SaaS companies rely on happy customers for success. Monthly subscriptions mean you have to sell your product each month. If a service doesn’t meet a customer’s needs, or the customer is dissatisfied with a product, the customer can easily cancel. To maintain customers — to reduce the churn rate — SaaS companies must provide ongoing value. One way to ensure that customers use and maximize the value of a SaaS solution is to build a great product experience.
Product experience: optimizing a path to customer success
Product experience is a subset of user experience that focuses on what it is like to use an application or service from the moment a customer logs in, to when the customer logs off. It is meant to take a holistic approach of the entire use of the product, so it attempts to measure satisfaction across the board. Optimal experience is engaging, value-providing, pleasant, and goal-oriented. In other words, the best products are those people like using, and which solves their goals. And, like many things in life, products need to deliver an experience that changes based on customer needs.
Customer success is the ultimate goal with SaaS, as it fuels SaaS growth. Product use is a key indicator of customer success. Customers get more from a product when they use it as optimally designed and in ways that provide the most value. For example, if an app provides but no explicit or implied direction as to the next steps after login, then the app is not offering a product experience that encourages optimal use. Product experience provides a perspective from inside the four walls of an app or platform.
Good product experience draws in more regular users
An optimal product experience does more than enable a higher degree of more effective customer use; it also builds user loyalty. When your customers are loyal, they renew. Equally important, loyal customers spread the word of their successes with your product, providing a source of the cheapest and most effective leads for new business. The goals of every SaaS business should be to attract new customers, keep existing customers happy, and grow organically and profitably. Actually, that’s those goals are all on-point for the success of any business. Product experiences that lead to increased loyalty include those that feature:
- A simple and comfortable environment. The best products are intuitive and natural to use, with less dazzle and more impact.
- Clear and fast communication. Make it easy for customers to get answers, and they’ll be less likely to get disengaged.
- Concern for the customer. Your SaaS product should help your customers meet their goals. Unless your company has, and your product displays, genuine concern for the customer, you’ll likely not entirely know what these goals are.
- Rewards for use. Your product’s quality should drive use but providing reward incentives for use can help boost customer success.
- Referral rewards. Incentivize your customers to bring you new business and reap the benefits of economical leads that are easier to convert.
Speaking of the power of referrals, optimizing product experience goes a long way in increasing a SaaS company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS). To measure NPS you ask your customers to answer, on a scale from zero to ten, how likely they are to refer others to your business. The results give insight into customer success since in general, only those who have experienced positive results refer others to a product or service. If you offer a stellar product experience, then your customers will be more likely to recommend your company.
How to improve the product experience
The correlation between product experience and customer success seems simple, but the trick is in its execution. Optimal product experience requires several considerations and activities to ensure that customers will enjoy using your product and will encourage others to try it out. Here are several tested steps and techniques to help you identify the product experience your customers need:
The number one reflection of product experience is usage. If your customers are not using your product, then they likely have an issue with the product experience. Collect data on usage from a variety of sources, including app analytics and customer communication. Find out why the usage may be less than optimal and dig deeper to address any concerns.
Today’s SaaS offerings can be filled with features but ensure to only maintain those that are useful and which are being used by customers. Avoid product bloat by giving your customers what they want and need and nothing extraneous or unnecessary. While these bells and whistles may seem like benefits, unless they work well and solve problems, they can drag down product experience.
Ask customers a simple question
One simple way to improve product experience is to make your customers feel that you are concerned about them. A simple polling question embedded into the product experience, such as “what are your goals today?” or “why did you visit us today?” can be a source of valuable information and provides a quick route to issue resolution.
Embrace the change driven by customer feedback
Culturally, your organization should be receptive to change and constructive criticism. Give customers the ability to easily provide feedback, then train your employees to understand that your product is progressive and aimed at continually striving for improvement.
Make onboarding a priority
Don’t leave your customers in the lurch. Once they sign up, they should have numerous opportunities and experiences in the app or product that lead them to success. Onboarding should be welcoming, interactive, and informative.
Superior product experience drives greater adoption rates and overall customer success. Focus on improving product experience and get to know your customers so you can tailor an in-app experience that encourages optimal use.
SmartKarrot helps SaaS companies identify issues that can hold back product experience. Track and improve adoption rates, determine your NPS, drive true engagement, and more through our intuitive platform that aims at your customer’s success.