You’re preparing to develop your SaaS product’s newest feature. You’ve gone through the idea stage, gotten stakeholder buy-in, and even have a prototype. Now, it’s time to validate your product to ensure it meets the needs of your users. The best way to go about this? Ask your users for their feedback.
Validating through customer feedback steers your team directly toward what your users need. However, the specific questions you ask will impact the information you get back. So, what are the “right” questions to ask?
The best user feedback questions prompt your customer to reveal their pain points and show how they’ll use your features. Gathering specific, detailed answers to the most important questions you have for your users gets you on the same page with what they need—and reaching that understanding will help you create a more valuable product.
How User Feedback Impacts Your Product’s SuccessGathering user feedback is a critical part of product validation, but simply asking for user opinions may not be enough to guide your team. The way you ask your questions matters, and when you ask questions designed to elicit clear, actionable responses, feedback becomes the direct line to your customer—their problems and preferred solutions. If you don’t know enough about your customers’ needs, your new product feature won’t improve their overall experience.
Try to ask the right questions while following best practices:
This process ensures that you’re creating valuable, customer-centric products—and building customer loyalty and retention. Focus your questions on the key points you’re trying to validate, like whether your customers are utilizing a feature the way you intended them to. Try to keep your feedback surveys and respondents directed toward answering those crucial questions so you can collect the metrics you need to move product development forward.
If you’re developing a feature that addresses a new problem for your users or you’re expanding into a new market, conducting market research and determining your target audience’s pain points can help guide your development. Ask questions that will give you a clear look into your users’ current experience. These questions can fit within a survey, where you would typically format questions as multiple choice, or you can ask them as open-ended questions during an interview or focus group.
Gathering demographic information lets you compare and contrast different segments when you analyze your user feedback results. For instance, someone who works in sales won’t use your product in the same manner that someone in the customer success department will. Consider questions that focus on the user’s title, industry, and job duties.
Asking users about their current habits helps you get a picture of how they solve their problems so you can identify their pain points. It’s good for checking your understanding of what your customers do right now, and it can reveal opportunities for your product to solve users’ problems more effectively.
For example, if you’re developing a new feature for your budgeting product that lets users upload receipts directly to their records, asking how they currently track expenses helps you assess their steps. Do they manually enter information and upload a scanned receipt as a backup? Can you reduce their steps by automating the process?
Asking this is a powerful way to get valuable insight into your users’ needs because they tell you, in no uncertain terms, what their pain points are. If your users say their current process for inputting receipts “takes too long,” there’s an opportunity for you to create a faster solution.
This question allows you to identify specific opportunities where your product can add value for your users. If the participant uses a competitor’s product, it’s also great for uncovering weak spots—what doesn’t your competition provide that users wish they did?
These questions ask for people’s opinions about your specific feature. These are crucial for getting a good understanding of customer sentiment. If feedback suggests that users don’t find the feature useful or valuable, you can use that information to make improvements.
Asking about your user’s expectations for the feature can offer a check on how you’ve described and marketed it—if their expectations are off, the feature description may not be clear enough.
This question has two parts. First, describe your product feature to your respondents. If you’re surveying outside of your existing customers, try to provide more context about your product—offer respondents whatever details they need to come to an informed opinion. Then ask an open-ended question about their expectations for your feature.
It’s important that users have a clear understanding of what problem your intended feature solves for them. If they don’t, you may need to change the way you’ve explained it. For best results, try to describe your feature in a way that’s understandable, not overly technical, and descriptive without being vague or flowery.
Tip: If you’re struggling to get this balance right, UserVoice Validation can help.
This question directly asks for your users’ preferences and identifies which components or functions of your feature best meet their needs. By asking users to choose their favorite part of your feature, you get a clear look into which aspects are most important to them.
Format this as multiple choice on surveys while including an “other” option with an open-ended comment box. This can be an open-ended question for interviews and focus groups—and an opportunity to ask a follow-up question on why your respondents prefer one feature over another.
Another option for a survey is to format this as a rank-by-choice question. If you follow that route, list out the possible features and ask users to rank them based on their preference.
This question, developed by Hacking Growth author Sean Ellis, is a helpful way to measure whether your feature has product-market fit. If at least 40% of customers would be very disappointed if you discontinued your product feature, that shows that they find it truly valuable.
When formatting this question, include answer options for:
You’ll need customers who are familiar with your product feature to get the best insights out of this question. Ellis also recommends segmenting your responses based on the number of times customers have used the feature and how recently they last interacted with it.
Asking about this directly can help you spot instances where there’s a mismatch between what you intend your feature to do, and the potential users see in it. If your intended use isn’t immediately clear, you may need to change the way you describe it.
Format this as a multiple-choice question on a survey, while including options for:
This is an open-ended question in an interview or focus group discussion. In those scenarios, you can reword it as a two-part question: “Would you use this feature? How?”
Building an opt-in into your feedback-collection process gives you a contact list of prospects to target once you have a release date. Best yet, these prospects are familiar with your feature and already excited about it.
This works as a yes-or-no question on surveys and in focus groups or interviews. Include an opt-in box on an online survey or a spot on your questionnaire where they can share their email address.
Tip: If your respondents are in the European Union, be sure you’re in compliance with the GDPR data protection requirements.
Closing with an open-ended question like, “Do you have additional comments?” offers a final opportunity for your users to answer questions they weren’t asked during your survey or interview. You may get totally unique insights from these—including suggestions for additional functionality that your team hadn’t even considered.
As a general rule of thumb, keep this question optional. If it’s required, it may affect your response rates, as some participants won’t want to add a comment.
Even if you ask the right questions during validation, it’s a good idea to continue to gauge your customer satisfaction levels and check in to make sure they’re having a positive user experience. Look for opportunities to gather existing customer feedback in addition to conducting surveys, focus groups, and interviews. Always returning to your customers’ pain points will keep your product team aligned on creating and maintaining the best product possible.