Once you’ve decided to run a round of user interviews and know what you want to learn, one of the first question you might have is, who can I learn this from?
The short answer to that question is that it should be someone who is either a current customer or a potential customer - someone who fits into that category (you will waste your time talking to someone who will never be a customer and probably doesn’t think like your customers). If you’re not sure if they are or not that should be discovered at the beginning of your call.
I have a personal preference of talking with paying customers. The reason I prefer this is that they clearly pass the first test of a current customer and they’ve shown that they value your product enough to pay for it. There is a lot you can learn from this group of people!
You might have read or heard the argument that you shouldn’t only talk to customers. The reason this argument exists is that they say you’ll hear one biased perspective. I disagree.
If you can ask the right questions and conduct your interviews correctly, you’ll find paying customers that both love and hate your product. In fact, talking to paying customers who hate your product but still use it holds some of the deepest insights.
Also, if you ask questions in the right way, you will not introduce any bias into your questions anyway. So, regardless of their feelings about your product you can gather valuable insights.
On top of both of those reasons, talking to customers who pay for your product and love it holds some incredible and important insights as well.
The key is to get variety. And that should come naturally. Not all your customers love your product. Some might not like it but continue to use it. When you sample from paying customers you should get that variety.