An on-camera customer testimonial involves you having a conversation with your customer on camera. We call that an interview.
Is there an art to having a great conversation? We’ve all had great conversations. Conversations that we wished would last forever. These are the conversations that change our lives.
There are, most certainly, bad conversations. Conversations that we knew would suck before anyone opened their mouths.
You (or someone else) asks your customer questions about their experience using your business or product, and you use that footage to make a customer testimonial. It’s just a simple conversation caught on camera.
Let’s face it. Some people are very good at having conversations. And some people? Well, I’m trying to be gentle when I say, they should probably just drop it in an email.
I’m lucky enough to be paid to have conversations. Companies pay me to interview their customers on camera. It’s a kick-ass job, and I love it.
Over the years, I’ve conducted a lot of interviews. Some of the people that I’ve interviewed have had a lot of experience being interviewed. Some didn’t have any experience at all. Over that time, I’ve learned a lot about having conversations with people on camera.
What I’ve learned is, there’s a lot of factors that determine whether a conversation is going to be good or bad. Some of these factors you can control. Some elements are totally outside of your control.
But, just like the adage says, “Measure Twice, Cut Once.” There are some factors that you can control. There are some things you can do before you even begin the interview to give you a better shot at having a great conversation.
Tip #1- Schedule the Interview in the AM.
So, you have a customer who’s agreed to sit for an on-camera interview that you’ll use to turn into a customer testimonial. My first bit of advice would be to schedule that conversation for the morning.
Interviews that took place in the morning just tend to be better than interviews that take place in the afternoon. I don’t know why this is. I just know that it is so.
In the dozens and dozens of interviews that I’ve done, I’ve noticed that people tend to drag in the afternoon. They have less energy. People overall have less focus, and they tend to be less assertive in the afternoon.
The author, Daniel Pink lays out a strong argument for human beings performing in the morning in his book, “When.” Pink details through statistics and data, that human beings tend to perform better in the morning. 80% of the population tests better, works more efficiently, makes less mistakes, and is more alert during the first seven hours of being awake. Therefore, if a person is keeping a traditional schedule, they’re more engaged, more energetic, and more productive in the hours from 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
Now, will there be exceptions to the rule? For sure. If you’re going to interview Marilyn Manson or Jack White, then yeah, they probably keep a different schedule than most people. I’d go for a nighttime interview.
But, for the most part, people are more enthusiastic in the morning. It stands to reason that you’ll get a better interview during those times. They will pick up on questions better, give more positive answers, and just seem more alert.
Tip #2- Schedule the Interview for One Hour
My second tip is to schedule the interview for no more than an hour.
Think of the interview as a workout. When you get an hour-long workout, the first 10 minutes are warm-up. You may do some exercises to loosen up. You may move at 50% speed. The point is to get in the flow, so you don’t hurt yourself, and you perform optimally.
When you’re ready to shoot the interview, sit your subject in the chair. Turn on the camera and then just start having a conversation for 10 minutes.
Ask your subject some general questions about themselves. Get them used to talking about themselves and engaging with you. Get them used to being on camera and try to get them to stop thinking about the camera.
Ask them chit-chatty questions like…
- What did you have for breakfast?
- Where did you grow up?
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What do you like to do in your free time?
- Did you see the game last night? Can you believe what Lebron did?
Will you ever use these answers? No way. But that’s not the goal. The goal is to get them comfortable with the atmosphere.
After you feel like your subject is warmed up and engaged, start asking some of the questions you have about your business. Try to get a rhythm going and try to make the interview conversational. If your subject needs a break, give them a break. But, only five-minute breaks. They call it Take-5 for a reason.
You are going to get about 30 to 40 minutes of a quality interview performance from your subject. They only have the energy to last an hour, especially if they’re not used to being interviewed.
After that, it’s the “law of diminishing returns.” You can keep going and asking more questions, but you’ll get less the longer you go.. It’s going to be harder to mine the good quality responses.
Tip #3- Prepare Your Questions with the End Goal In Mind
The last tip for setting you up for success in an interview- Really prepare your questions beforehand. But, don’t just write out your questions. Reverse engineer the whole process.
Write out all the things that you would love to hear somebody say about your business. Every dream compliment and everything that you think makes your company unique. Think of messaging that would move the needle for a prospective customer to hear. Then, figure out how to ask questions that will get your subject to give those sorts of answers.
Now, I’m not telling you to tell your customers what to say. The questions should be open-ended and allow for your subject to answer in their own words.
Will your customer take you in a new direction and give you answers you weren’t expecting? Absolutely and you should follow them in whatever direction they take you
But, those answers you designed are important. If you have a list of things that you’re shooting for, it gives you a way of focusing your interview. You’ll probably get something more organic that’s way better than what you had even thought you’d get. And, if you’re able to get a response, that’s like the response you’d hope for, perfect. The rest of the interview is gravy at that point.
Conducting an interview is just having a great conversation. You have to create an atmosphere where two people can have a relaxed and energetic back and forth. Think about creating this atmosphere before you even think about the interview itself, and you’ll be in great shape.