How to Marie Kondo your voice-of-customer data

Presented live on Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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You’ve mastered the customer interview but now you’re looking to do something meaningful with the data, right?

But what … and how?

In this live Tutorial, conversion copywriter, Joanna Wiebe, welcomes guest, Nikki Elbaz who walks you through tips on how to organize your VOC data post-interview… so it’s actually useful when you write. Free VOC spreadsheet template!

Grab Nikki’s VOC spreadsheet here


Joanna Wiebe: So we talked last time about interviews, how to conduct interviews and the questions that can come up then are like, great once I have that awesome interview, what do I do with everything that comes out of it? So there’s a bit of a gap between interviewing someone and having a landing page or email written. So we’re not going to talk about the whole gap today cause that’s like a great big series of tutorials. We are going to talk about the next step after your interview. We’re going to talk about what to do with what you get out of that interview. We’re also going to talk a little bit about what happens before the interview too so you can feel really good. We kind of bookend that interview.
Well so Nikki, we’ve known each other for a couple of years now and you were just in my mastermind. You have written emails for us, you just put together a kick ass funnel for us. We’re super stoked about it. And that’s going to be going up really soon. So I was like, “Girl, come in and teach people.” So now you’re going to teach us some things because he did a bunch of interviews to get our copy written as well as other research. So I’m going to let you take over, teach us.

Nikki Elbaz: Cool. Okay. We’ll do that all. I’m going to share my screen.

Joanna Wiebe: Cool.

Nikki Elbaz: Okay. Let me know if you can see emphasis going to go. Going to go in present mode.

Joanna Wiebe: Yes.

Nikki Elbaz: Where’s that pause? There. Cool. Can you see?

Joanna Wiebe: Yes.

Nikki Elbaz: Cool. Okay. So like Jo said, we are going to go through like a little bit of the before and the after of customer interviews. So how you go in and out of a customer interviews so you get conversion where the responses that you actually use to inform your copy because there’s nothing worse than doing a whole bunch of interviews and then having nothing to show for it or having way too much to show for it where you don’t even know where to even begin. So we’re going to solve that problem. And of course we use gifs.

So this is a typical before when you’re running an interview, hyperventilate much. We are going to try to stop that. And then this is a typical after. Where is that paper? Yeah, so you could end up, if you run your interview well and you end up with all this data, you’re kind of stuck wondering like where’s that one piece of data that I know would make the most amazing CTA copy? And you can’t find it anywhere because you didn’t organize.

So we are going to solve that was two big problems and do awesome copy. So I kind of want to talk a little bit about how I came to my system. I come from a branding background. I work for a branding agency. I did branding as a freelancer for a while. The thing with branding is that we talk to customers obviously, but it’s a lot of speculation and thoughts versus concrete reality of what the decision was and what the use cases were and things like that.

So when I moved into conversion copywriting, I was kind of stuck with customer interviews because I also was coming from this framework of the customer is always right and you listened to the customer. and I would kind of just let the customers lead the interviews and then I was frustrated because I didn’t get any good information. Obviously, I got some information, but I didn’t get the like real emotional voice of customer, like sticky stuff that you really want to be hearing.

I did a little research and tried to figure out what makes a good messaging interview and then I ran into the second problem of having too much data that I wasn’t using. So I would take one piece of data and turn it into a headline. But seven interviews does not equal out if you just write a headline. So I had to create a system to organize all that data and that’s what I want to teach now.

So there were two things that helped me when I was learning customer interviews and that helped me run better interviews. And the first thing was just a more of an emotional stay calm kind of thing because you’re talking to a random stranger and it could get a little like scary, was just focusing on interview and looking at it as more of a conversation and a dialogue, and the ability to learn about people because even though many of us are introverts and it’s a little scary to talk to random strangers, there’s a reason we love copywriting. We love learning about buying decisions and human psychology and all this good, beautiful stuff. So just focusing on that and that took.

