As a software company, your priority is to provide an outstanding experience for your customers.
Because in today’s market, there are always competitors who target the same audience and are ready to create an excellent product experience, potentially draining away your user base.
In this article, we’ll explore the concept of product experience—what it is, why it is important, who should own it, and how to improve it.
Ready? Let’s start!
What Is Product Experience
Successful software products put customers front and center. The key thing that everything revolves around is how the customer perceives the product, interacts with it, and uses it.
From the moment the customer logs in to the moment they stop using the product, every element of their interaction with the product is important.
And that interaction is what we call product experience (PX).
As Paula Beccheti, UX writer and content manager, puts it, product experience is the whole journey a customer takes with your product.
In other words, everything that a customer experiences inside the boundaries of the product is considered product experience.
When it comes to software products, that doesn’t only encompass the technical aspects of the experience, like the onboarding flow, the responsiveness of the app, or where the user needs to click to perform a particular action.
Parts of the product experience are also emotions. How enjoyable is it to use the product?
Are there any sources of frustration?
Where does the customer see value in the product? Those are all elements of the product experience.
Now that we’ve defined what PX is, you might think it sounds similar to user experience (UX). And if that’s the case, you’re not entirely off the mark.
UX and PX share some similarities, but there are also key differences between those two terms.
Take a look at the image below:
As you can see, user experience is broader than product experience.
UX is any experience that a user can have with your brand, including using the product, interacting with customer support, following social media channels, etc.
Every touchpoint between a user and your brand falls under the umbrella of UX.
On the other hand, PX encompasses only those touchpoints which concern the product itself.
Everything that happens inside the confines of the product is PX, but if it has nothing to do with using the product, it’s not considered PX.
Now that we’ve established what PX is, let’s dive into why it’s important.
Why Is Product Experience Important
Customers today have a plethora of software products to choose from to meet virtually every need they have.
Therefore, it’s crucial to provide a stellar product experience in order to stand out among your competitors.
If you do that, you can count on some real benefits. Let’s explore them in this section.
Increasing Product Adoption
Creating a great product experience will result in more customers using your product on a regular basis.
When we talk about product adoption, that’s what we mean. It isn’t only a question of how many people use your product. It’s about how many make it a part of their daily routine.
Also, with a top-notch product experience, you increase the chances that your customers will use most, if not all, of the features your developers built into the product.
When you consider that data indicates that up to 80% of SaaS features stay unused, doing as much as possible to increase adoption can ensure that the time and resources spent on developing the product don’t go to waste.
To create a better product experience and increase adoption, you should engage your users as much as you can.
Why? Because if they’re more engaged, they’ll become more and more proficient in using the product, leading to better adoption.
To achieve that, you can make use of an interactive product tour as Grammarly does.
That way, you can show users how the features work, as well as encourage them to try them out.
For instance, Grammarly uses a demo document to show users how to work with the tool. Also, hotspots guide users to the features, while tooltips explain them.
With a product experience like that, you can increase the likelihood of product adoption.
Reducing Customer Churn
As we’ve mentioned earlier, product experience is the journey your customers take with your product.
From its usability to the feeling it sparks in your users, your product should provide a wholesome experience and make your customers happy.
That’s the best guarantee you can have that they won’t look for alternatives and abandon your product.
After all, why would they?
If the product is enjoyable from the welcome screen throughout all the features, if it meets your users’ needs and expectations, and it’s easy to use, you eliminate essentially all of the reasons why customers would churn.
The ease of use we’ve just mentioned can play a vital role in reducing customer churn.
According to data from Wyzowl, 80% of users abandon an app if they don’t know how to use it.
Simply put, if a software product is simple to use, customers will use it.
They’ll become more familiar with it, gain value from it, and keep coming back to it for the excellent user experience that it provides.
In other words, everyone benefits from a great product experience—users get a product they want and need, and your company gets more customers that can consistently bring revenue.
Encouraging Customer Loyalty
Customer retention is crucial for reasons you are undoubtedly well aware of. Without keeping your customers, you’ll have a hard time becoming successful among your competitors.
However, there is a step up from having satisfied customers, which is to make them loyal to your brand.
Loyal customers aren’t only staying with your business and using your product. They also promote it to others, spreading the word wherever they can about how great your product is.
How to encourage that type of relationship with your customers? Great product experience is essential in that.
For example, exceptional product experience can encourage users to rave about your product online, attracting many potential customers.
As you can see above, this Reddit user had the urge to recommend Slack to others because of the fantastic experience they had with it.
That’s basically free marketing you can get for your product.
Furthermore, in addition to recommending your product to others, loyal customers spend more themselves.
According to data from Thanx, they spend 67% more than new users.
If you think about it, it’s perfectly logical. Loyal customers are more comfortable spending money because you stepped up by providing them with a superb product experience.
To sum up, loyal customers are immensely beneficial to your business, and how much effort you put into creating a great product experience can directly influence their loyalty.
