Have you ever thought about the reasons why established businesses – the ones whose products you love such as Apple, Nike, or even Ferrari – constantly make innovations and improvements to their products?
There must be a solid reason for them to do this given the fact that their products are selling like crazy…
Well, the answer is the effort to gain a competitive advantage, keep up with the market, build a name that stands out among others, or more simply, just make their customers happy each day.
Whatever the motive here is, it is a fact that being capable of implementing accurate product improvements and offering them with the right timing is a critical factor that constructs the founding of successful products.
As our community is constantly changing and evolving at lightspeed, the need for businesses to keep up with the growing requirements of their audiences is only natural. This is why companies are attempting to upgrade their products and services to deliver great value.
With this article today, I’ll be uncovering some tips on how to improve your software (or physical) product with solid strategies that actually work.
Let’s dive right in:
1- Removing Pain Points
Excellent products are not flawless products.
They’re products that have been worked on hard, and refined by mistakes, or as we call them, pain points.
I said this because I believe that you cannot come up with a ‘perfect’ dream product from the beginning. Anything that’s perfect requires long processes of improvement and hard work.
This is exactly why one of the most efficient ways to build credibility thanks to your product is to create long-term relationships with your clients that are based on mutual interaction and exchange of value.
And to get there, you need to have a clear perception of how your customers see and experience your product, this way, you can remove customer pain points with ease, and deliver greater products and services.
What are pain points?
A pain point is a certain issue that a customer of your business may experience or is experiencing along with their interaction with your services.
Customer pain points may include the process itself, productivity issues, or financial or support problems.
They can be about anything, really.
Put simply; they are what prevent your customers from going or seeing further, disabling them from taking the next step to understand the value of your product.
These pain points might result from numerous symptoms such as insufficient knowledge or experience, inconsistent customer experience, or the inability to provide a solid support system.
How do you identify pain points?
Before starting to think about removing these pain points, I assume it would be safe to say that you need to identify them first. 🙃
The best ways to uncover customer pain points and succeed in resolving them, as a result, are exactly what I want to show you now.
There are of course a number of ways to get started, but the most efficient ones that actually work are:
➡ Analyzing and tracking user behavior and data
By collecting the valuable information you gain by analyzing and studying user behavior, it’s almost guaranteed that you will not have any difficulty understanding the product journey and thus improving it.
Wherever your customers are getting stuck or simply giving up, you’ll have instant warning. This will help you get a better idea about their processes and what they actually expect from your product.
➡ Examining people as they interact with your service
Similarly, observing users as they interact with your product can actually be an excellent way to improve product usability, as well as service quality.
You can use session recordings – one of the most impactful methods that can help you understand the major issues your users face while experiencing your product.
Sessions recordings are great when it comes to collecting data that shows the captivity level of each feature and the intensity of problems that are faced during the interaction.
➡ Asking questions and learning from the answers
There will be times when pain points might feel a bit overwhelming for you to discover on your own. When in doubt, always communicate with your customers, ask them questions, and guarantee a solid way of uncovering the pain points experienced by them.
This one in particular makes great sense as pain points are actually all about asking the right questions and receiving relevant answers in return.
With this approach, you’re going to create personal guides for your customers and let them pave the way that leads to excellent product experiences.
How to remove pain points
And now, all that’s left is to remove pain points from your product, in three simple steps:
1- Address the pain point.
Beginning with solving a specific pain point requires you to address the issue that’s experienced by your user.
Communication plays a vital role here.
You need to create a way of healthy communication that makes sure nothing is left unheard or mentioned. This is the point where your customers are beginning to understand why their pain point exists and what exactly you’re doing to eliminate them.
2- Guide your customers.
After being sure you are on the same page as your customers regarding their pain points, you need to have a makeshift solution to enable your users to guide around it.
Offering them detailed guidelines while contacting them during the first step and guiding them through the way can be impactful.
3- Eliminate the pain point
Getting rid of the pain point will, of course, take up some time.
But, by giving the time and effort to fixing pain points, you’ll eventually manage to reduce friction and offer better product experiences as a natural result.
The thing about pain points though, is that they are likely to change and evolve over time, and as your business grows, there will always be another pain point to address.