That shifted the focus off of me and how I was feeling and I’m meeting this random stranger and like I have to ask good questions and all this stressful stuff. And it was more like, hey, let me explore, let me talk to this person and explore and hear their perspective and learn about their experience.
So that helped a ton. That’s a little fluffier. Here’s a more tactical kind of thing. The second thing was that I needed to go in with a goal, so I needed to stop putting the customer in the drivers seat and I needed to start running the interviews and finding out what I wanted to accomplish, and accomplishing it. So I did that with a few things. One thing really that’s broken down into a few things.

So I called them core questions. Before I go into any interview, I identify my core questions. What am I trying to accomplish? And I do that by asking two questions. What am I writing and what is my one readers stage of awareness? Now quick recap on stage of awareness. You want to match your customer, your one reader with where they’re at when they first encounter your copy.

So they could know they have a problem, but not know that there’s a solution for it. They can know there’s a solution but not know that your product is the number one solution for their problems. So there’s five stages of awareness and based on where they are, there’s certain elements that you want to lead with. You want to like for example, talk about the benefits if the customer is shopping around for solutions.

So this is not exactly black and white. You always lead with benefits if you are a solution where kind of thing. But these are kind of like the framework to put in place. And when you know who where your customer is at, where your one reader is at, then you can put your script together based on what you should be leading with. So you want to ask questions that will inform your lead. So for example, if you ask “What word would you use to define the product?” that can help with identity, which will help your unaware prospect. If you ask what was the tipping point that led you to buy the product, then you are helping to understand what the pains were, which will help your problem aware prospect.

If you ask, “If the product disappeared, what would you miss the most?” Then you are learning the benefits of the product and that can help your solution aware prospect. If you ask, “What ultimately led you to go ahead with the decision to buy product?” then you’re going to learn some differentiators which will help your product aware prospects. And if you ask “If there’s something you’re trying to accomplish that you can’t with product?” then you’ll learn what they’re missing and how you can incentivize them to help you’re most aware of prospects.

So obviously this is one question and you’re going to be asking a half an hour’s worth of questions, but you’re using this information to help inform your script.

Joanna Wiebe: Yep.

Nikki Elbaz: Does that make sense?

Joanna Wiebe: I love it. It’s awesome. I know a lot of other things will fall out of these questions, but none the less, there’s still like, it’s so good. And I chatted to everybody’s screenshot this. So if you’re on a Mac, command + shift + 3, screen shot that, yeah, because it’s just really helpful. Awesome. Love it.

Nikki Elbaz: Cool. And I think that’s why organizing data is so important when you’ve said like a lot of other things will fall out of it because you, you will find out so much when you ask this question. So you can’t just put all this into pain because then they’ll also talk about other aspect that you then have to put somewhere else. So you’re like learning so much, you have to end up organizing it. That was just a thought.

Joanna Wiebe: Yeah.

Nikki Elbaz: So, but what happens if you ask yourself these questions and the answer is you have no idea? And this happens when a client comes to you and says like, “Hey, we want to write a nurturing funnel” and then you kind of look at their data and their problems they are struggling with and you see that, no, really they actually want a sales funnel and maybe they need to optimize the product or maybe actually they need to start with the website.
Anytime you’re doing more strategy for a client, that’s when you kind of want to go take a step back and find your core questions with what the amazing value of … Oops, sorry. it’s Get uplift called the four helpful lists. You get together with your clients in a meeting and brainstorm, just like fill out this chart with everything and anything of what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s missing and what’s confusing. And that will help you see what you need to be writing and what your prospect’s stage of awareness is. And then you could go back to that step of figuring out where your question line is and what you need to be leading with. Does that make sense?

Joanna Wiebe: Yes. I think in practice it’ll help to actually get into doing the work. But yes, as a concept, totally makes sense. Yes, absolutely. Yes.

Nikki Elbaz: Oh, we like that. So, okay. That was the before. Any questions on the before or should we move into the after and organizing?

Joanna Wiebe: So there is a question. Back on the screen. I mentioned that a recent screen shot Martha asked about problem product questions. She said that both looks similar. So the problem, what was the tipping point of led you to buy and what else was it led you to go ahead with a decision to buy, that those both feel like they’re the same question, but they’re nuanced. But do you have any thoughts on that?

