What is Product Experience and 10 Tips to Improve PX

As makers, our perspective to products is limited, and to be honest, worthless to its eventual success.

Yes, you have to love the idea of your product yourself first, but down the road; the users’ thoughts and emotions and experience is what should lead the way. This is where the concept of Product Experience was born.

In this article, I’ll go over what the product experience is, and ways to improve it for your business.

What is Product Experience?

Product Experience (PX) refers to what a user or customer experiences when using a product; their thoughts, emotions, and motives. It is the part of User or Customer Experience that takes part inside or with the product, which means every second a customer is in an interaction with the product should be counted as product experience.

IGI Global defines Product Experience as:

“The awareness of the psychological effects elicited by the interaction with a product, including the degree to which our senses are stimulated, the meanings and values we attach to the product, and the feelings and emotions that are elicited”.

This definition can be simplified as a kind of perception the customers have as a result of their interaction with the product from the moment they log in until they stop using it. Therefore, anything that happens within the digital boundaries of the product is defined as product experience.  

Although there are many ideas and techniques out there about how to present the consumers with the best experience, since there is not a fixed criterion, PX is one frequently overlooked aspect of customer experience that businesses can use to take advantage of, if they want to stand out and ultimately gain the loyalty of their customers. 

Product experience (PX) in the software industry represents the duration of the customer journey taking place within the app. As SaaS has become the most basic distribution model for applications, the duration of the customer’s interaction within the product has also increased since a product has become a medium where they are onboarded, where they are taught new features, and where value is ultimately noticed.

Why is Product Experience Important?

Product experience, especially intuitive and personalized product experience, is prominent since a poor-quality product experience would make the customers dread having to use a product to finish a job.

In the meantime, successful product experiences increase duration usage, create loyalty, and boost NPS. Therefore, it stands great importance that businesses should value the feedback from the quality of the customers’ experience and take action accordingly since what’s crucial is to improve the experience in accordance with the demand of the customers by product experience management. 

what is product experience

10 Tips to Improve Product Experience

Improving product experience as a product owner is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity.

Here are 10 tips for you to improve your product experience today:

Tip #1: Efficient and Enjoyable User Onboarding

Do you think you’re doing enough in terms of onboarding new users efficiently?

I’m going to assume you don’t because 9 out of 10 product managers/owners I meet don’t. To understand the importance of user onboarding to product experience, you’ll need to remember how stranded you’ve felt when you found yourself in the dashboard of a product with no decent tutorial whatsoever.

This feeling, generated by a product experience with no or poor onboarding can result in customers churning, quitting, leaving bad reviews, and being inactive.

Here are the three quick ways to improve your user onboarding:

  1. Start using an interactive product tour,
  2. Guide users quickly to their Aha! Moments,
  3. Make it fun and interesting.

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Tip #2: Proper – Efficient Monitoring

Just start by listening.

Fresh-faced startups are often rather compelling and endearing because they don’t have huge resources, teams, and the means to be cold and heartless data-driven machines. They need to get, well, up close and personal with their users and scale. Touching off from such a wholesome, pure, and social foundation projects them in the right direction. 

To be successful, this level of helpful, friendly, and genuine listening must translate into modern forms of monitoring.

  • How are you getting feedback from your users?
  • How much is personal vs. purely digital or automated?
  • Are your monitoring systems updated, or would calling them legacy be an understatement?
  • Purely analytical data is powerful stuff, but it’s not the whole picture. 

SaaS users in the 2020s want to know they’re being monitored, truly listened to, in the context of maintaining an optimal experience. No different than forums without moderators typically go nowhere. On the other hand, forums with fast-acting, competent, and fair moderators are extremely popular.

Your company is the forum! One way of really helping to wrap your mind around Product Experience professionals is to see them as invaluable moderators who actively listen and respond. 

Tip #3: Leveraging User Feedback

Let’s assume your user monitoring systems fit like a glove. 

Question is, are you effectively leveraging this information in ways that hit company goals while also increasing value for your customers? Startup SaaS companies don’t usually command the resources to run through the collegiate approach of expensive corporate consultants, high-quality focus groups, research panels, double-blinds, etc. 

Do you feel like startups have months and months on end to get this figured out? 

For plenty of us, talking to people we’re looking to serve and provide value for isn’t technically or logistically hard. At least it shouldn’t be. But taking that information and using it to potently increase some aspect of PX is a challenge. 

Note: What About Unsolicited Feedback?

The question is, where are your users, critics, and haters talking about your SaaS (and competitors) online that you aren’t in control of? Some examples include social media, forums, niche consumer watch-dog platforms, the comment sections of large software-affiliate/review sites, or comment sections under video-based content in your industry. 

There are so many, because of how balkanized the internet has become. Today, it’s REALLY easy to lose sight of just how big it really is. Users aren’t all forthcoming. They aren’t all going to hand you the most groundbreaking feedback on a silver platter.

Sometimes you’re going to have to go out and find it. No, not everything you need is one quick internet search away. Here and there you may need to go beyond the first page of results in your searches. 

Once you get this, LEVERAGE IT, and let your users know you go the extra yard to proverbially keep your finger on the pulse of their needs, values, and desires in relation to your product. 