But keep in mind that you can uncover and solve them and the discomfort they create. The key is just to listen and offer personalized solutions to each customer, find common ground and put your clients at ease.
2- Making Product Changes
Coming up with a new version of an already existing product can offer you and the market you aim for the encouragement to survive and step up your product game.
This kind of modification within one of your products and close attention to the updates in your marketing flows impact your customers and motivate them to try out the newest version of what you’re offering.
This strategy primarily focuses on understanding which features your audience would like to see enhanced and making those improvements.
You can step up an existing product in three different ways. Let’s take a look.
- You can make it better (Delibarete improvement)
- You can change it so customers use it more frequently (Frequency improvement)
- You can change it so more people can use it (Adoption improvement)
For these to work efficiently, you need to have a clear idea about what kind of change your product needs to speak to the requirements more relevantly.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself before your change process begins for the sake of better results.
- What are the market opportunities?
- What are the market’s requirements?
- What are the localization expenses?
- What are the specific preferences?
After you decide on what sort of changes you need to implement, there’s another thing that you need to make sure in order to continue your process. And that thing is, of course, feedback. Both quantitative and qualitative.
▶️ Feedback at this point plays a critical role as it helps you determine a customer’s tastes and needs, particularly when your business introduces innovations. Because, after all, you make all these changes to keep your customers happy and content, right?
So, naturally, customer feedback gives insight into what is working smoothly about your changes and what should be done to improve the experience. You might have the best expertise in the field in which your business operates, but all the professional knowledge in the world will never be enough or as efficient as customer insights.
These opinions allow you to ensure that the end product -after the necessary alterations- will actually meet and go beyond customer expectations, solve problems, and fulfill their requirements.
Furthermore, customer feedback also lets businesses understand how clients rate and use their products versus competitive products. It’s crucial to determine where exactly your products and services excel or fall short compared to others out there.
This means you can tell if a customer likes the overall performance of your innovations but predominantly favors a competitor’s product for their style; in that case, this feedback would suggest that you should go for some aesthetic-related changes within your product.
The key steps to make sure your changes are supported by solid feedback are as follows:
- Be a good listener.
- Try to focus on what is being said. Do not feel like you need to agree or disagree.
- Make use of feedback tools such as focus groups, in-person research, or customer phone surveys.
- Consider asking what they would like to see done differently.
- Do not hesitate to clarify if you’re unsure.
- Thanks the giver! They have done you a great favor.
3- Adding New Features
Similarly, adding new features to offer better and more value is a great opportunity to achieve effective improvement strategies within your product.
As I mentioned before, in order to come up with relevant alterations, you first need to figure out what exactly needs to be changed. It can be something like:
- A new feature that offers a solution to a particular problem
- A brand new function that has been anticipated for a long time
- A new approach to a common issue
- Localization features
- New integration opportunities
- Additional 3rd-party tools included in your product experience
Coming up with new feature ideas helps you expand the scope of what you’re already offering, as well as make your name heard here and there through new feature announcements. All this fuss often leads to the attraction of new customers and new cases considering your service.
So, is that it?
Well, you cannot fully appreciate this strategy without taking ‘feedback’ into consideration once again.
Similar to feature changes, new features also require solid customer feedback to rely on. Conversations with your existing customer base can give you a huge amount of actionable tips from which you can work and learn. I mean, all this makes perfect sense to me as they are the ones who will absorb your feature, are willing to pay for it, and will spread the word about it in case they like it, you get my point?💯
New features are always risky, but you need to be confident that they will be appreciated and valued, just like parenting, honestly.
You need to be there for them no matter what; you need to care for them and support them.
However, a tip that I would like to share here is this:
- Do not ask your customers if they would like a *insert specific feature here*; because chances are they will say yes without even thinking twice. It’s simply an offer that requires no promise from them. You need to make sure that the feature you come up with will actually impact their buying decisions.
- Instead, you can ask your customers ”Would you rather that the product becomes faster, or comes with more advanced features?” and this way, you’ll receive a different opinion on which you can actually work and make improvements accordingly.
4- Creating an Outstanding Onboarding Experience
As we all know, the success of your continuous improvement is closely tied to your customer’s impression and perception of the quality you offer. Yes, they’re crucial to your overall success, and therefore you must never neglect the fact that creating a decent first impression might be the key to winning their hearts.
