Identify use cases for user research

1. Interview your product, sales, and customer service teams to brainstorm candidate use cases.

Candidate use cases are use case theories that have yet to be verified by comparing them against the actual usage habits or, in the case of new products, usage intentions, of the target market.

2. Interview 10-20 current customers to determine how they use your product.

Include questions regarding how effective the product is for their use case, or what functionality or features the customer would add. Interviews can be conducted via phone or live in person. Focus on 5-10 high-value customers – those who are brand advocates or someone who uses your product heavily – as well as 5-10 interviews with brand-new customers.  Someone who has been using your services for a long time may have a very different perspective than someone who just signed on.

3. Demo the product with target audience prospects and ask for their feedback.

Review the product with your target audience and ask them to imagine themselves putting the product to use. Example questions and scenarios include: Would they use it alongside another tool?  Would they use it to replace another tool?  How many times a day would they use it?  What tasks would they use it to complete?  What wouldn’t they use it for?

4. Poll your leads and prospects that failed to convert. Ask them what concerns, questions or scenarios prevented them from converting into customers.

Use a tool like SurveyMonkey or Google Surveys to collect and tabulate results. Consider building an email automation that automatically asks leads their feedback if they don’t convert or don’t make it to a certain stage in your customer journey. This step can often highlight areas where the product team’s intended application doesn’t match the target market’s need. This misalignment can either result from a lack of functionality, It would be useful, but it’s missing… or from the assumed pain point being imaginary.

5. Survey customers of competing products to identify their use cases and, if applicable, why they chose the competing product over your brand.

Source customers of competitors by: Reaching out to those in your existing audience or customer base who have previously self-identified as using a competing product. Reviewing published case studies and reviews by your competitors, and reaching out to the customers featured in these reviews or case studies. Running a paid search ad campaign targeting keywords that include the competing product, and asking users of the competing product to complete a research survey about their experiences.

6. Survey online users regarding their opinions of how the product could be used.

Use social posts, questions on forums, surveys on your website, exit surveys on your product pages, and outreach to past buyers. The key is to use your established digital footprint to expand the sample pool you’re getting your feedback from.