How to improve SaaS UX with data

So you have a SaaS business, but sometimes things don't work, hard to understand, to find, or customers leave negative feedback, churn, or you tried different strategies and don't see much growth? Hop in and learn how to improve your SaaS startup's UX.

UX GROWTH HACKING UX DATA

Mev-Rael

2021-07-15 7 min read

Before I begin, let's align on what is UX and SaaS within context of this story.

I often see people put UX and UI together. UX has nothing to do with UI. You can improve UI, make it look awesome, yet still see no business results.

UX is universal and industry-independent, it's purely human, emotional, it's psychology, it's brand, adventure, journey people go through in order to find, understand information and make a right decision and perform right action in a "better" way.

We can breakdown and measure "better" as:
1. As quickly as possible (time it takes to get X done, waiting time between steps)
2. As cheaper and more valuable as possible (price per value customer gets out of your product or service)
3. Without negative emotions, frustrations, anger. And ideally with positive emotions and "delight".

The way you look, speak, walk is your brand. How you show what you do, how you help customers and how you communicate with them is your brand.

UX is that thing that connects a customer with your business via your brand in a most efficient and fun way for both sides.

And by SaaS I mean in a broader meaning, any digital product which allows customers to serve their needs themselves. Blog, eCommerce website, marketplace, Photoshop in browser, etc. it doesn't matter much, because UX is universal.

As quickly as possible

First, you need to clearly measure many metrics in order to see how people interact with your website, product or platform.

If you are not using any product analytics, I can recommend Google Analytics 4 because it measures a lot of stuff automatically, or Heap Analytics, which does the same and has a bit better UX. Both are available for free and you don't need a developer. You can use both, for example, to use Heap as extra to what is hard to do with GA4.

So how do we make experience for users and customers as quick as possible?

Take a paper to draw a diagram, or use some online tool like Miro or Whimsical.

Log in into your analytics tool and get all sorts of processes, journeys, funnels, paths people go through more often.

Now draw the full process on paper in a linear way where each step is a box and connect them as a chain.

Do the same with each possible journey or funnel you have.

Now think about how can you:
1. Make step in the process faster
2. Minimize the waiting time between steps

In digital products speed comes down to your engineering resource, team, experience.

However, often there is more than that.

Add possible branches like a tree to your process diagram, what are other sub-processes or related processes.

Do users need to interact with human? Do they need to submit a form on the external page?

Think also internally, really draw a diagram for each process as detailed as possible. Does customer support needs to interact with legal team? Is there a packaging, order processing, delivery? Do users need to wait for a somebody to approve whatever user has created?

Now, when you see full process from bird-eye view, think how you could optimize time between steps and step itself. Is it engineering problem or a human?

Optimize page loading time, remove animation, minimize images, deliver search results or filters faster. bring process diagram with your insights from analytics and simply tell developers where things are slow and let them think how it could be faster, and let them later present you solutions and estimate what could be possible optimization in a numeric format and what it would cost to make it happen.

Think if you could use AI to automatically moderate your platform. It might not be perfect, but from user's perspective it will look without delays. Moderator still might check it later and remove it. For example, Instagram starts uploading photos to the server as soon as you choose an image, even if you won't actually upload this photo to your profile. There will be few seconds delay from your side before you will decide to upload the photo and when you will click the button, for you it will look like a magic, photo uploaded instantly.

Human problems are solvable by making process clear, transparent, simple and visual internally, and by putting right people closer to each other. Hire a shirt-term coach or consultant for your team all the time. Put people with legal education into support team. Consider finding another manufacturing or delivery partner closer to customer, etc.

I see executives often are reluctant from bringing in external expertise. Just bringing somebody who knows hella a lot and might cost you just couple of thousand for a month, your team will learn a lot, improve processes, knowledge, will work better together and you will get very high ROI.

As cheaper and more valuable as possible

Always think from customer's point of view, not yours. It's not just pricing on your website. People want to be very wise and careful with their money, as well as time, and emotions.

Does it require them to learn something? Make learning curve smaller. Use analogy, something they are familiar with. Teach them in a visual way how to do something, but overall, make it self-explanatory. Do not reinvent the wheel. Keep button to look like a button. Just go to world's top competitors or similar products and copy best experience from them.

