want. Sometimes I get a polite “nope” but other times I get very useful information. The type of information you wouldn't even know to ask about.
With Evan we talked for an additional 30 minutes and he brought up numerous issues. One of which I'd like to share:
I’ve seen so many times where someone will ask a question and [the dev team will] close the issue and leave a one line link.
I haven’t had that many interactions with [the dev team] – but people are trying to help you guys out – you know?
Giving a common courtesy of a sentence would be nice. Acknowledging the other person is a person.
The feedback above was pretty hard to hear. We run an open source project and in our pursuit to be efficient we're turning people away. I wouldn't have ever guessed that we were doing that. I'm not in GitHub every day and wouldn't notice something that nuanced. Give your customers space to address the issues they think are important and you'll learn things you never imagined.