This is where onboarding joins the picture. In a nutshell, an outstanding onboarding process will enable you to achieve that ideal first interaction we were just talking about.
And chances are, most of your competitors are rocking the user onboarding game.
Creating and optimizing your user onboarding flow can make a positive change in your product’s profitability and revenue since it will contribute to the user experience in the first place. When done and used right, this journey will be a game changer for you – here’s how.
How can I step up my onboarding to create engagement between my customers and my product?
First things first, your onboarding should meet these 4 essentials:
- Usability: Remember that not everybody interacting with your product is necessarily a tech person. Your product should be easy to comprehend. The better your users understand your product, the more value they will see in it and thus appreciate its quality faster.
- Simplicity: Simplicity helps users achieve what they want via your product easier and faster. It also creates an environment in which users experience engagement with ease.
- Usefulness: Usefulness in a product is critical to meeting the user’s expectations and requirements. You need to offer useful solutions to specific problems through your product.
- Utility: Utility is linked to functionality. Again, it indicates the user journey in which your audience is able to use your improved product to achieve what they need.
At this point, it becomes vital for you to understand the factors that impact the onboarding experience you provide and make the necessary improvements along the way when needed.
Here’s an effortless way to improve user onboarding for web products – introducing UserGuiding✍🏼
To improve user onboarding for your web product with minimum effort, UserGuiding is ideal for those wishing to save time rather than dealing with coding and maintenance endlessly.
UserGuiding means no code, no stress, and is always down for ease of use, set up, creation, and customization:
With UserGuiding, you can easily -and instantly- set up guides, and create interactive walkthroughs, tutorials, and tooltips – all without writing a single code.
You can mix UserGuiding’s advanced features and turn your user onboarding flows into something extraordinary that will activate and engage your users.
Here’s a deeper look at those features:
✅ Interactive product tours,
✅ NPS Surveys,
✅ Onboarding Checklists,
✅ Resource Centers,
✅ Custom user segments, and more…
What you can achieve and create via these given features is entirely up to you. There’s obviously no limit to imagination and creation.🤘🏼
5- Create Feedback Loops
Feedback. Feedback. Feedback.
Do not be afraid to ask your customers questions!
Take it from me; I’ve been talking about feedback all day today. And I have my reasons.
Collecting customer feedback can -and will- provide you with actionable insights into what kind of product development can be made and how to improve product quality.
In addition to giving an upgrade to your products and services based on the feedback received, it is vital for your business – every business for that matter- to understand what users think about you and what was the reason behind them approaching your services in the first place. Once you get your hands on this information, you will have the opportunity to work on:
- Improved strategies that enable you to master customer retention
- Customer satisfaction
- Inspirations that let you upgrade your product and services according to the needs and requirements of your active users
- Product ideas that allow you to improve user experience
- Keeping up with the competition
So that’s why feedback is critical. Any more questions?
I guess no. But let me take a little more of your time to mention some of the most effective feedback channels where you can work your magic. ✨
Here are 5 of the most common feedback channels:
One of the most impactful ways to determine customer satisfaction with your product and how likely they are to stick around for a long time with your services is with the help of the Net Promoter Score Survey.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a survey that your customer success teams or product managers send to customers to get a bigger picture of customer satisfaction and loyalty level and the possibility of recommending your services.
You will have no difficulty understanding what kind of a game-changer NPS data is once you take a close look at the most successful businesses. It’s safe to say that almost all of them are using NPS instead of the traditional surveys practices to boost their product improvement by coming up with relevant strategies.
2- Surveys and Polls
Another efficient pair for customer feedback would be, of course, surveys and polls.
You can always send the links to your customers when you wish to receive feedback from them for the sake of overall product improvement.
And they’re easy to build as well. You can easily create customer satisfaction surveys distributed via e-mail and social media platforms to gather actionable feedback. Polls are no different either. You can create them to capture relevant information in a relatively faster and more to-the-point way.
These two tools allow the users to communicate about what is and is not working for them. And you can transform this information into the fuel that skyrockets your product growth.
