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Guide To Conducting Virtual Customer Interviews: Get the Most Out of User Research

People often focus too much on customer service interview questions rather than the process itself. Interviews are the backbone of consumer research, and conducting appropriate meetings depends on many factors.

How To Conduct Virtual Customer Interviews

Virtual customer interviews are often more informative than in-person interviews because they are more comfortable and do not demand the same social niceties. The interviewer should make the interviewee comfortable, including remaining offscreen. Ultimately, how the interview is run depends on the interviewer, interviewee, and meeting needs.

Tools You Need

Beyond interview questions for virtual customer service chats, your company will need access to three tools: Zoom, spreadsheet software, and stimuli. Zoom is the ideal platform for virtual interviews because it is free, and most people already have it installed on their devices. Also, the platform allows you to customize the meeting spaces, meaning you can brand them. You can also control the environment when you are the host.

You will want some note-taking software as well. Most interviewers prefer using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel because both programs are easy to navigate and allow optimal organization of interviewee responses, IDs, and other information.

Finally, you will want stimuli to motivate thorough responses. For example, if you want customer opinions about page layouts, you are best served by providing a mockup with which the interviewee can look or interact. Providing stimuli means the interviewee can offer concrete feedback.

Steps To Conducting Research

Conducting research is a three-step process: testing assumptions, listening to the consumer, and asking the right questions. Business owners often have assumptions about their products and services, which often lead to the creation of additional services or features that clients do not need. When conducting consumer research, abandon assumptions and discover genuine needs.

You uncover authentic needs by asking consumers what they want from the current product. Discuss their likes and dislikes. For example, suppose your company sells coffee machines. In that case, a client might love the simplicity of the design but hate that there is no way to control the output temperature, which may represent a new insight and something your design team can focus on.

Finally, when you have a product or service that you are testing, focus on asking the right questions. Interview questions should be simple and direct, not leading. Some examples include:

  • What do you think about the product or service?

  • Why do you have that opinion?

  • Do you believe the product or service is valuable?

  • Why do you feel that way?

Why Virtual Customer Interviews are Beneficial to Your Business

Virtual customer interviews are vital to business operations because they are the only way to understand the consumer perspective clearly. Yes, business owners may believe they understand the motivation behind purchases, but they will only truly understand why customers buy if they ask.

Any factors, including aesthetics, social status, and price, can influence consumers. Another critical influencer on buying habits and preferences is family and friends. Only speaking with clients one-on-one will provide insight into buying behaviors and what your business is doing right or wrong.

Virtual customer interviews are crucial to understanding the motivations of your client base. While business owners and product designers might believe they understand their customers, asking is the only way to know what someone is thinking. Interviews, whether in-person or virtual, often provide tremendous insight into the consumer experience; with that insight, businesses can make strategic changes to maximize profit potential. If you need help framing virtual customer service interview questions or would like input about the design of your virtual environment, talk to a Zoom office professional. They can help you design the perfect meeting space and make the most out of your interview time.


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