Message & Media: Get on the Horn
10. Let your interviewee know you are interested in hearing about both positives and negatives. This is a unique opportunity to uncover information that can help improve product development, future marketing plans and customer service.
11. Briefly explain how the comments shared by the interviewee may be used (brochure copy, email campaign, website content, product development, etc). This provides background for why you're asking the questions you're asking and reinforces the value of the customer's opinions and experiences.
12. Reassure interviewees that, before anything they say will be used in print or online, they will have the opportunity to approve it. In my case, I mention that someone from the company I'm representing will contact them for their approval/release.
13. Mention upfront how long the interview will take. I try to keep calls to 15-20 minutes. First, it doesn't seem like a daunting time commitment. Then, if the call runs longer, it's normally because the person wants to share more and is comfortable with the call taking longer. If you end up talking to someone who rambles, you can use the 15-minute time limit as a reason to end or keep the call on track.
14. Thank the person for his or her time and ideas at the beginning AND at the end of the call. Remember, this person is doing you—or the marketer that you're representing—a favor.
15. Go through your notes immediately after the call and highlight the most valuable comments while the individual interview is top of mind. I can tell you from experience, the more calls you make, the more they blend together.
16. If you're doing interviews for advertising purposes, you may want to include a photo of the person with his or her comment. It adds credibility. If you're doing this, make sure to mention at the end of the interview that someone will be in contact to set a time for a photoshoot.