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#76: Camper Q&A: 4 Must-Ask Customer Interview Questions

High impact questions to better understand your customers

Every product marketer has their go-to customer interview question.

The one that gets the customer to open up. The one that shines the light on the real opportunities.

I keep a rolling list of my favorite questions, but I’m always eager to hear what others ask too.

For this month’s Camper Q&A, I asked the PMM Camp community to share the questions they love and use the most.

You won’t be disappointed. I’ve definitely had to update my question list, and I think you will as well.

Here’s what members have to say about the PMM Camp community:

  • “I've only been reading past posts for about 10 minutes, and I've already bookmarked 7 things to go back and dig in more. This is the most value-packed community I'm a part of!”

  • Tamara has built a wonderful, supportive, inviting and (most importantly for me) "not judge'y" space of sharing and collaboration. I really like that we're all like-minded product marketers, so we "get" each other. Grateful to be a part of this "team."

  • “I was struggling to find a community of product marketers where you could ask questions, get feedback, or share templates. I highly recommend this community to anyone looking to advance in the PMM field.”

Connect with PMM leaders just like you in the PMM Camp community. New spots open June 10 — join the waitlist today to be first in line.

What are your go-to questions to include in customer interviews?

Here’s what four product marketing leaders had to say about the questions they use to drive aha moments and unlock key insights👇🏻

SaaS Product Marketing Consultant & Copywriter

“Who else were you considering, and why did you choose us?”

This tells us who/what we’re actually being compared to and gives insight into where our competitors are weak and we are strong. Together, we have the ingredients for a “why us and NOT them” story, or what I call a “Category Story” with clients. This story is more helpful and compelling when you’re a challenger brand in a crowded category.

Director of PMM at Flipdish

Here's a question that I like to ask towards the end of the interview that helps me uncover real pain points and provides me with great insights for product development or process improvements:

"If there was only one thing (or feature) that we could do for you in the next 6 to 12 months that would bring significant value to your business, what would that be?"

Then follow up with: "Why is that important to you?"

These questions help me understand what is truly important for my customers.

I also like to ask questions about the impact of the product on the business. To understand the impact, you need to understand what your customer was doing before they purchased your solution and you need to understand their processes. That way you can help them quantify the impact with real numbers and provide those insights back to the Marketing and Sales teams:

  • How were you tackling this problem before <PRODUCT>?

  • What was your process to... ? How long did it take you to... ? Who was involved in that? What was the most painful?

  • What does your process look like now that you're using <PRODUCT>?

  • How has it improved your life?

  • How much time do you think you've saved every week by using <PRODUCT>?

  • What are the tasks that you no longer have to do?

  • What do you do with the time that you've gained back? Etc.

I think these are the best questions to help you come up with really powerful messaging for your product. It helps you move away from generic benefits and helps you zoom in on the real value that you provide. Plus it shows that you really understand what your customers go through and makes your messaging more credible and relatable.

Director of PMM at InvGate

I have found these to be good "openers", as in questions that will get them talking about the real reasons. First answer is usually too surface level, after the second or third follow up asking them to "help me understand" or "please expand on x" is when the real insights appear.

  • What drove you to find a new solution? Why not 6 months before or after?

  • What made solving this/these problem/s a priority over everything else?

  • How would you describe <PRODUCT> to someone who's never heard of it? What makes you say that?

Senior Director of PMM at Community Brands

"What are the biggest challenges on the horizon for your organization? How can we help you overcome those challenges?"

I like to ask this at the end of case study interviews to see what else our customers are struggling with. Most of the time the answer isn't related to our product at all, but it gives insight into outside factors.


📚 Reading List: McKinsey published a report on the growing importance of software product marketing managers. Some of it’s accurate, some of it’s not, but it’s worth a read either way (I’ll probably dissect for a future edition).

🎧 Playlist: Should you build a category or is it a waste of time? In this week’s episode of Ready for Launch, Andy, Jason and I tackle our favorite category creating launches.

🗓️ Events: Speaking of launches, the Ready for Launch crew is hosting a free 30-minute lightning lesson on June 3. Join us to learn why some launches flop while others flourish.

Until next week,

Tamara Grominsky