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Product discovery: what to ask your customers (with 27 example questions)

To create a product that delivers real value to your users, you need a crystal-clear picture of what they need and why they need it.

But people’s needs evolve—and your product needs to evolve with them.

Last updated

14 Jan 2022

Understanding how to shape your product for the user isn’t a one-off—it’s a learning process that requires seeing your product from your users' perspective, gaining a full appreciation of their concerns, and working to exceed their expectations.

Developing product discovery questions is an essential part of that learning process—what better way to find out what your users think than to ask? This article gives you a comprehensive breakdown of how to craft those questions and get the actionable product insights you need.

Use Hotjar to discover the truth about your product

Hotjar lets you empathize with users, understand their experience, and uncover product discovery insights.

Product discovery questions: what do you want to discover?

Asking the right product discovery questions gives you insight into your product from the users' perspective. But you don’t want to hear unfocused musings about your product; you want valuable and actionable insights.

To fully benefit from the questioning process, you need to: 

  • Define goals for your research

  • Build context around the user’s point of view

  • Explore their motivations for using your product, or their jobs to be done (JTBD)

  • Reveal their feelings in response to your product

  • Dig into what they really want

When you have success in each of these discovery areas, you can empathize with customers, be responsive to their problems, and build a product they'll love. 

Here are a few tips to get you started:

Define goals for your research

Before you begin, define your objectives so you can come up with more focused questions that'll lead to actionable findings. For example:

You might want to find the answers to specific questions about your product or your competition, like:

  • Why users don’t convert

  • What their goals are when using your product

  • What alternative solutions they value and why

Or you might be focused on a specific result, like

  • Presenting evidence of user needs to key stakeholders 

  • Reducing user churn within a certain demographic

With clear objectives for your product discovery questions, you’ll be in a better position to decide who to question, how to question them, and what questions to ask. 

Build context around the users' perspective

Understanding a user’s lifestyle, interests, and concerns brings context to their problem—and with that insight you can provide them with the right solution. 

To build context around the users' perspective, split your user research into three main areas:

  • User attributes: a set of facts about your user, for example, their location, their industry, their role, when they first used your product, and why they started using it.

  • Behavior: what are they doing or thinking about when using your product? What can you learn about the environment they’re in—is it the workplace, their home? Is it peaceful or stressful? Are they focused when they use your product or are they distracted?

  • Attitude: gain insight into their opinions and interests, what’s relevant to them, their goals when they use your product, and what they value in a solution like yours.

Explore their motivations for using your product, or their JTBD

Your user's problem is the reason your product exists. As you learn more about their problem—and the barriers to resolving it—you’ll gain a better understanding of the user’s desired outcome of using your product.

One approach to understanding how your product solves a problem is with the jobs to be done (JTBD) framework, which describes your product as helping the user either perform an activity or make a desired change. When you understand why people use your product and how it helps them accomplish their JTBD, you can identify what features and functionalities your users need.

Reveal their feelings in response to your product

This category of questions is devoted to what users think and feel about your solution.

These might address: 

  • Your product’s functionality

  • Your product’s features

  • How your product looks

  • Your user’s frustrations with your product:

    • Do they understand it? 

    • Is it accessible? 

    • How much effort is required to use it? 

    • Were they satisfied with the outcome?

Dig into what they really want

In this exciting area of product discovery, you can focus your questions on what the user would like to see more of—for example, you can ask them what needs they still have that your product isn’t currently addressing. 

By digging into this area of research, you can start to bring customer delight to the user.

27 product discovery questions to ask your users

The right product discovery questions give you insight into your product from the users' perspective. But you’re better off asking different types of questions at specific phases of product discovery. We’ve compiled 27 of the best questions to ask your users and divided them into categories to help you ask them at the right stage in your discovery journey.

Who is the user?

Depending on the importance of demographics to your product, questions about the user’s age, gender, and location may be relevant—but you should also know what the user’s job is, or where and when they use your product, to give further context to the problem your product is solving and clearer insight into the user’s tasks, objectives, and pressures.

Here are some questions to help you understand who your user is:

  1. How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

  2. How did you find our site?

  3. Do you use [product or feature] for work or personal use?

  4. What else are you doing while you use our product?

  5. What do you find most useful about our product?

What problem is the user trying to solve?

Understanding the problem you can solve for your user is one of your most important challenges as a product manager, so try to mix open- and closed-ended questions to build a complete picture of your user’s concerns and desired outcomes.

Here are some questions to help define the problem your user wants to solve:

  1. Why did you start using our product?

  2. In what situations do you use [this feature]?

  3. What issues were you facing before deciding to use our product?

  4. What persuaded you to [sign up, buy, or subscribe]?

  5. How did [this feature] help you accomplish [their job to be done]?

  6. What almost stopped you from buying this product?

How can your product bring customer delight?

When you delve into the user's experience and mindset, and tap into their creativity, you can anticipate what would truly excite them and learn how your product can create customer delight—which is how to stand out from the competition.

These questions will help you innovate new features and solutions to create customer delight:

  1. What would make our product more useful?

  2. How would you like this product to help you?

  3. If you could change one feature of our product, what would that be?

  4. What would you add to [this feature]?

  5. How does this tool make your life easier?

  6. How would you change this product to make a colleague's life easier?

What was their solution before they found your product?

Ask open-ended questions to learn more about other products your customers use—to see where you can improve and what mistakes to avoid.

These questions will tell you about your user and help you better meet their needs:

  1. What solutions did you stop using when you started using our product?

  2. What products do you use that are similar to ours?

  3. In what ways do you prefer our product to others?

  4. In what ways do you prefer other products to ours?

  5. What other products and tools do you find useful to use alongside ours?

How do they feel about your solution?

Feedback questions help you better understand your user and give you a window into how they feel so you can better empathize with them—and use that empathy to build a better product.

Here are some questions to ask about how the user feels about your product:

  1. How would you rate your overall experience with our product?

  2. How easy was [this feature] to understand?

  3. On a scale from 1–5, how easy was it to accomplish tasks in our product?

  4. What would make [this feature] easier to use?

  5. Would you recommend our product to a friend or colleague?

3 tools to collect actionable product discovery insights

1. Hotjar's Incoming Feedback widget

Hotjar's Incoming Feedback widget gives you quick-fire, single-click insight from users in the wild—right while they’re in the process of interacting with your product. Acting as an on-page suggestion box, the widget is great for identifying frustrated users and spotting bugs or blockers.

Hotjar-Feedback-Widget

2. Hotjar Surveys

Set up on-site surveys on key product pages to dig deeper into the user experience with a more nuanced approach to your questioning. For example, you can ask a user why they performed a specific action or how they feel about a certain product feature.

Hotjar-On-Site-Survey

3. Customer interviews 

User and customer interviews let you spend time with a user and listen to their opinions to better understand their experience. Holding interviews with your customers is a great way to build user stories and develop case studies that will help you build a better product.

Empathize with your customer

Asking the right product discovery questions will help you empathize with your customers, understand their pain points, and learn how they experience your product.

But it’s not just important to ask the right questions at the right time: you need to use the answers your customers give you to inform how you build the product and turn it into something your users will love.

Use Hotjar to discover the truth about your product

With Hotjar, you can empathize with users, understand their experience, and gain product discovery insights.

FAQs about product discovery questions