You don’t need to speak to lots of people, nor do you need to speak to them all at once. Two or three people a week is more than enough to start with.
Recent customer support wins are always a good place to start. You don’t need a complicated reason to reach out to people that have just had a great experience with customer support. Explain that you want to improve the product and you’d like to better understand how they use it. Clarifying that it will be a short call always helps.
In addition to following up on past interactions, you can begin closing out successful interactions by asking if they’d be open to schedule a quick conversation with the product team to improve the product.
The success rate on converting support calls is usually pretty high. The problem is that you don’t control who gets in touch or how often. Eventually, you will need to be able to pick who and you talk to people.
When I don’t have a specific question and I’m just listening for opportunities to improve the product then I look at last month’s activity and plot out the number of times each person performed our core action. You’ll end up with a bar chart of how many people performed how many actions.
Those who did it once or twice will be on one end, your superusers live on the other end. Filter out anyone who signed up less than a month ago and then reach out to 10 or 20 people in the top and bottom 5%.
What I’m trying to understand is the differences in the way that people on either end of this spectrum think about and use the product. Speaking to 5-6 people from each group is usually enough to get a sense of the key points of contrast in the spectrum of usage on your product.
One final approach I’ve had success with is doing in-product surveys. NPS scores and those little satisfaction ratings that show up in the corner of people’s screens. You can end a quick survey like this with a request to schedule a call.
If you have any other approaches to recruitment that have worked for you please let me know. I’ve always found getting people to sign up to be the hardest part of doing customer interviews.