Nikki Elbaz: Yeah, I think that the problem is more talking about, what led them to buy, what in their life was happening before that really led them to start searching for a solution. Whereas, it is a slight differentiator. And I, I actually would rephrase the tipping one to talk one more like that. And then the product one is more, once they’re in the throes of decision making, like what really pushed them, what really pushed them. Does that make sense?

Joanna Wiebe: Yeah. So it could be like what was the tipping point that led you to go looking for X product rather than necessarily the buy. Yeah, but even the black question could still help uncover things for problem awareness.

Nikki Elbaz: Yeah, right. If you’re talking tipping point in life, it brings up more stuff about life then like what ultimately led you is like when you’re in that decision making process. And that’s the beauty of organizing it according to what you’re trying to accomplish.

Joanna Wiebe: Yeah. Dig it. And somebody just mentioned also as she was reading through and she said in chat, a problem question seems to be about the customer or you to at least phrase it like it’s about the customer versus the product question being more about the product. So like what about the product ultimately led you to go ahead with the decision to buy versus like what other things? So, okay, cool. I don’t want to interrupt this any further, but yeah. Awesome. Thank you for clarifying.

Nikki Elbaz: Yeah. Cool. Okay. So let’s just go back to clean up time. Okay. So yeah, we’re going to organize all this stuff up. And when you want to know how you organize, who do you ask? Of course, Marie Kondo and you get to edit a little bit. Keep only those things that speak to your readers heart. And when I found when I was trying to organize was that I would get really attached to the full transcript and it would be really hard for me to throw out the pieces that were not important. So I realized I had to get rid of the stuff that was not helping me and then I could organize what was helping me.
And I’ll show you of how I do that obviously together. We’re going to do it together. So I’m going to show you the sheet and then we are going to just kind of practice with some examples. So the picture of the baby is because the client example that I’m giving is a doula, which is also a birth coach. Some people call it. Just it’s a professional who gives emotional and physical support to women’s during childbirth. So I picked this example because childbirth has a lot of pain, and it has a lot of emotions. So it’s a good transcript to grow through.
So, yeah. Okay. So I was writing a website, and my one reader stage of awareness was solution aware. So that’s just to give you some background. And so the core questions that we came up with based on those things was why do women use doula’s and why do her clients choose her specifically? So those were our core questions that we were trying to accomplish. So if you go, not to this link, Sarah, will chat out the right link. You can opt-in to get the the actual worksheet. But before you do that, I’m actually going to walk you through it. So can you see the worksheet?

Joanna Wiebe: Sorry, I was on mute. Yep.

Nikki Elbaz: Okay, cool. Okay, so I just want to let you know that you did not have to frantically write down the steps because your copy of the worksheet will have directions. So if you watch the walkthrough, then the directions are just kind of a prompt to remember exactly how to do it. Cool?

Joanna Wiebe: Nice, Nice.

Nikki Elbaz: Cool. Okay. So the first thing you want to do before you even start interviewing is to open up this tab that says core questions and fill out your core questions. So in this case, we had, why do use doula’s and why do her clients choose her specifically? And then you go into your interviewee list and you just put in all the people that you invite to the interview. Persona type, by the way, in case you’re interviewing different types of personas, like for example, if we wanted to talk to women who did hospital births and women who did home births, we would organize according to persona type.
And I like to put in everyone that I interview. I mean that I reached out to and then understand if I put whether, they stay know whether they just don’t respond, and the people that I actually interview, the people that cancel, all that kind of stuff just to have it all in one place. So yeah, you put that in there and you end up filling out this part before your interview. Cool. And then after your interview, I’ll sometimes update the status. So like I’ll say like interview done and then like, organization done. I end up kind of like going through the stages of what is done in the status. So then once you run an interview, you make a copy of this tab and you name it the customer’s name and then … whoops.
And then you fill out this section right over here, initial impressions right after the interview. Give yourself a buffer in between interviews and just get your thoughts out just because some of that stuff could be really helpful and useful and interesting. You want to ask yourself, what’s intriguing you the most right now? What’s in sync with what you expected? What’s different or surprising, what’s similar to other interviews, experiences, what’s different than other interviewees experiences? And obviously these two, you can only ask after you do more than one interview. Impressionable quotes and miscellaneous impressions, catch all for anything else that’s just interesting for you.

