The survey question you should never ask

From Intercom:

Research study after research study has shown that people are very bad at predicting their future behaviour and attitudes. Therefore one of the worst, but sadly most common, research questions to ask is: “Would you use feature ‘x’ if we built it?”. In interpreting the question, many biases form the response. For example, people interpret that by suggesting it, you think building the feature is a good idea, so they fall victim to authority bias and a little social proof and tell you that they would definitely use the feature. A second problem is that people state preferences and opinions about something simply because they were asked, whereas without being asked they would never have thought about, nor needed the feature. This is called the query effect. People are incredible storytellers, and can create detailed accounts of things that don’t actually matter to them when they are asked about them.

A better way to discover whether a feature idea would be useful, is to ask about specific recent usage. For example, “The last time you used feature ‘x’, what were you trying to do?”

4 thoughts on “The survey question you should never ask

  1. Pingback: Never ask if someone would buy your product | A Founder's Notebook

  2. Pingback: Best practices in getting user feedback on your product | A Founder's Notebook

  3. Pingback: How to interview customers to get great product insights | A Founder's Notebook

  4. Pingback: Product development — how NOT to conduct a survey | A Founder's Notebook

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