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10 Questions Most PMs Haven’t Asked Their Audience (But Should)

Knowing your audience is key to being an effective product manager (PM). But traditional customer feedback is just too slow of a process to receive real-time feedback. PMs need to make critical decisions based on customer insights instead of assumptions–without sacrificing the speed of modern product development.

Let’s say you send a survey out to users who have onboarded in the last three months. Even if they onboarded a few weeks ago, the pain points that drove them at that time might not be on their minds anymore. 

To solve this problem, consider product research in the form of contextual microsurveys that integrate seamlessly within your team's development process.

Compared to traditional surveys, which tend to be lengthy and delivered at the beginning and end of an engagement, microsurveys ask fewer questions at the right time—reducing survey burden, boosting response rates, and improving the quality of responses. 

Microsurveys make it easier to collect valuable feedback through real-time surveys your audience actually wants to take—something brief and clear, with actionable information. 

It’s important to note that the timing of these questions is critical to the retention of users. With the right questions, product teams can create a relationship with users where they feel like they’re building and growing alongside you because they know their feedback is taken into account.

To help you along, we’ve put together 10 questions (with a few bonus follow-ups) to get you started with in-product research that provides you with accurate, in-depth, user insights that help you get faster and more relevant results each time you engage with your users.

But first, why you need a user journey map

We’ll share why it’s an important question to ask your audience, exactly who you should target, and perhaps most importantly when you should ask it. Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty, it’s important for you to know the number one tool you’ll need to pull this strategy off:

Your user journey map.

If you understand how your users will move through your product experience, you can strategically align your questions to match the context of recent actions. 

Whether you’ve been experimenting with more timely user feedback or you’re just getting started with real-time research, Sprig’s microsurvey templates are a great place for any project manager to start. (You can also use tools like SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics, and Typeform to design and send your survey but keep in mind that this then takes your user out of your platform.)

If you can, keeping surveys within the product gives you the opportunity to streamline your research by integrating it as a step to pass pre-event or post-event, so that users can respond quickly and continue with what they were doing.

1. How important to you is [product area]?

Bonus follow-up: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to [product area]?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Validate that your idea solves a genuine problem people would like solved.
  • Refine your idea to prevent wasted effort before development begins.

Who to ask:

  • Target potential users of your product, through a convenience sample or users of an existing adjacent product.

When to ask it: 

  • Run this microsurvey before you begin active development.

2. How likely are you to make a purchase today?

Bonus follow-up: What, if anything, might hold you back from making a purchase today?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Pinpoint where users are on their journey.
  • Surface opportunities to guide them down the purchase funnel.
  • Understand how likely users are to purchase your product.
  • Uncover what would hold them back from making a purchase or why they decided to check out your product.

Who to ask:

  • Users who spend a short amount of time browsing on your site. (e.g., 3+ page views, 10 seconds on a page).

When to ask it:

  • After specific trigger events of engagement behaviors like viewing a product or signing into their account on the platform.

3. What is your primary goal while using [product]?

customer research microsurvey example
Sprig microsurvey template

Benefits:

  • Understand the primary goal of your customers.
  • Identify new personas or confirm existing ones.
  • Create simple user segments.

Who to ask:

  • Target users when they first experience your product as new customers.

When to ask it:

4. What’s the main reason why you haven’t upgraded to a paid subscription?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Understand the primary reason why your users choose not to upgrade to a paid subscription.
  • Uncover what could have been done to make it easier for your users to get started with your product.
  • Strengthen the conversion funnel with this feedback by understanding what might be missing from the product for the different needs of your target persona. Use it to create earlier touchpoints with personalized workflows and recommendations.

Who to ask:

  • Target users who have decided not to move forward as paid subscribers once their trial ends.

When to ask it: 

  • Ask users once their trial period ends.

