Uncover the Real Needs of Your Customers Through Jobs-To-Be-Done Interviews

Your customers are complex. Their needs are intricate. Are you truly listening?

Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) interviews offer a powerful means for deep insight. They transform how we think about customer needs and product/service innovation. You can implement JTBD interviews into your regular operations to grow your business.

What Are Jobs-to-be-Done Interviews?

JTBD interviews are not your casual customer conversations. They focus on understanding why people make the decisions they do. What “job” are they “hiring” your product/service to perform?

The popular example is this: You’re not just selling a drill, but the promise of a perfectly hung family portrait. That’s the job-to-be-done. It’s about the underlying tasks your customers need to accomplish, and the emotional and social dimensions of their decisions.

Preparing for Insightful Interviews

Begin with clarity. Know what you are looking for. Are you exploring new product/service ideas? Understanding brand loyalty? Strategic positioning? Copywriting? Your goals shape the questions you’ll ask.

You’ll need to select the perfect interviewees. Diversity is key. Include a mix of satisfied and dissatisfied customers. Why did some walk away? Their insights can be gold.

When crafting questions, start broad and then dive deep. Ask about the first time they realised they needed a product/service like yours. What alternatives did they consider? What was their decision-making journey? What nearly put them off from buying from you? The answers often reveal your real competitors and the true motivations behind your customers’ choices.

Conducting Effective Interviews

Creating a comfortable atmosphere is crucial. You’re not selling; you’re learning. This mindset shift can change the quality of the information you gather.

Listen more, talk less. Your role is primarily to listen. Encouraging your interviewees to tell their stories without leading them requires practice and patience. Ask for permission to record the interview. It’ll come in handy later.

Follow their story and be flexible. If your interviewee goes off on a tangent, it might just lead to valuable insights. Sometimes, the most revealing information comes from unexpected places. Let’s assume you are marketing blenders as a general-use kitchen tool. Your interviewee casually mentions the recent diagnosis of a health condition. This information could open up a whole new market segment for your blender.

Dig deeper when customers mention a significant moment or decision. Probe further. “What made that so important?” “How did that make you feel?” These deeper questions help uncover the emotional and social jobs your product/service might be addressing. Is your customer trying to impress someone else or wanting to feel valued at work?

Read this blog post for tips on how to conduct effective Jobs-to-be-Done interviews.

Analysing Data From the Interviews

The real work begins after the JTBD interview. Transcribe and analyse the conversations. Look for patterns and anomalies. What common jobs emerge? How do people describe their struggles and successes with your product/service?

This analysis can redefine your product/service development, competitive positioning, and growth marketing strategies. It helps you craft marketing messages that resonate more deeply and develop features/offerings that genuinely meet your customers’ needs.

Leveraging Insights for Growth

Implement what you learn. Whether you enhance your product/service, adjust your marketing approach, or even redefine your target market, the insights from JTBD interviews can be innovative.

For example, learning that customers hire your product for its ease of use rather than its advanced features might shift your feature development priorities and marketing focus. Or discovering a job your service is hired for that you hadn’t considered can open up entirely new markets.

Make JTBD interviews a regular, systematic part of your customer research. Markets evolve, and so do customer needs. Keeping a pulse on these changes keeps your offerings relevant and your strategies sharp.

Jobs-to-be-Done interviews are a strategic tool. They help you see beyond what your customers say to understand the deeper reasons behind their actions. This insight is a powerful lever for growth, innovation, and customer engagement.

Customer research is central to our ROOTS methodology and Growth Marketing Programme. They help us uncover deep insights into your customer needs, shape tailored growth strategies that align with real market demands, and drive informed decisions and sustainable competitive growth.