By Chris Christoff, co-founder of MonsterInsights

Did Apple introduce the iPhone and never improve upon its features and specs? Of course not, so why would you do the same with your product? Constantly looking for ways to improve your product will satisfy the ever-changing needs of your customers.

You should be talking to the people who matter most: your customers. Not only will you get the best insights into what features and improvements will be used and appreciated, but your customers will feel valued.

So, if you want to build a better product, here are seven questions to ask your customers.

1. What challenges are you trying to solve with our product?

In order to build a better product, you need to find out why your customers came to you in the first place. Now, the answer to this question might seem obvious. For instance, if you sell lawnmowers, the obvious answer is that your customers needed to cut their grass. But you may be surprised by some of the insights you’ll uncover. 

The answers you get can help you learn what features you need to focus on. For example, maybe you’ll see a trend of customers coming to you to solve a different problem than what you cater to but end up using your product anyway. If that trend is big enough, capitalize on it.

2. What struggles do you experience with our product?

You want your customers’ experience with your product to be as smooth as possible. You want it to be simple to access/download/assemble and easy to understand and use. So, by asking your customers what struggles they experience with your product, you’ll be able to pinpoint areas where your ease of use is lacking and improve it so that your customers have the best experience.

3. How difficult or easy is it to ‘XYZ’?

This question takes a deeper dive into specific features and actions your customers want to take with your product. For instance, if you’re a software as a service (SaaS) company and users have to download and install your product, you should ask them how difficult it was to do that one step. If 10 is the most difficult and 1 is the least difficult, you want this step to be a 1.

By asking this question, you’ll be able to minimize the amount of effort it takes for users to accomplish their goals with your product, which will make them more likely to stick around. 

4. Have you tested out our competitor’s product?

You’re bound to have a number of competitors who offer a similar, or the exact same, product, and you can’t ignore them. In fact, you should find out as much about them as possible, which is why you need to be asking your customers if they’ve tried out your competitors’ products.

Asking this question to your customers will help you identify key problems with your product that may be costing you customers. Discover features that your competitors offer that your customers are tempted by and implement them into your own offerings to prevent customer churn.

5. What are your favorite features and which ones do you rarely use?

Not every feature your product boasts will impress your customers. One of the biggest wastes of your time is to focus too much on a feature your customers just don’t care about. On the flip side, you might think your star feature is one thing, while your customers much prefer something else.

By finding out what your customers’ favorite feature is, you’ll know where to focus your time and money.

6. What features do you wish you had?

You have the ability to grant your customers’ wildest dreams. By asking your customers what features they wish your product had, you’ll be able to unearth more pain points your customers are looking to solve and give them features for which they’ll be thankful.

7. How quickly and efficiently are your customer support issues solved?

The success of your product doesn’t only depend on the product itself, but also the level of your customer service. According to American Express, "33 percent of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service." So, make sure to ask your customers how quickly and efficiently their problems were solved by your customer service team and by your documentation.

Building a great product that customers will line up for isn’t a one-way street. It’s a relationship between your company and your customers that requires great communication and mutual understanding. Your customers will be thrilled that your product has improved but even more thrilled that you listened to them.

Chris Christoff is the co-founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plugin for Google Analytics.

Published on: Feb 21, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.