From customer sign-ups to satisfaction, the power of user experience design in product-led growth

Product-led organizations have seen some astonishing growth in recent years. We recently talked about why product-led growth (PLG) is taking the business world by storm. In addition to helping businesses get more customers, faster, the PLG model is becoming the new standard due to users demanding more transparency and value before they commit to becoming a customer. Today’s customer isn’t just going to take your word for it that you have a great product, they want to see and experience it themselves.

In a product-led organization the focus is on creating a product that is so valuable, user-friendly, and well-designed that it inherently drives customer engagement, adoption, and growth. That means user experience is a very important factor of your product development. Emphasizing user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design offers both immediate and lasting advantages. In the short term, focusing on UX can result in increased conversions, improved metrics, and enhanced SEO performance. Lasting, strategic benefits include the elevation of customer satisfaction, reputation enhancement, increased brand awareness, and bolstered loyalty that will safeguard the future of your brand and business.

Using UX to drive user adoption and retention

When leading with your product to attract new customers it's important to deeply understand your user. What are their pain points and motivations? UX research can identify important information to help you get crystal clear on the who, what, why and how of product use.

UX Design takes a look at every aspect of the product from branding and design to usability and function. In doing this you ensure your branding and messaging aligns with your user experience. This also adds clarity to what you are offering. Investing in UX can provide specific insights that you can then apply to your marketing. For example saying “We help you complete your project 3x faster” is better than saying “We help you complete your projects quicker and easier”. Be specific in your offer and then deliver on it.

Once you’ve convinced a user to try your product, those critical first impressions and interactions will be key to retention. In fact, studies have found that 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience and 90% of users reported they stopped using an app due to poor performance.

Traditional or sales-led companies tend to lean on live onboarding sessions and wikis or user manuals. While these provide a ton of information they can often be overwhelming for the customer and delay time to value. Product-led companies are bringing this critical information and how-tos into their product via interactive walkthroughs, digestible tips and contextual guidance. This user-led approach is key to PLG by allowing users to experience and understand the value of your product on their own time.

UX Design creates engaging first-impressions and onboarding experiences by identifying and optimizing how users navigate your product. This could look like interactive tours, lightboxes to highlight key features, checklists to show goals already achieved and much more.

It’s important to note that UX Design is more than just bells and whistles. In fact, we often see overdone bells and whistles as a bandaid for bad design. That’s why it’s important to look at the data. A key aspect of PLG is data-driven iteration. A UX expert can look at your data to identify friction points in your product and dramatically reduce churn.

The impact of UX on customer satisfaction and brand loyalty

Product-led companies focus on helping their buyer become so successful, the resulting decision to become a paid user is an easy one. A key aspect of this decision is a functional and delightful experience with your product. UX research and prototyping provides valuable insights into how your customers see and use your product.

Every product has ways it's meant to be used for ideal outcomes and value. UX Design can help build those workflows and make them clear to users. This increases customer satisfaction and improves time to value. A PLG model helps you identify what kind or how much usage your typical customer needs to become a long term user. For example Facebook's Chamath Palihapitiya famously found their metric in discovering that if they could get a user to 7 friends in 10 days, they were much more likely to become an active lifetime user.

Your UX team can create ways to get your customer to that metric by keep them engaged or creating ways to re-engaging them. One way this is achieved is through conversational bumpers. This can appear in various formats with the goal to educate users, meet them where they are and pull them back in, and motivate them to use or buy your product. A good example of this is Canva sending its users an email celebrating X number of designs at certain milestones, celebrating the customer's achievements and motivating them to keep using and creating. This usage messaging is a good way to show value around renewal and invoicing time as well.

These are just a few of the ways a good customer experience is going to impact user adoption, retention, satisfaction and loyalty. By ensuring excellent UX and allowing customers to experience the product for themselves PLG organizations are seeing tangible benefits like increased sales and referrals.

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