This is a hypothetical interview conducted with a customer. It is intended to provide first-hand insight into the needs and basic expectations of a customer in order to guide the provision of services. This interview is structured in a generic sense and would prove useful for any startup.
P.S. It is assumed that the basic courtesies have already been exchanged. The interview commences with the main issues brought into perspective.
Interviewer: Why would you buy from a company?
Customer: I usually would buy the things I need from any company, depending on whether it is located close to me or not. In other words, I am more determined to prevent extra costs that may arise from having to transport the commodity or service across a long distance. Nevertheless, I am bound to remain loyal to a company if it affords me the best service, compared to many others who are selling the same thing.
Interviewer: What is the one thing that drives your loyalty?
Customer: I am bound to be loyal to a company that does not only sell to me, but meets my welfare needs. I don’t only need a place to buy from, I need a place that thinks about me as well.
Interviewer: For you, where does your interaction with a company begin and end?
Customer: I should expect a company to reach me through advertisements, by any means possible. If it is a company that does not offer me extra value other than what is sold across board, my interaction with them is as good as dead after I make the exit. If the opposite happens, my interaction with that company has no ends.
Interviewer: What would you call value addition?
Customer: I believe every company exists to solve a particular problem. For me, value addition arises in the Unique Sales Proposition the company adopts. This USP must have me as the focus and should make it impossible for me to not return
Interviewer: Would you consider it necessary for a company to know why you are buying their service or product?
Customer: Absolutely! It is the only condition upon which I would be sure the product or service is cut out to meet my specific need. Otherwise, I may just be fixing square pegs in round holes.
Interviewer: How do you suppose a company would know why you are buying the things you are purchasing at a particular time?
Customer: By communicating with me. The company should talk to me about my needs and communicate the value addition I am getting from their service. By this, they would be in the position to understand why I am making a particular purchase and would be better placed to tailor it to my demand.
Interviewer: Given that you are already buying from someone, what would you want the relationship between the two differing companies to be like?
Customer: Ordinarily, I would expect there should be some competition. It is the only way I would know they are striving to be the best at meeting my needs. In a more definite sense however, I expect they would know where I get my deepest satisfaction from.
Interviewer: is it necessary for a company to know how much money you have to spend?
Customer: In a strict view, yes. But in a stricter view, absolutely yes! The company must be able to predict my purchasing power and spending ability so that there is no embarrassment of the demand and supply chain. What better way to ensure utility of production and purchase than wield some knowledge of how much I can really spend on an item.
Interviewer: What drives your opinion of a company?
Customer: I don’t form an opinion of a company in isolation. It would always arise from a summary of whatever experiences I suffer at their hand.
Interviewer: What is the best gift you would give a company that treats you well?
Customer: My absolute loyalty. My loyalty means I not only buy from you but give people reason to buy from you as well. My recommendations and referrals to family would never cease when a company treats me right.
Interviewer: I thank you for your time.
Customer: It is a pleasure.
Photo Credit: Sustainable Farming Conference’ 17.