Pricing comes from:
1. What it costs you to make
2. + value you provide to a customer.

Think how can you optimize unit economics in your process. Can you serve many, many people and hence reduce the price? Like Elon Musk, can you use first principles and think how to optimize rockets and make them reusable? Reduce the cost as much as you can.

Sometimes you can't much reduce cost anymore. However, you always can add more value to the customer.

UX = value to the customer.

Don't just build features. Help people get the job done, realize their dreams, desires. Help them grow, make money and they always will be happy to give you your % back.

The more value you create, the more revenue you get.

By helping customers succeed and grow, they help you to grow in return.

Use "continuous discovery" to constantly seek for new opportunities, conduct jobs-to-be-done research and interviews, constantly look into market, trends, how future will look 10 years from now, and master analytics, or even create your own. Make it more than simply analytics, make it centralized insights platform to help you clearly see what you don't see, beyond basic metrics and what you know already.

World' top companies are top because they always optimize this value, and because they created product-led machine run by exceptional product leaders and product managers, machine which works every day autonomously on how to deliver more value to more customers in a way that works for the business.

UX is a science.

Without negative emotions and with delight

Finally, this last one is hard to measure, yet nothing is impossible.

First of all, if you don't know what to do, always focus on defense and not offense. It might be fun to be aggressive, push forward, attach, and it is boring to stay at one place without doing much, but business is not about fun. Business is business. If you don't have sales, you don't have a business, you have a hobby or a charity.

If you will make your product or service simply without any negative emotions, and especially anger, then you already will be top 10% and will have a solid business you can grow successfully. Don't think about "delight". I know it is a cool, sexy buzzword you hear all the time, but before you will be able delight customers, you will have to make them feel well good, and if you have bad UX, they won't.

I experience myself many products and services every day and I can tell you, recently I've encountered bugs even using Google products, and had many bad experiences across continents. So it is ok to not to be perfect and don't try to build high-end product in one day without resources which global company has.

The reason Apple has such a brand and quality, is exactly because they are focused on boring defense stuff and focusing only on few things, ruthlessly, not building many different products.

You will have to make a decision and what are you willing to sacrifice. Do you want more features with worse UX, or do you want less features with more UX? You can't have both at the same time, because it is hella hard and costs millions to craft amazing experience. Your engineering resource will always dictate you how far you will be able to go.

So how do you make your SaaS less ugly?

QA.

Test with people with luxurious taste and high standards and demands, who can't look at ugly and don't accept good enough. They will instantly notice what you don't see.

Put a ruthless product leader with such taste in charge of QA.

In data science they say - garbage in, garbage out. Bad data gives no insights, no matter how much you will invest into cool and sexy AI and ML.

If there is no person who can spot the difference between manually crafted high-quality Dior piece and a cheap copy-cat quickly, then garbage will continue to show up.

Everyone likes beautiful, clean, modern, luxurious hotels, to travel, stay safe, eat delicious food, isn't it? What works for average people, works only for average and below. What works for affluent and tough people, works for everyone.

Hire only world class designers, product leaders, managers, engineers. Establish Product-Led mindset and process. Work in squads.

Bring that detailed process diagram you made, now let's make it even more detailed. Within each process, what are possibilities, limitations? What people try to achieve? What are visible elements during that step? What are sub-sub-steps? Any other related jobs people try to achieve?

Now you know where you suck, and only when you know, only then you can improve.

Organize your UX and QA operations like a Roman Emperor.

But cheapest way to make your products less ugly is simply by designing them better from the beginning. Improve design process or hire top creative product manager, bring in a coach, consultant, if you don't know how.

You can always measure negative emotions by surveying your customers and asking them how important is is to them do use this particular feature and how satisfied are they right now.

Have a clear list of all jobs-to-be-done, list of each process, each detail. Measure how they are performing. If you see users are performing each step, each action faster, achieving results faster, using your product more often, talking about your product a lot, recommending it, leaving high NPS scores, you are on the right track.

Always think about a customer and what they are trying to achieve, not your business and features.

If you want to learn more or need help with UX or product and grow your business, as well as also get winning strategies years ahead with minimum amount of investment, risk and maximizing ROI, then click the button bellow to go to contact page and reach out to me using your preferred method, and all that with guaranteed results.

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