Tip #4: Build & Prepare for an Educated User Base

Here are the three sides to this triangle:

  1. General Information Marketing: Direct PX teams aren’t technically focused on marketing content, but the Product Experience. However, the VAST majority of your potential users are likely to find your product through education-based rather than sales-based content – blogs, articles, news releases, video, and so on, that shows them how your solution is the solution to their need or problem. 
  1. Product Specific Education: Again, while not always directly under pure Product Experience teams, a substantial percentage of overall user satisfaction (especially when you’ve got a more complex, high-ticket, high-value SaaS) comes from their ability to find the answers they need within the ecosphere of your content. Popular options are branded ‘Academies’, general knowledge banks, forum-based support within open-source approaches, and extensive FAQs sections.
  1. New Features & Functions: Ensuring users know how SPECIFICALLY to get and extract the value they want from your SaaS is paramount. You simply cannot otherwise reach any reasonable retention goals. Don’t just expect people ‘to get it’ or assume you’ve made the maze braindead-easy to navigate.

Users need to consistently see and experience the value of your product or it will swiftly wither on the digital vine. 

improve product experience

Tip #5: Consistent & Personable Product Info

You set the bar for your product information and how it’s presented (context) to users.

If you paint a picture of luxury and then display some ragged, outdated SaaS platform…KPIs will suffer. And if you only show them the best stuff on this platform, but not on this one, then the entire brand will suffer immensely. 

Product-specific information that touches users should be consistent, personable, and in-line with user expectations. 

  • Give users rich, optimized, current, and curated data through every channel. 
  • Polish! Don’t look disorderly. Fix sloppy mistakes. Address poor copy instantly. 
  • Emphasis – personalize, personalize, personalize for maximum relevance and effectiveness.

Tip #6: Make Improving PX Company-Wide

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.

What this means is first and foremost, educating your company on the fundamentals of Product Experience, how very specific PX teams work in relation to PX-focused companies, and what it can do for the company at large – impacting everyone. 

This doesn’t need to be exhaustive at first, but over time incorporated and woven throughout a new refreshed company dynamic. In fact, this is happening to a larger and larger slice of B2B and B2C SaaS market share in most cases already. 

Tip #7: Clearly Define Core Responsibilities

On the other hand, it’s easy to put that on paper for say, development teams, sales staff, or even your customer service.

It’s quite another thing to be explicit in what this responsibility entails. 

HOW do they translate their work, their integral part in the greater machine, into the value your users are willing to pay for?

  • Development: PX teams work with dev teams ensuring focus on high-priority moves vetted both from a company KPI and the users’ perspective. Often users want features/functions that differ from core aims, so PX plays middleman to ensure the right people are in the loop.
  • Sales: What your sales staff can do is stay on the same page with users and development to deliver genuine, consistent, and easily understandable value. In many ways, sales staff are the final bastion of hope to set the bar where it should really be so there aren’t any surprises (sloopy).
  • Customer Service: Most users don’t separate a direct experience with your product and the experience of engaging your customer service – they’re intimately connected. CS reps can be there to rescue, resuscitate, and reinvigorate a product experience when users have run into challenges. These, in turn, can become opportunities for optimization through your PX team. 
enhance product experience

Tip #8: Prioritize Early Warning Systems

With the sheer mountain of potential options at their disposal, product leaders establish early warning systems to act as filters.

They don’t need to know about each and every tiny detail customers are complaining about, because let’s face it, some of that data-river isn’t valuable to anyone. 

Make sure these systems are prioritizing. Not along general or ‘basic’ lines, but deliberate. Which signals are the most important? As you comb through all that content in all its many forms (emails, social, CS, etc.), there should be a way to recognize the high-impact opportunities!

Tip #9: Keep Optimizing Product Content

This tip is pretty basic and goes without saying, but to be prudent, digital companies and digital Product Experiences break down just as quickly as brick & mortar businesses.

That’s a fact. Product Experience teams can be those sets of eyes to keep all product-based content where it needs to be – landing page copy, in-product copy, onboarding copy, and all else. 

Once product-based content of any kind is left alone for more than a month, things can start going downhill fast.

Tip #10: Increase Emphasis on Building Trust

Imagine you’re given a fork by two people, and it’s the same exact fork – one person who you trust completely, and another person who you’ve never met before. Again, there’s nothing physically different about the forks and how to get value from them, but for some reason, the experience of using the fork that was given by someone you trust just feels better.

You believe it’s the cleaner fork.  

Right?

You want people to feel that same sort of feeling when engaged with your product, so that over time your brand equity is built and increased in tandem. 

Note: Product Specialists should be mindful of the different degrees of trust most users associate with certain channels. And listen, this is extremely fluid. Consider the dynamic changes and developments in social media platforms in the early part of 2021. One minute a channel you’re on is considered THEE channel. Three months later, it’s despised (being boycotted) by a third of the population. 

Conclusion

What do you want your user to go through when they’re using your product?

A complete torture, or a delight?

It is unbelievable to see big businesses with outstanding products select the torture route; 👀 6 Examples of Bad UX.

The choice is yours!


Frequently Asked Questions


What is product experience management?

Product experience management refers to the task of understanding users’ experiences inside the product and improving them, creating opportunities of upsell and upgrades where necessary, and making sure the user journeys are smooth and on-point always.


How do I improve product experience?

Product experience can be improved by analyzing user behavior and adopting product analytics to understand pain points and fixing them, and also by using no-code tools such as UserGuiding to improve user onboarding and make it more efficient and fun.


How do marketers enhance product experience?

Aside from the tips we’ve shared in the article, especially as marketers, you can communicate with your target audience to identify their pain points, collaborate with the product team in fixing these, and use no-code tools to create and introduce UX elements that improve PX yourself.

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Alican Bektas

Alican is the Product Manager of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that helps teams scale user onboarding and boost user engagement.