Who Is Responsible for Product Experience
As we’ve mentioned, product experience is everything that happens inside the boundaries of the product itself when the customer uses it. That means that PX is a complex concept.
Since we’re talking about software products, that indicates that the main people responsible for product experience are software developers.
After all, they are creating a product that will provide a certain experience to the users.
However, it’s not that simple.
Product experience encompasses usability, design, functionality, responsiveness, visual and textual elements of the product, etc.
In other words, many more people than just software developers are responsible for PX.
It’s a cross-company effort, as Mert Alican Bektaş, co-founder of UserGuiding, points out.
If improving Product Experience isn’t a priority (at least on the list) of every single one of your departments, then you’re missing out on some immense potential.
However, we can identify the company’s most important PX teams.
As the main departments for PX, you will often see the product team, marketing team, sales team, and customer support.
Let’s break down why those teams are essential.
For starters, the product team shapes the product experience with their decisions about the product.
They need to decide which features to implement, how to improve the product, and, ultimately, how to make the product experience as close to perfect as possible.
The marketing team creates content and campaigns that promote the product’s value and can influence how the customer uses the product.
Moving on to the sales team, they conduct demos and expose customers to the product, setting their expectations for the product experience.
Lastly, the customer supportteam is here for the challenges the customers can encounter using the product.
The help they provide can significantly impact how satisfied the customer will be with the product experience.
As you can see, PX is a joint effort. No one main person or group is solely responsible for it. Many elements can influence the quality of PX, so collaboration is crucial.
How to Improve Product Experience
Now that we’ve established what product experience is and why it is important, it’s time to get into how you can improve it.
There’s no magic formula for an impeccable product experience, but certain practices can significantly boost it.
Let’s see what those are.
Design a Great Onboarding Experience
Imagine a customer looking at a software product on a screen in front of them with no idea what to do, where to click, or how to start using it.
Leaving your users stranded like that certainly won’t lead to a great product experience.
On the other hand, onboarding them by showing them the workflow, guiding them through the product’s features, and leading them to realize the product’s value are all part of an excellent product experience.
If you fail to efficiently onboard your customers, they might quickly walk away from the product looking for a more user-friendly experience.
That’s also what data from Retently indicates.
You can prevent customers from leaving because of a poor onboarding experience by guiding them to their “Aha!” moment.
That is the moment when the customer realizes the value of the product.
They show customers what kind of learning approach they can expect by using Duolingo, provide them with the taste of a language they’re interested in, and help them to translate the sentence by offering suggestions when they click on the word in English.
An efficient onboarding process like that can be a foundation for an exemplary product experience.
Have a Public Knowledge Base
Many factors shape a product experience.
Some of them are the ways users interact with your product, how much they know about it and its features, how easy it is to troubleshoot issues, etc.
If only you could have one resource to provide to your customers where you could give them access to product knowledge, how-to guides, instructional videos, and all the other helpful materials you can think of.
Well, you’re lucky because a public knowledge base is exactly what we’ve just described.
And if you’re wondering if customers really want to have that type of self-service resource, research confirms that 67% of them prefer that over speaking to a company representative.
Having a comprehensive resource that users can access at any time and learn about a product can elevate their product experience to a new level.
You can build a knowledge base that will cover all of their needs by using Archbee, a product documentation tool.
For instance, Drift’s knowledge base is simple to navigate and filled with useful content about the product, and customers can easily search it for any information they need.
It’s simple—if you make it easy for your customers to familiarize themselves with your product and provide all the information they need, they will quickly become proficient users of your product.
And successfully using the product is a prerequisite for an excellent product experience.
Improve Your Product Based on Customer Feedback
One of the most efficient ways to improve your product experience is to shape it according to users’ wishes.
By asking them what they want from the product, you can ensure that your team’s effort, time, and resources aren’t wasted.
On the contrary, they will be spent creating elements and features that customers want, improving their satisfaction and experience with the product.
There are lots of ways to gather customer feedback. For instance, you can use surveys to help you understand your customers’ wishes and needs.
Below, you can see a part of the Typeform survey template about satisfaction with a mobile app.
With an open-ended question like that, you give your customers a chance to tell you what they want to see in your product.
And when you collect feedback, it’s important that you act on it if you want to improve the product experience.
For example, for a long time, Patreon, a content creator platform, didn’t let its users directly upload videos, so they had to improvise.
However, after their users had asked for it for some time, the Patreon team acted and developed the long-awaited feature.
By not having to turn to third-party apps for video uploading anymore, Patreon users got a better product experience.
In summation, gathering and acting on your customers’ feedback is an effective way to improve your product, leading to a better product experience overall.
Your customers are central to your business, and the product experience you create for them will determine your business’s success.
By understanding what product experience is, why it is important, who should work on improving it and what are the most efficient ways to boost it, you can create an extraordinary journey for your customers.
The sooner you start to improve the product experience, the sooner you’ll see the positive results of your efforts.