How to conduct customer cancellation interviews in the “Job To Be Done” framework

Edited excerpt from Doing SaaS Cancellation Interviews (the Jobs-to-be-Done Way) by Ruben @bidsketch:

My favorite way to implement the Job To Be Done framework is by doing “switch interviews”, in which you focus on how the customer stopped using one product and started using another. Here’s how to do switch interviews for cancellations / churn.

Switch interviews typically last 45 minutes, so recruiting people can be a little tricky, particularly someone that just cancelled. We used an incentive ($100 Amazon gift card) and recruited inside the app.

Switch interviews focus on the actual story of someone getting fed up with a product enough to switch to something else. The decision to cancel didn’t take place the day they cancelled, so you can’t just get the story of the day they cancelled. You need to build the entire timeline of key events that led to the cancellation:  (i) first thought that the product wasn’t working for them, (ii) started considering alternatives, (iii) a time sensitive event that triggered active looking for an alternative, (iv) evaluated options and actually bought/canceled, (v) when and how they consume or use the product, and (vi) product satisfaction.

Below is our cheat sheet for these interviews:

Setting the stage

Thank them for taking the time and explain that we’re doing these interviews to learn how we can improve Bidsketch. Mention: “We love blunt feedback, so don’t worry about hurting our feelings, it’s not going to happen.”

Tell them: “We’re going to focus on the story of how you started using Bidsketch, first started struggling or not finding it helpful, and then eventually cancelled. So we’re going to ask detailed questions about where you were and what was happening, to just help paint the picture.”

Key questions

– Why did you initially sign up for Bidsketch? Did you evaluate other tools?
– When was the first time you thought that maybe Bidsketch wasn’t going to work? Or realized that you weren’t using it?
– What happened the last time that you used Bidsketch for a proposal?
– What happened the first time you had a proposal that you didn’t use Bidsketch for?
– Why did you cancel the day that you cancelled? Why that day, and not the day before or after?
– What are you using now? How did you start to prepare to use the new product (export data, etc.)?
– What happened the day you started to move to the new product/solution?
– Why did you start that day and not after?

(1) Here’s the basic framework for Job To Be Done. See the notes there.
(2) Remember that in the “Job To Be Done” framework, an alternative solution for the customer might not be a similar product, but a work-around. So don’t expect customers to switch only to competitive products.

3 thoughts on “How to conduct customer cancellation interviews in the “Job To Be Done” framework

  1. Pingback: How to reduce churn by winning back cancelled customers | A Founder's Notebook

  2. Pingback: Is your product a “must-have” according to this definition? | A Founder's Notebook

  3. Pingback: A brief summary of Job To Be Done, with 3 takeaways for product managers | A Founder's Notebook

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