Expert insights Troubleshooting insights and FAQ's

Interviews take time and initiative Here are some common challenges and strategies that have helped Stanford Embark members overcome them.

FAQ's

"I can't find people to interview."

Get started by asking your friends, family, or co-workers for introductions or referrals, but do not be afraid to make cold calls.

Go to the places where your customers are. Solving a problem for pet owners? Where would you expect pet owners to hang out?

“People aren't responding to my requests for interviews.”

Think about what you can offer to make an interview more appealing. For example, an entrepreneur with a B2B idea offered to share a summary of their findings with their interviewees. Another entrepreneur offered small gift cards as a thank you to their interviewees.

Make sure you can complete your interview script in about 30-45 minutes. You’ll find people are more willing to meet if they know it will take less than an hour.

“People aren't responding to my requests for interviews.”

Think about what you can offer to make an interview more appealing. For example, an entrepreneur with a B2B idea offered to share a summary of their findings with their interviewees. Another entrepreneur offered small gift cards as a thank you to their interviewees.

Make sure you can complete your interview script in about 30-45 minutes. You’ll find people are more willing to meet if they know it will take less than an hour.

 

“I feel nervous about talking with customers.”

Watch the mock customer interview in step 2 and practice conducting an interview with a friend, or connect with another Embark member and practice together.

Remember, people love talking about themselves and their problems, especially with someone who might be in a position to help them. Be curious and listen to the customer. Follow up with layering questions such as "What did you mean by that?" and "Tell me more about the consequences you experience when this happens."

 

“I don’t have enough time to complete 20 interviews!”

Consider your priorities and your calendar, and set realistic goals. Focus on completing 3 or 4 interviews this week. Block out time to make it happen.

 

“I don’t have anyone to talk with about my work.”

Go to our discussion board.

 

“People don’t seem to know how to answer my questions.”

Pretest your script with someone. Then go back and ask them to explain what they were thinking when they provided the answer they did. This often will help identify when the wording of a particular question is being misinterpreted.

Take a prototype approach and revisit your questions after each interview. Reflect on what you could do better next time.

Expert Insights And Learning From Your Customers

Mudit Garg, founder and CEO of Qventus, Inc. talks about how getting to know his customers changed his understanding of the solution he needed to provide.

Gayatari Datar, co-founder and CEO of EarthEnable, discusses building empathy for their target customers and asking questions to get to the true problem.

This Weeks PodiumX

Reflect on this

Here are some questions to consider:

  • What about customer responses surprised you during your customer interviews?

  • Did you learn something that changed your product or your idea for your business?