5. How easy was it to get started with [product]?

Bonus follow-up: What was difficult about getting started with [product]?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Understand perceptions about the onboarding process.
  • Surface opportunities to refine the experience for future users.
  • Understand whether the experience is improving or getting worse over time (if repeatedly run over time).

Who to ask:

  • Target new users who have completed a creative function within your product.

When to ask it:

  • Target users immediately after onboarding is completed. You want to capture your users' sentiment for your product when it’s fresh.

    Note:
    Sometimes, users will experience the product’s value during the onboarding as well. The goal here is to place this question at a point in their journey when they can provide detailed evaluations after a considerable amount of time spent testing the features and functionality of your product.

6. Were you able to accomplish what you came here to do today?

Bonus follow-up: What did you come to do today?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Understand your users expected outcomes for features and functionalities.
  • Gather a list of user activities, goals, and expectations via their feedback. 
  • Uncover common challenges and identify opportunities to improve usability.

Who to ask:

  • Create a sequence of off-setting days based on early and mature users. For example, you can target early users (< 2 weeks) with these questions every day before they sign off. Once users pass that two-week mark, you can schedule this question to be delivered every three-days of activity, on that user's highest days of engagement, or bi-weekly. This will depend on your user’s habits (frequent activity) and responses (positive or negative sentiments). 

When to ask it:

  • Target users after they have spent several minutes engaging with your product or upon exit intent.

7. How easy to use is [insert product/feature]?

Bonus follow-up: How reliable is the performance of [insert product or feature]?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Deepen your understanding of the UX/UI aspects of your product.
  • Use feedback to optimize the reliability, convenience, and usefulness of a product and/or feature.
  • Get an initial read on new product launches.
  • Collect general insights on your overall product experience to identify gaps.
  • After a triggered event within your product platform.

Who to ask:

  • Target more experienced users (min. 30 days since signup) who can provide progression-based feedback.

When to ask it:

  • New feature launches
  • Target users immediately

8. How likely are you to continue using [product] for the next 3 months?

Bonus follow-up: What would make you more likely to continue using [product]?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Gives you an early gauge on churn risk.
  • Allows you to track how efforts you make to improve impact user intent.
  • Surfaces opportunities to increase retention.

Who to Ask:

  • Target users who have shown low to moderate rates of activity within the product. Those with higher activity rates can receive a different question to sustain that engagement, but you want to find a way to build trust with groups showing less activity to determine where you can improve the onboarding process and/or the product itself. 

When to ask it:

  • Target users about 75% of the way through their subscription. (E.g., month 9 of a 12- month membership or week three of a monthly membership.)

9. How well do you expect [product] to meet your needs?

Bonus follow-up: What questions or concerns do you have about [product]?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Understand how well your users expect your product to meet their needs.
  • Uncover any questions or concerns your users may have about your product.
  • Find opportunities to boost confidence in your solution to increase onboarding conversions.

Who to ask:

  • Target users that have just completed the signup process.

When to ask it:

  • Prior to full access of the in-product experience.

10. How easy was it to complete the checkout process on [product]?

Bonus question if there is a negative answer: Sorry to hear that. What could we do to improve the checkout process?

customer research microsurvey example

Benefits:

  • Uncover reasons for checkout abandonment to improve conversion rates.
  • Understand how easy it is for users to complete the checkout process.

Who to ask:

  • Users that have completed a purchase.

When to ask it:

  • Once users return to their dashboard within the product. 

Mastering Microsurveys for Continuous Feedback

By combining your analytics with the qualitative data collected through in-product research, the modern PM can truly understand their audience and make development decisions from a first-voice perspective.

Timing is everything when it comes to user research. Asking key questions at the right time gives you high-quality results. By integrating these surveys with your product, you create an ongoing source of valuable insight, so you never stop learning from your users.

Take these lessons and go make some (micro)magic!

Ryan Glasgow
Ryan Glasgow
Ryan Glasgow is the CEO of Sprig, a revolutionary all-in-one product research platform delivering real-time customer insights.
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