Joanna Wiebe: Nice.

Nikki Elbaz: So that’s what you fill out immediately after the interview. Then once you get your transcript back and remember, you should not be taking notes, you should be getting a transcript, that’s when you start filling out all this stuff. So basically these are the categories that I find myself using again and again. But sometimes there’ll be more or less depending on interviews. Sometimes I end up adding in something extra. So you just want to put in the categories and what I like to do is I put in the header of like what the actual motivation was and then I’ll back it up with the quotes, will put each of their quotes over here.
So as you go through the transcript, you just start pulling the pieces and say, okay, this line is an objection. I’m going to put it in the objection part. And put the header of like what the objection actually is an actual quote and you just start filling out like, “Oh, this piece of data is about her referral source. How she found that doula. This piece of data is about competition.” Unexpected benefits and detriments. Recommendations. What would she say if she was recommending her to a friend?
Anything that’s really emotional and interesting. That goes over there. I have a place for miscellaneous information, interesting use cases. This one is partly because I have a hard time letting go. But partly because it does end up getting useful. But like if someone tells me something that I don’t think will resonate with a lot of people, but it’s just really intriguing, I’ll put it in interesting use cases. Sometimes it’s useful, sometimes it’s not. But yeah, I think it’s interesting to keep in the interesting stuff and not lose that in like the big huge transcript.
I’ll also put in repeated instances so if someone will say something like, again and again if they say like if they keep mentioning something then I know that’s important. So I’ll put it there. And then sticky messaging is anything that is like interesting terms of phrase or ways of explaining things or just like a really beautiful verbal picture. Anything that they think will make for really good copy that’s going to go in there.
And then finally I put in action items. So if anything came up in the interview that needs a follow up, like getting them in touch with support or realizing that this person would be great to write a testimonial. A problem with an incentive, anything that I actually have to do about whatever came up in the interview that goes under action items.
And then after I do all of that, a scroll up to the top and I put tags just for easy sorting. So if I know that there was some random data point about topic X, I could just kind of like scroll through each of the tabs of the customer and find that data point a little more easily. I just want to show you what it looks like when all filled out.
Lot of data. This is from one and a half an hour interior. By the way. It takes about like 20 minutes to half an hour to do this for each interviewee, but it saved you so much time. So don’t let that stop you. And yeah, it looks really overwhelming, but it’s not, because if let’s say you are writing an FAQ email, like an updated FAQ email, then you’re just going to objections and you find the data point that you need. And even more, what I like to do is I’d like to then make a master list. So if I know that I need to talk about motivations, then I’ll just go into every customer’s sheet and just copy this whole section and just put it over here. Make and motivations master list. And I always do that for sticky messaging. There’s always a master list of sticky messaging cause it’s just like good language and stuff. But, you could do it with any section that you know that you need.
So that is the overview and now we are going to do on ourself. So, okay, so this transcript is actually a mush, a bunch of different transcripts. And it’s a pseudonym. I edited it because I do promise anonymously with the recording, so just wanted to throw that out there. Okay, so this one, this little data point is where she’s talking about how she had an epidural with her first baby. And then she hired the doula for her second baby. So she was saying I would have felt strange having a doula there. Like why are you hearing this? Like it was actually a very intimate, beautiful birth. It would have felt weird to have a stranger there because I didn’t need the emotional or physical pain support once that epidural kicked in.
So what would you pull from this?

Joanna Wiebe: Which parts would you pull?

Nikki Elbaz: And where would you put them?

Joanna Wiebe: Oh, good Lord. Anybody have any thoughts on this?

Nikki Elbaz: Hint? You could pull more than one.

Joanna Wiebe: Objecting for an epidural injection would’ve felt weird. Yeah. Just everybody’s saying objection would’ve felt strange. Okay. What are your thoughts Nikki?

Nikki Elbaz: So, yeah, I pulled, I would have felt strange having a doula there, like why are you hearing this? Weird to have a stranger here. That went into objections. And then I also took a very intimate, beautiful birth because that’s an interesting turn of phrase about what the person wants to like visualize her birth as what she actually wants to experience. So I go into the sheet and put it into objections. So again, I put the header here of, kind of intrusive to have a stranger and birth. And then I put the quote here of it would have felt strange and that exact language that she uses.
And then I go down to a sticky messaging and I put in intimate, beautiful birth. Cool?

