Customer and User Research Tools for Product Managers
As a product manager, your job is to lead your product from conception to completion, and finally, to constant optimization. This includes setting the product strategy, creating and sharing plans, gathering product insights, tracking the backlog, reviewing the product roadmap and much more.
You’re expected to understand customer needs and user behavior - some of these, before you've even launched your alpha or beta version.
Luckily, there are many tools that can support your efforts to understand your users and customers. They can help you make informed decisions as to how to improve your product to meet customer’s needs. But if you do a simple Google search, you’ll be pretty overwhelmed with categories and subcategories of tools. So we thought we’d simplify things a bit, and categorize user research tools loosely into these buckets:
Surveys & Interviews (respondent needs to interact with you or your forms)
User testing (kind of like big brother observing)
Even so, there will be many overlaps with tools touching more than one category, so ultimately you need to make your own decisions based on your current stack and requirements.
Here are our suggestions, with a list of customer and user research tools for you to choose from for your “must have” toolkit. And a bonus “other” category with something different from what you’d probably expect.
Survey & interview tools
If you’re looking for a cloud-based survey tool where you can create, send, and analyze surveys, quizzes, and polls for any audience, SurveyMonkey is the tool for you.
With SurveyMonkey, you can:
Collect feedback via weblink, email, mobile chat, social media, and more.
Automatically analyze results and explore a number of analysis features.
Typeform is a web-based platform that transforms collecting and sharing information into a comfortable and conversational experience. You can create a variety of forms from surveys to apps, with no coding experience required.
How Typeform works:
Asking one question at a time keeps your audience focused and engaged. You’ll see thoughtful responses and higher completion rates.
Built-in photo and video libraries integrated with custom layouts and themes, showcasing your brand.
Ask the right follow-up questions with conditional logic, making surveys feel like conversations.
123 Form Builder is a versatile and innovative form builder used by over 2 million individuals and businesses around the world to automate data collection processes and workflows.
While they started out as a form builder, they now offer several solutions, including survey, poll and quiz tools.
Here’s how it works: the drag and drop interface allows you to easily create forms, surveys, polls, and quizzes, all without ever having to write a single line of code. Just add the fields, set up the custom email notifications, and distribute the form... That’s it!
123 Form Builder integrates with more tools than any other online form builder, too. That means no more time spent exporting, importing, and manually entering data! Simply select the app or payment gateway you want, and integrate instantly.
RightMessage makes it easy to capture more sales without driving more traffic by speaking directly to the person reading your website. It looks at data you store about visitors in your email marketing app, where they came from, what ad they clicked, what pages they've viewed, and what kind of content they're reading to try to determine who they are so that you can tailor your messaging to focus on them and their needs.
UserZoom uses video-based interviewing to discover new opportunities across the user journey to validate designs at scale with behavioral and attitudinal data from click tests, card sorts, tree tests, and surveys.
UserZoom’s research experts meet you where you are to provide UX training designed to meet team’s your goals and roles.
Ethnio offers participant recruiting and management to access the users and details that matter most. It helps you build a screener that you can use as a web intercept, link, or native app intercept, and then automatically schedule and pay participants.
With Ethnio, you can:
Manage the entire workflow of your research, starting with highly targeted screeners.
Find participants that really care about your product, or post a link on Craigslist, Twitter, Facebook, and allow Ethnio to automatically screen, text, schedule, and pay participants.
Lookback offers recording of mobile app sessions for recruited testers or users that want to record feedback while using your app. You’ll see the screen, face, voice, and touches of your users through in-house or remote recording.
With Lookback, you can:
Conduct different types of research within the same project, whether you start with unmoderated and switch over to moderated, or vice versa.
Get real-time access to the customer voice to build the products customers need and love.
Allow everyone on your team to capture and surface insights.
Contentsquare explores customer insights for your entire team, from marketers to product managers to IT. By connecting metrics to actual customer behavior, Contentsquare combines valuable data, machine and human intelligence to deliver optimal outcomes. Mostly focused on eCommerce.
With Contentsquare, you can:
Say goodbye to manual work: no more tagging different zones on your page.
Powerful yet intuitive heatmaps measure clicks, scroll-depth, engagement, and much more.
Visual analysis capabilities make it easy to pinpoint friction in your user journeys.
FullStory is a digital experience intelligence platform that offers on-the-fly conversion funnels, advanced search capabilities, video replay of user sessions, and useful developer tools, while integrating with leading SaaS products.
With Fullstory, everyone wins:
Product managers can see how customers interact with your online business, using actionable insights designed to drive growth.
Cross-functional CX teams from Engineering to Customer Success are empowered with digital experience data, cutting time to resolution and boosting customer satisfaction.
Marketers can see which investments are making the greatest impact.
Helio is a cost-effective research tool that can help you test prototypes, screens, and design ideas with ease and learn from your users in minutes.
You’ll be able to create feedback loops, make data-informed decisions quickly, and validate product concepts to get a clear understanding of your customers’ experiences before investing time into engineering or design.
SessionStack helps you and your product team create the best possible digital experience for your customers with session replays amongst other features. Small and large product teams can leverage SessionStack's solution to back their decisions with hard user data.
From product analytics solutions, to error tracking tools and helpdesk platforms, SessionStack smoothly integrates with your favorite tools to help you start reaping the benefits at once.
GetFeedback’s customer experience (CX) platform (the leading relational and transactional surveying tool for the Salesforce ecosystem) combines with the best of Usabilla’s digital feedback and analysis for websites and apps.
Usabilla helps you get programs up and running that deliver exceptional experiences based on customer feedback collected across the entire customer journey.
We’ve added this “other” category, which includes some cool tools that support your user and customer research efforts, but are different from anything mentioned above.
Avrio is a newly launched collaborative insights platform built into your workflow where you can capture insights found through quantitative and qualitative research, provide context for data-informed decisions, and share the findings of your collective research.
With Avrio, you can:
Upload, transcribe, and analyze user interviews.
Create shareable highlight clips directly from the transcripts.
Capture data from around the web with the Avrio Chrome extension.
Centralize your feedback with our Zapier Integration.
Update your team and save knowledge with our Slack integration.
Promote your findings with a research library, website pins, and more.
It’s important to note that while qualitative and quantitative customer research through interviews, surveys, session replays or heat maps are extremely helpful, a powerful product analytics tool can give you a much deeper, comprehensive and objective understanding of your customer’s interactions with your product along every stage of the customer journey. Especially when you have more than a few hundred accounts and you need to move faster with data analysis.
Don’t get us wrong, qualitative customer and user research will always have its role, but going past your early stage growth, it’s best to start coupling it with other ways of diving into the data.
Product analytics also goes further into the analysis and provides insights, correlations, impact of actions and behaviors in a way that customer and user research simply cannot offer.
InnerTrends helps product teams know which changes to make to their app and grow faster with insights from pre-built analytics reports.
Register for our weekly workshop and find out how InnerTrends can help you discover how users interact with your product, and understand the impact of your initiatives across the customer journey.