3 things you should change during your focus group interview

We changed three things about our feedback sessions, and it changed everything about running customer feedback sessions.

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3 things you should change during your focus group interview

Remember the popular TV series Mad Men? Remember the legendary Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm? Did you notice what he said about focus groups altogether?

Ignore them.

That’s what many think about focus group these days. For most part, it is true. The reason focus group fail is because of the idea of getting people to gather in a room, asking them to try something out, where a person scratches through a checklist. This is not what would work anymore.

So what makes a good feedback session, instead of getting feedback through a focus group? I spent major chunk of my time researching on this same fact this week, while working with one of my client, and here are three things I realized should happen during such interviews.

1. Make eye contact#

To gather feedback from your customers first-hand, you need to sit with them and have a conversation with them, rather than to just ask them to fill in a bunch of forms to get feedback.

Emotions talk more than words.

If you find this uncomfortable, for the feedback they are providing, know that it is a good sign. You are learning something that you never realized was a problem.

2. Explain them about the ‘why’#

While there are so many ‘smart’ ways consultants suggest to run feedback sessions, the truth lies in telling your end-customer why you created a product/service in the first place, and ask them if that is something they would use.

Rest of the things are completely impulsive. Hence, doesn’t last long.

For example, if you ‘observe’ a customer using your product, and arriving at conclusions, that could be completely wrong. The time, and place of using your product will vary from one situation to the other.

3. Take a walk or just converse with them#

What would you do when you are taken into an airport security office, and asked a few questions about how they can improve their service? That’s the same emotion that runs through a customer when they are called in for. Their mindset is completely different when you call them in to provide feedback, when compared to just talking to them in general.

Talking to them, getting to know their background and such could take time before you get some valuable feedback about the product/service you are building. But it is totally worth it.

By getting to know your customer before asking them for feedback, you get to know:

  • their background;
  • an idea about where they would use your product;
  • the impact your product could have on their lives;

That’s how your measure the impact of your product and get valuable feedback at the same time.

What are your ways of running feedback sessions? What worked out for you? Hit me up on Twitter at @imkarthikk

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