Joanna Wiebe: Yeah.

Nikki Elbaz: Cool. All right. We have two more examples to prac-

Joanna Wiebe: Two more? Okay, Cool. Cool. And then start loading up any questions you might have for Nikki in the Q&A area because we’ll jump into Q&A right after these two.

Nikki Elbaz: So basically, she was talking about how I’m in her ninth month, it’s suddenly hit her that the baby was going to come out and she was terrified. So she said, “I was almost mentally fighting it tooth and nail. I really, really just wanted to hit undo. I wanted to hit undo and I kept hoping like, ‘Okay, maybe, I don’t know, there’s some kind of magical surgery or like it felt, it was, it was very scary for me.'”

Joanna Wiebe: Okay. So go for it guys. Anything in here, what would you do? Where would you put it? Hit undo is to key messaging? Magical surgery. Yeah, other than said magical surgery. Most of it’s sticky. Yeah. I mean, yeah, [inaudible 00:24:43] it’s like most of it is. Jody says all of it too.

Nikki Elbaz: So yeah, I ended up pulling a lot of this because this was like a really cool insight and this really informed the page a lot. So I would put some of this and sticky, but I also put it in heightened emotion because this was like a really interesting piece to where she was really like feeling the emotion, the fear.

Joanna Wiebe: Yeah. I was thinking that with all the ums and the likes and the clearly like, it kind of [inaudible 00:25:18] what she was saying, there’s something there. Right? That feels emotional. Yeah. Nice.

Nikki Elbaz: Yeah. And that’s why I like to get, what’s it called when you ordered the transcripts that are … Oh, verbatim.

Joanna Wiebe: Oh, where it removes the spoken pauses and things? Yeah. Yeah. That’s good.

Nikki Elbaz: Because they relay their clues. They’re really verbal quotes. I also put it in motivations because that was why she wanted a doula was because she was scared. So, yeah.
Last one.

Joanna Wiebe: Last one.

Nikki Elbaz: It was interesting, I didn’t want to be a burden on my husband, almost in a sense, I kind of wonder if he was scared too. It’s kind of a scary thing to see your wife all of a sudden transform into this crazy woman screaming.

Joanna Wiebe: This is hilarious. This one person. I mean ends a sticky note. It’s just obviously, yeah. So Neta says, “Motivation is the key for the husband for emotional support just beside the husband’s outside of the husband’s support alone.”

Nikki Elbaz: Yeah. So I put it in all those places and then I also put it in unexpected benefits and detriments because this is something, maybe this wasn’t super clear in the beginning, but, this is something where she was saying like, “Oh, it’s interesting” and she was kind of reflecting on it. So, I also put it in unexpected benefits because she didn’t think about it until afterwards.

Joanna Wiebe: Fun.

Nikki Elbaz: Cool?

Joanna Wiebe: Dope. Yeah. That’s awesome.

Nikki Elbaz: So that is that. Practice makes perfect. You will not be perfect right away, but that’s okay. This is part of learning and growing and you’ll be awesome. So just do it.

Joanna Wiebe: Do it.

Nikki Elbaz: And then, because I know Jo will ask, here’s my information.

Joanna Wiebe: Nice.
And there’s also all the information on getting ahold of Nikki on Twitter, watching on YouTube. I think, is that with Sophia, you and Sophia?

Nikki Elbaz: Yes. The brilliant Sophia.

Joanna Wiebe: Cool. So-

Nikki Elbaz: It’s called Selling with Science.

Joanna Wiebe: Selling with science on YouTube, check that out. Following up with questions. She asks in a further email for those who do subscribe. I would also got Nikki’s post on interviewing coming out hopefully this week. So Nikki, thanks for being so bad ass with interviewing. Thank you for having me and thank you for having.

Nikki Elbaz: Yeah. All right. And thank you everybody for sticking around and participating so well. And we will see you in our next tutorial Tuesday. Have a great week guys. Bye.

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