Face to Face With the Customer. You can send out as many surveys or do as many focus groups as you want, but you’ll never understand the aggravation your user community is feeling until you’re sitting next to them while they struggle to use your software.
Sit with them. Don’t explain how to use the software. Watch them struggle. You’ll learn more in an hour by watching them then you will in days of focus groups and hundreds of surveys sent out.
I was fortunate enough to see Steve Blank speak once at a Tech Stars Founder’s Conference. He made a very clear point: the answers are not in the office, get out of the office. Go talk to customers. That’s where the answers are.