Your time is too valuable to spend it on things people don’t want.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, talking to people can save you months or years of frustrating, fruitless effort. 

This book will teach you how to deploy empathy in a specific, targeted, structured way to pull opportunities out of customers that you and your competitors maybe didn’t even realize were there. People will tell you things—useful, actionable things—that you never would have found before.

Even if you have never interviewed customers before.

Even if your company doesn’t exist yet. 

Even if your company has been around for decades.

The skills you will learn can be used with potential customers, former customers, current customers, clients, stakeholders, people you advise, and even in your personal life.

You will walk away from this book with a toolbox of repeatable processes that will allow you to find opportunities and moments of unexpected insight time and time again. 

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You can also read a free preview of the book here.

I hate wasting time and writing code that never gets used.

The only way I’ve found to truly avoid that when building my SaaS apps is to talk to the people I’d love to have use them.

Michele’s book takes the anxiety out of having these conversations so you can get honest thoughts about what you’re trying to accomplish.

Michael Buckbee, Founder, Expedited Security

An action-oriented guide to understanding customers

People often ask me how we’ve been able to build a successful small software business without external funding, and the secret is that listening to customers is embedded into everything we do. It is the cornerstone, foundation, and pillars of how we make decisions.

Hearing that, people often want to learn how to interview customers themselves. I would find myself typing out long emails that were a mix of chapters of books, podcasts, blog posts, with my own perspectives spliced in. I didn’t feel like I had one solid place to send them.

(As you’ll learn in this book, repeated manual work is a symptom of pain that can be solved by a product.)

I needed a resource that presumed no previous experience with customer research and was also biased toward action.

This book attempts to make customer research accessible to companies of all sizes and people of all functional backgrounds, even the smallest of companies.

This book prompted me to have my first customer call, and I learned so much!

I found myself wanting to insert my own thoughts and opinions so many times—I didn’t realize how often I did that until I consciously held back. But I did hold back, and it resulted in my customer opening up a whole lot more. Mirroring and summarizing is also such a power move.

This book has been so helpful already, and this is only the beginning.

Adam McCrea, Founder, Rails Autoscale

Take the guessing out of what to work on

Perhaps you find yourself, either now or at other times, needing to do one of the following:

    • Launch a product 
    • Figure out why people aren’t buying 
    • Figure out why people are buying, so you can find more of them
    • See if people will pay for the thing you’ve made 
    • Determine out which features to add next 
    • Figure out why people buy again.

If any of those apply to you, this book is for you.

Michele’s expertise and knowledge in customer interviews has been instrumental in shaping the way we launch new products and features.

Before reading her work, I thought I was pretty good at talking with our users and translating those conversations into useful features.

After applying some of her interviewing techniques, the feedback has become so much more rich and illuminating. It is helping to shape our long term strategic objectives, not just setting immediate goals.

Matthew Lehner, Cofounder & CTO, OneFeather

A toolbox to use time and time again

This book will give you:

  • Specific words, phrases, and conversational tactics to use to get people to give you helpful details
  • Full scripts to use in common situations, which you can use off the shelf or customize to your own needs
    • Product/problem discovery (“what should I build?”)
    • Prototype/landing page/feature feedback (“what do people think of what I built?”)
    • New customer feedback (“why do people buy and how I do get more people to do that?”)
    • Existing customer feedback (“why do people stick around and how do I find more customers with this well-served use case?”)
    • Canceled customer feedback (“why did they cancel and what do I need to adjust to attract fewer people with this use case?”)
    • How do ask people how much they would pay for something
  • Lightweight analysis tools that will help you quickly build your understanding of a problem and customer needs
  • Sample interview so you can hear the tactics and scripts interview in action
  • Guidance through common interview pitfalls and how to handle them

‘If I can do this, you can.’

 Apparently the first time I uploaded data to Geocodio was June 28, 2016, so that had to be the year I experienced my first customer interview with Michele. I wonked out on her about pulling in Census data.

Now, I’m the smallest of small time users until now because my products didn’t launch, but I’m building my third one and it looks like this bird will fly.

So, who did I track down to follow and emulate? Michele Hansen of Geocodio. What did I find? Her advice on doing Customer Research—a task which always made me melt down whenever I thought about it.

Her advice helped me understand that I’m actually excited to do customer research because I love talking about the problem with this product because I am receiving responses from people who actually feel the pain my product will relieve.

Maybe one day I’ll graduate to a gentle tone and simple questions, but until then I’m looking forward to culling the information I learn while talking to them.

Andrea Brice, Technical Head and Founder of Willowfinch

thoughts about the book? want to make a bulk purchase? want to invite me on your podcast or to speak?

michele at deployempathy dot com