There are a few key points a customer considers when deciding whether to continue with a product or to leave it for a newer one. Chief among these, are value (or cost to benefit ratio), and the usability of the product. Given the amount of similarly priced products and solutions in the market, the main differentiator has become usability. Usability doesn't translate into the number of features, or even errorless usage, but to the overall experience a customer has when using the product.
The SaaS (Software as a Service) model has certain built-in advantages when convincing users to sign up, such as scalability, ease of licensing, and infrastructure free usage. Even with these advantages the challenge of acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones remains stronger than ever.
For these reasons, great UX is essential for SaaS products.
Good UX makes your product stand out in a sea of similar solutions.Customers are more likely to stick with your solution if they enjoy using it.
In effect a proper UX strategy can lead to increased sales and customer retention.
What are a few effective ways that great UX can improve a customer’s experience? Let's discuss from the top.
Sales and Marketing
Before you can do anything else, you first have to get the customer to sign up. Getting a customer to sign up for your SaaS over competing products is no small task. It is important to have your UX team walk through the customer's journey from the point of initial contact to the point of sign up and payment. Ensure that there is nothing to distract or scare away the customer (strange pop-ups and flashing signs offering discounts, I'm looking at you!). No one likes to part with their hard-earned money. Make the process painless as possible.
One of the best ways of creating a lasting impression on customers, remains one of the most underutilised to this day. Most products try to cram as much as possible into their onboarding process, thinking that if they don't glean every bit of information, setup every single profile to the Nth degree, and introduce even the most useless of their features, they haven't made good use of the opportunity.
All this does is overload and turn off customers before they have even had a chance to really use the system. Which is a shame, cause the rest of the product may be great, but first impressions matter! Work with your UX team to create a seamless onboarding process, one that presents or demands exactly the right amount of information at the right time. One that helps the customers rather than makes them feel that they are cramming overnight for a final exam.
Correctly designed applications
A SaaS product remains a software product. It's important not to lose sight of this distinction. Like any other product in the market, your SaaS offering will only function as well as it is designed to. A proper development team, partnered with a skilled UX team has the best chance of not only capturing your user's entire journey, but mapping it to your application in a way that feels natural and intuitive to your target audience. This in turn reduces the learning curve for users, who find their time spent more efficiently actually using the product to accomplish their goals, building loyalty to your product.
Now you've got customers signed up, onboarded, and using your product. Next step is to make sure they stay with you! As every textbook and article on marketing will tell you - getting a new customer is 5 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Make sure you have processes in place to look after your existing customers, your feedback loops must be epic in their effectiveness as must your response to questions and feature requests customers may have.
Ensure that your product continues to meet their expectations.
The red queen hypothesis works in software as much as it does everywhere else in life, we need to keep running as fast as we can, to stay where we are.
A skilled UX team will do wonders in this regard, ensuring that the feedback process is streamlined and friendly, while helping your development team to keep the product updated with the latest features and UX improvements.
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For the above and other reasons, good UX is essential to ensuring customer retention. A skilled UX team can make your SaaS product intuitive and user-friendly from onboarding onwards, creating a lasting first impression that will do wonders to improve customer loyalty. In addition, a skilled UX team can help set your SaaS product apart in a sea of similar offerings. Increasing your customer acquisition, through organic brand building.