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My (Probably Lousy) Idea Du Jour: A Site For Streamlining Interviews

Over at Capulet, we do a fair bit of business writing. It’s mostly for our technology clients, and usually white papers, web content and so forth. We regularly do case studies, which are short documents describing how our client’s customers happily used their products or services.

This involves interviewing our client’s customers, which is harder than it sounds. The customers are busy, and random interviews with service providers are often a low priority.

I was trying to think of a way to make the process simpler, and wondered if there would be a market for a site that facilitated interviews:

  • It might offer similar functionality to When Is Good, enabling the interviewer and interviewees to agree to a time.
  • There would be some kind of form-creation service, so that interviewers could create interview templates for interviewees to complete.
  • Interviewees could type in their answers, record an audio answer using their computer’s microphone, or maybe call a number where they’re asked each question by a creepy computer voice and their answers are recorded.
  • Maybe there’s a kind of sign-off or approval process which enables interviewees to review the final interview text.

Even as I write this it seems like nail in search of a hammer, but I’m curious what you think. Is this a stupid idea, or just marginally idiotic?

4 Responses to “My (Probably Lousy) Idea Du Jour: A Site For Streamlining Interviews”

  1. James

    I don’t think it’s a dumb idea. People could also use it for testimonials. That made me try to think of a name, but everything my hamster could come up with reminded me of testes.

    Balls.

  2. Kristine

    Hi Darren, I used to manage case studies at Crystal and then wrote these as well for clients – agreed it was always a hard process to get a hold of customers & then getting their approval was the hardest – my trick was always to get them the case study super quick after the call as I found I got better responses that way. And I had thought of the form idea in the past! Others too: check out the customer vignettes form at http://www.mindjet.com/whymindjet/customers/default.aspx, I like it too because it also produces a shorter, more web friendly case study. You could use http://www.wufoo.com to do the forms, I use them they’re good.
    Kristine

  3. Shawn

    Darren,
    Have you ever seen Peopleized! located at http://www.peopleized.com ? Honestly, I am not connected with this site in any way though I was interviewed by one of the founders back in April 2007 when I was working on a different blog. My recollection is that there was some kind of e-mailed form you filled out like creating your bio on a social network site but somewhat more involved. The format is probably more journalistic (as in Rolling Stone) than you might be considering, but it still may be proof a more business oriented version is workable.

  4. Penny McKinlay

    Hi Darren, I’ve only just found your website – hence the late response. I have spent much of this winter doing hour-long interviews with key stakeholders in two municipal projects. I then sit down and write a report synthesizing their feedback. I also work with a software company, which prints interviews with satisfied customers in their monthly newsletter. I don’t think that a form could possibly substitute for a live interviewer. I want to catch the emotion and the anecdotes. I want the ability to follow up on a comment with a whole different set of questions. I think you would get very short, uninformative responses to an online form – unless the individual somehow stood to gain (e.g. their profile in a national magazine), but if they’re doing it to help you, forget it. You want those personal comments, like, “Yeah, the software is great because I have carpal tunnel and don’t have to do so much data entry any more.” You may be looking for much less feedback than I am, but I assume you still want solid quotes that have clout and will help market the product.

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