7 Relevant User Interview Questions to Ask

Conducting customer interviews is a critical way to get a better sense of your customer’s needs.

These user interview questions allow you to talk to your customers and dig deep into their motivations.

You can learn a lot from user interviews, including how your customers’ goals and challenges.

Based on these insights, businesses can draw conclusions about their ideal customers and create or improve products that better meet market demands and drive future growth.

To truly succeed, businesses must capture consumers’ attention. The key to this is to develop products and services that stand out and appeal to the market. In other words, they need to be better than the competition, not just new and flashy.

If you want to improve your business or find a new way to grow it, understanding your customers will help you bring the most value to their lives.

Establishing Customer Needs

To provide value to your consumers, you must have a clear understanding of their needs. Customer needs are problems that people are trying to solve that motivate them to shop for a product or service.
There are several types of customer needs, comprising functional, social, and emotional needs.

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With these insights, businesses can determine who their ideal customers are and what innovative offerings would be most effective to meet market demands and drive future growth.

If you’re planning to launch a new business, develop a new product, or improve your existing offerings, a great way to learn about your customers is by identifying what they want to be done.

Viewing Customer Needs As ‘Jobs to Be Done’

To serve customers better, you must view customer needs as ‘jobs to be done.’ These needs, which are defined as progress an entity, customer, or business is trying to make during a day, are described by circumstances of understanding a customer’s desires, competitive set, anxieties, habits, and purchase timeline.

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Jobs to be done (JTBD) theory asserts that products and services are hired to do specific jobs and that the reason a customer buys is that the product or service does the job better than the competition.

The job your customer hires your product to do is essential to their happiness. You must know it well. This knowledge allows you to grow an innovative value proposition that is directly meaningful to your customers’ needs.

JTBD can guide you to harness the power of disruptive innovation and win over customers with efficiency and convenience.

It can give you an understanding of the market’s size and whether it’s growing and clue you into competitors as well.

Conducting user interviews is one of the best ways to gather information for jobs to be done. Here are seven questions to ask your interviewee to gather as much insight as possible.

Questions to Ask During a User Interview

Use these open-ended customer interview questions to begin your conversation.

Listen to understand how the product or service helps the customer. As you learn more about the user, ask follow-up questions to explore their motivations. The objective of these discussions is to pinpoint the job the user hired your product to do.

1. When Did You Realize You Needed The Product?

Ask the user to think back to the first time they thought of buying your product.

  • Was it an epiphany?
  • Were they on the lookout for a solution for a specific problem?
  • Were they in the market for a similar product, or did they need the product immediately?

It could take a few minutes, or even years, before a final decision is made about a product.

When a user reflects on when they first thought about buying a product, this can provide a helpful contextual framework.

2. What Problems Were You Trying To Solve With The Product?

Another simple way to gather insight is to ask people what problem they were trying to solve when they decided.

Was the purchase intended to help them relieve or avoid a challenge they were facing?

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Was it intended to help them accomplish a particular goal or to do something?

3. How Did You Know About The Product?

After you’ve determined how the customer became aware of their need, learn about the tools and resources they used to know more about potential solutions.

Your product could have been suggested to them by a friend or family member, or they could have done their research online. Other information sources could have included a company website, industry publications, books and magazines, social media, or even newspapers.

4. What Other Options Did You Have?

When faced with a problem, there are often a variety of solutions. For example, if a person needs reliable transportation to and from work each day, they may choose between a car, a bicycle, and public transportation.

It’s easy to become fixated with your competition. You might be wondering why someone chose a BMW over a Benz.

A better user interview question to ask is: what other factors did the customer consider?

Odds are, you’ll learn that your product is competing with a solution you hadn’t previously considered.

5. What Factors Influenced Your Decision To Buy The Product?

When customers have identified the different options they had, ask them to explain why they made their purchase decision.

Please focus on the practical factors that guided their final decision. Value, cost, and features are common factors that make or break a buying decision. Social and emotional factors are also significant.

6. What Other Products Did You Try?

If your potential clients indicate they tried other tools before buying your product, ask them about their experience.

The reasons for the decision to change will give you insights into how to engage the customer further and build trust.

7. Who Helped You Make a Decision?

When faced with a costly investment such as a home, car, or other life-altering product, people will often turn to friends, family, and experts for guidance.

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Question the user about the people they turned to as they considered making the purchase.

Individuals who are part of the user’s decision-making process can impact the result.


To innovate effectively, you need to ask customers the right questions. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions, too. Dig deeper into their motivations.

Answering these customer interview questions should help you determine what jobs your customers want to get done and what jobs your business can help them get done.

The answers to these questions will help you uncover your ideal customers’ jobs to be done.

Understanding your customer needs will help you develop innovative product offerings and position your business for continued growth.

About the Author

Eugen Spivak is a multi-award-winning author, business strategist, and a business coach. Eugen is the founder of the Canadian Institute of International Business, an organization focused on a better way to learn business!

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