Out now: Finding Clarity in Uncertainty, a how-to guide for navigating difficult economic moments. Stay informed.

Draft Interview: Know your customers. Get through this.


Are you afraid about how your customers are responding to COVID–19 – and how they’re going to act in the future? Unsure of how your store’s team should adapt to an uncertain economy & changing world?

Store owners don’t really know their customers in the best of times. Yes, customer service chats with them when something goes wrong. Or you hear anecdotes from your friends or other team members. But in our experience, most stores don’t really talk to their customers about why they buy.

It’s unfortunate, since talking to customers and responding to their needs makes you money and provides significant competitive leverage – especially in difficult markets.

How would knowing your customers’ needs help you right now?

Well, you might be more likely to make rational decisions in the middle of a profoundly challenging moment. You might stop having nightmares about what COVID–19 is going to do to your business. And you’ll be prepared to succeed in a down market.

No store owner conducts interviews for their own sake. And we know you don’t have the time to interview on your own. Recruitment is a pain. Synthesis is difficult. And if you’ve never run an interview before, trust us (and every other expert on the subject): the first few aren’t gonna go so great.

Yet there has never been an better time to interview your customers. ConversionXL agrees:

Don’t use one source of data – triangulate from a mix of data to get a data-driven roadmap on how customers have changed behavior and perceptions, and how to respond and test accordingly.

Put another way, heat maps & analytics – long the purview of optimization-focused stores – are no longer enough. You need to learn how your customers are reacting in crisis. You need to understand what their new objections are. And you need to adapt accordingly.

There are no pre-COVID stores anymore. This is the new normal.

Listen, adapt, and succeed

While COVID–19 is unprecedented in our lifetimes, we’ve been through recessions before – to the point where we already have a roadmap for addressing this one. For example, in a HBR study that assessed the impact of the 1991 recession, they said this:

Progressive companies stay closely connected to customer needs – a powerful filter through which to make investment decisions.

There is no better way to understand customer needs than through interviewing.

But we know you don’t need just interviews. Interviews alone don’t make for a better product. That’s why our consultancy doesn’t deliver interviews. Instead, we deliver evidence-based strategies, using interviews to inform what you need to do next.

What would it look like to have a clear sense of what to do in the face of global uncertainty? What would it look like to reliably roll out design decisions that meaningfully moved the needle for your business? What if you managed to turn a profit in the middle of this?

The insights you need, without the headache

For the first time, we’re offering Draft Revise’s interviews as a standalone offering. In Draft Interview, we’ll:

  • Gather a list of questions & insights that your store needs to move forward.
  • Recruit & interview between 5 & 7 customers, getting them on the phone to ask about their experience with your store. We’ll talk with each customer for between a half-hour & an hour apiece. Give us access to your order database and we’ll handle all of the logistics, scheduling, and incentives.
  • Transcribe every interview and synthesize the whole thing into actionable design insights.

And then we’ll provide a comprehensive written report containing:

  • Summaries of each interview, anonymized for privacy.
  • A write-up of strategic findings that are grounded in the specific needs that your participants have.
  • All of the evidence-based tactics that your store can take now to respond to the new normal, especially around experiment ideas, copy plans, and guidelines about voice & tone.
  • Direct quotes from your customers that can be used for voice-of-customer copy all over every marketing & sales effort that you can think of.

Who’ll be helping you

Nick Disabato

I’m Nick Disabato, a designer and writer from Chicago. Most people call me nickd, though. My work has generated over $6 million in additional revenue for awesome businesses like The Wirecutter, ConvertKit, Cards Against Humanity, Smart Marketer, Planet of the Vapes, and New Music USA. “He” & “they” pronouns are fine for me.

I’m probably most well-known for writing Cadence & Slang, a small book about interaction design that’s repeatedly been called the most essential resource for building usable & humane technology. It’s sold over 3,500 copies and counting. More recently, I’ve also written Value-Based Design, the definitive answer to how design can economically help business.

Learn what will work for you. Learn what to do next.

Your competitors are putting their spending on hold – which eliminates any chance of their gaining an advantage. Meanwhile, you have a tremendous opportunity to double down on activities that have low risk and high ROI. Interviewing is proven to work – and you want to know what on earth is going on, especially now.

Our interviewing alone has generated millions in revenue for our clients. As Patrick Bissen of Planet of the Vapes said:

If you are doing at least 7 figures online, working with Draft is a no-brainer. Nick and team will deliver results that pay back now and into the future. And even more valuable than the work that Draft delivered, they upskilled our entire organization by infusing design thinking and optimization into our culture, which will continue to pay dividends for years to come.

And according to BOOM! by Cindy Joseph’s CEO, Ezra Firestone:

Nick has been AMAZING to work with. So knowledgeable and easy going. Suggests changes, implements them, and helps us grow our business. All the while being super communicative and easy to deal with. Can’t ask for more than that.

Draft Interview’s fees are $6,000 for a single round of interviews, or $15,000 for three monthly rounds over the course of one quarter, payable upfront. If you’ve never interviewed before, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll make our fees back by an order of magnitude.

If you want to start making more money by responding to your customers’ real-world needs, fill out this application and we’ll get back to you in a day or so:

Apply for Draft Interview →

Once you’ve applied, we’ll give you a free copy of our latest mini-book, Finding Clarity in Uncertainty: How to Win in Ecommerce During Tough Times, as a small token of our appreciation.

You might also want to take a look at Draft Interview’s terms & conditions, if you’re curious.

Thanks so much for reading, and we hope you’re staying safe and healthy. You’ve got this.

Nick Disabato

PS: If Draft Interview isn’t a good fit for you right now, you may want to sign up for Revise Weekly, our series of actionable, valuable lessons about value-based design & optimization.