3- In-App Surveys
Another way to ask for feedback is through in-app surveys. In-app feedback helps you develop customer-driven decisions regarding your product improvements since it’s built solely based on the user’s experience with your service and rating.
With tools of your preference, you can use in-app surveys to ask the right questions at the right time – without interrupting your user’s journey. With the results, you can understand where your users are on the product journey, who they are, how frequently they interact with your services, and more.
With this data, you can make relevant improvements to your product and offer enhanced experiences.
4- Social Media
Social media can be both your greatest enemy and your most supportive ally.
As you might guess, customers love to state how they feel about a certain product via social media. It’s no surprise for an upset user to post a message that reaches all their followers, who in turn repost the same message with their connections, starting a big fuss.
Once in a while, you can make searches for your products, your competitors, and some keywords related to your features and keep close track of what people are saying. Furthermore, you need to respond to both positive and negative feedback and try to put in more effort to offer solutions respectfully. After all, your comments will also be publicly seen and most probably discussed.
E-mail feedback is often underrated.
But it’s actually a great way of asking for feedback from users.
It’s efficient, to the point, and fast. Unlike regular surveys, you can add as many questions as you like within your mail, which will be more helpful in understanding expectations better.
Just make sure that you explain what you’re trying to achieve with your user’s opinion and how you’re going to use that feedback to improve your product. Show gratitude towards your users for taking the time to reply to you; you might even consider rewarding them for their feedback so they’ll be even more willing and share the next time.
6- Remove (?) Features
This one may sound a bit tricky, but have you ever wondered if your product might be a little too fat?
I know it’s hard to admit, but I’m here to tell you it’s possible: it’s called Feature Bloat.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, here’s a quick introduction:
Feature Bloat is a term that describes having too many features in your product, a lot more than necessary. It means your product is overloaded with functionalities and cannot be understood or followed by your users, thus failing to speak to their needs.
I’m aware it sounds like a nightmare, but it can actually turn the tables for you if you change your perspective. It’s true that it’s a mistake that needs to be avoided, but all mistakes can be learned from.
The keyword I’d like to use here is Minimalism. 👩🏽💻 Here are 4 quick tips:
▶️ Think of it as a process. Just like people setting goals for themselves to become more organized and determined to get rid of all the junk they keep in their garages. Similarly, PMs should be open to the idea of removing features – when they need to be removed.
▶️ The features that aren’t being used or adding value to the customer experience have no space to take up in your product! We witness it every year; user needs and requirements constantly evolve and hoping that all your features will survive in this flow would be foolishly optimistic.
▶️ So what you need to do is get rid of the irrelevant or no longer necessary ones along the way. The ultimate benefit of removing these functions from your product would certainly be creating an aerodynamic experience for your customers.
▶️ Considering that each of your features requires constant maintenance and improvements, feature bloat also results in extreme time consumption. So I think it’s safe to say that it’s a win-win for everybody; an improved product experience for your users and less time and effort spent on the features that do not deserve it!
Just like a dentist would decide on saving or removing a bad tooth, a product manager should question the existence of their product’s features based on a thorough analysis.
Constant Iteration Is Key 🔑
When it comes to improving a product, one big update is not usually the way to go.
It takes teams years over years to make a product perfect based on user research, feedback, and analysis. That means hundreds of small iterations to get the product where it needs to be.
So, the 5 key steps to improving a product are:
- Find a point of improvement
- Develop features or change elements based on that point
- Analyze if the changes had any positive impact
- Find out how you can improve that point even more (if you have found it, go back to step 2)
- Once done, move on to another point
Frequently Asked Questions
How can you make a product your users love?
It’s easy to build products your users love. First things first, you need to have a clear idea about who you’re doing this for. Know your audience. Make sure they know what they want as well. Conduct a couple of tests to avoid assumptions about quality. Introduce the product to your users. And communicate about how they feel about it!
Why is most product changes actually for business?
Product changes might look like they’re solely aimed at customer satisfaction. But the truth is, it’s always a win-win. It’s actually for the sake of your business, even. Product changes and improvements happen when your services need alterations according to the constantly growing and evolving needs and expectations. And if you choose to keep up with these, that means you’re doing something for your business and your users. Your business will be extremely affected by this approach and grow significantly.