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We discussed in a previous post that the single most important consideration when creating a product is the “job” that it might fulfill in your members’ lives. “Jobs to Be Done” are what cause a customer to hire or fire a product. Finding a job that many people critically need filled is the most important factor in identifying new opportunities and building disruptive solutions. Credit unions succeed when they understand the importance of creating products and services that solve real member problems, and when they have a set of tools and frameworks like “Jobs to Be Done” to identify and validate real human problems.

 In this post we discuss the importance of interviewing members about their “Jobs” and how to get started with the interview process.

 It’s good to know the “Jobs to Be Done” framework, but it’s even better to take advantage of JTBD-style interviews during customer and market research. Interviews can help you uncover hidden gold.

The keystone of the “Jobs to Be Done” philosophy is the member interview.

When you work with a member to relive a moment of struggle, you can learn about the events and forces that progress members towards and away from your product. Even more intriguing, you may uncover your hidden competition: the consideration set and failure.

This requires a detailed interview, a script and a time frame between 15 minutes to an hour.

The Point of Purchase

The point of purchase is something everyone can relate to. It’s also what the interviewee will expect. It’s a great opportunity to break the ice, establish rapport and set the stage for the rest of the interview.

  • When did you use the product first?
  • Where were you?
  • In what context did you use it?
  • Was anyone else with you at the time?

Besides asking easy, non-threatening questions, your goal is to help your members not only to remember, but to get used to the feeling of remembering. Most of our memories are made and recalled through associations with places, people, things and our senses. That’s why it’s important to ask for details to be able to uncover anxieties, motivations and situations. You want to help your members get familiar with recalling emotional subtleties.

First Realization

  • When did you first realize you needed something to solve that specific problem?
  • Where were you?
  • Were you with someone?
  • What were you doing, or trying to do when this happened?

The goal is to build a timeline that explains the progress events your members encountered on their way to the purchase and/or conversion. You’ve already started getting them used to the feeling of remembering, now it’s time to jump back and uncover their first thought.

There are lots of things to look for when discussing the first thought. Try to focus on triggers that cued your members to realize that their current way of solving problems wasn’t working or that they needed to make a change in the future.

Understanding the Consideration Set

  • Tell me about how you looked for a product to solve your problem.
  • What kind of solutions did you try? Or not try? Why or why not?

The goal in this stage of the interview is to explore the space between their first thought and their eventual purchase. An important part of this space is the consideration set: the alternative solutions your members were considering. This is rarely what you think your competition is. It might not be a competing credit union or bank; it might be an app, a new fintech solution, Amazon, Google or Apple.

Building a consideration set is a great way to learn about passing, looking, deciding and consuming.

Get Emotional

  • Did you ask anyone else about what they thought about the purchase you were about to make?
  • What was the conversation like when you talked about purchasing the product with your spouse/friend/parents?
  • Before you purchased did you imagine what using the product would be like? Where were you when you were thinking this?
  • Did you have any anxiety about the purchase?

Don’t forget, exploring is tricky and tough to master. People rarely understand why they did something. Rather, they write a narrative that flatters themselves.

Above all, be genuinely interested and non-judgmental about what your member is talking about. They will notice this and be more willing to reveal themselves – particularly their anxieties, prejudices and insecurities.