Could user feedback be the key to your survival and success?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, it’s impossible not to have noticed economies across the globe slowing down, and the SaaS sector is feeling the pinch. A focus on user experience, and therefore the management of user feedback, has never been more important for the success of SaaS companies. With funding becoming more scarce (funding in SaaS businesses in Europe dropped by over 40% in late 2022), SaaS entrepreneurs are having to become hyper-focused on user satisfaction, operational efficiency and profitability — all at once.
In an economic climate where money is scarce and user loyalty is key, this requires a very specific balancing act of user needs, maximizing profits and remaining agile in order to stay competitive. Listening to customers has become imperative in order to maintain user trust and keep your product relevant – not only for users’ continued patronage but also potential investors. Failure to do so could be catastrophic for SaaS start-ups at this point in time.
“57% of IT teams are under pressure to reduce SaaS spend.”
Systematic 2022 State of Business Technology Report
SaaS clients are under increasing financial pressure — which can mean both opportunity and danger! As more and more businesses start to review their SaaS costs and consolidate licensing agreements, those tools that fail to meet expectation or value thresholds are being cut from the software rosters. This situation is not helped by recent pricing increases across the board as SaaS companies attempt to increase revenues.
- SaaS pricing inflation is growing 4x faster than global inflation
- Businesses spend 53% more on licensing than 5 years ago
- $1 in every $8 that enterprises spend goes to SaaS products
Project Collaboration Software: The ultimate pricing guide by Vertice
Those products that users genuinely ‘love’ are finding themselves in an even stronger position as businesses only want the best-of-the-best, many of whom are at the forefront of ‘Product Led Growth’ — for example Slack, Canva, and Survey Monkey. These SaaS providers have mastered the art of listening to their users and embraced user feedback to understand what they need, improve their product experience, resolve bugs, boost retention and build loyalty.
Regardless of what your product does, how good it may be, who your customers currently are and your future growth strategy, as times get tougher you need to be able to:
- Deliver greater value and demonstrate continuous improvement
- Retain (and where possible increase the value of) existing customers while acquiring new ones
- Operate with greater efficiency
How you manage user feedback is key to success.
As a product manager or SaaS founder, it’s important to understand how your users are feeling and what they need from you. User feedback can be a valuable tool to help you make decisions about how to survive, succeed and grow your business.
User Centered Product Development
At Userback we have proven that you can improve customer engagement and operational efficiency by following an approach that we call ‘User Centered Product Development’.
Building on the principles of User Centered Design, User Centered Product Development is about continuously understanding and implementing what customers need at every stage of the product development lifecycle, not just during the initial design phase.
Userback makes User Centered Product Development possible by streamlining and automating the collection and management of real time user feedback (such as feature requests, bug reports and general comments), so you can continuously improve your product, deliver value, reduce operating costs and create deeper engagement with your customers.
Here are 6 was that Userback can help you not just to survive financial downturns, but to to thrive:
- Build a product that users love (and that sells itself)
- Fix your bug fixing
- Supercharge your workflows
- Accelerate the product lifecycle
- Retain your talent
- Reduce operating costs
1. Build a product that users love
The best way to make sure that your customers stick around (and spend more!) is to build an app or a website that they love. To successfully build what people love, you need to know what they need, and the best people to tell you that are your users themselves!
Traditionally this only happens during the design phase. But in the era of Product Led Growth, products need to continuously improve and evolve, which requires the ongoing collection, assessment and implementation of user feedback throughout the product development lifecycle
Userback makes capturing and collecting user feedback frictionless and easy — it all happens in your app — plus system information is collected automatically, so there’s no need for clunky third party software to get screen grabs or make annotations. This means you’re more likely to hear from a broader group of users, not just those super vocal ones who have something really negative or really positive to say!
These broader insights help you to develop features that have broader appeal and ensure you increase your value to existing users as well as maximizing your relevance to as many potential new users as possible. So you not only retain existing customers… you become more appealing to new customers who may be looking for an alternative product that delivers greater value than what they are currently using.
Customers are less likely to walk away from a product that they’re emotionally invested in.
Once a customer provides some feedback, Userback makes it easy for you to acknowledge their input and thank them for it. This immediately makes them feel heard, valued and part of the process. This helps to increase their emotional investment in your platform, ultimately increasing their long term loyalty. Customers are less likely to walk away from a product that they have played a part in building or improving.
And the relationship building doesn’t end there! With Userback, once you believe you have resolved the issue you can loop the user who raised it back in and ask them to check it for you to ensure their expectations have been met. This reinforces to the user that you value their input and contribution.
Build a product that sells itself.
When people love your product it sells itself, and your existing users become a channel for acquiring new users and customers. In many cases this means marketing costs can be reduced to some degree, and those savings can either be banked or be redistributed into areas like customer success and research, which in turn contribute to improved customer engagement.
2. Fix your bug fixing
With headcount reductions and the need to deliver more for less (and in less time), it’s important to keep focused on doing what adds value, doing it really well and doing it really fast. But for many businesses bug fixing continues to be a massive drain on resources:
Did you know that almost 40% of developers spend up to 25% of their time fixing bugs, 26% spend 50% of their time and 8% spend 75% of their time fixing bugs?
That’s a lot of valuable time and effort wasted on retrospective code and unable to move your product forward or create features that boost customer retention.
For most SaaS businesses a significant challenge is the amount of time and effort that disappears in bug fixing. When you’re up against it, can you afford to have your developers looking backwards, trying to fix what went wrong in the past, rather than looking ahead and building what will secure the future?
For most developers themselves, the inefficiency and frustration is not with fixing the code itself. The majority of their time is spent chasing all the relevant information related to the bug. Things like user system details, what the user was doing when the bug was triggered (and what was happening in the few minutes before that):
- 39% of developers still use tools that require them to manually respond to errors;
- 22% feel overwhelmed when using manual processes to address errors in software;
- 31% say manually responding to errors makes them feel frustrated.
*2021 State of Software Code Report commissioned by Rollbar
3. Supercharge your workflows with instantly actionable user feedback
By streamlining and standardizing the collection, assessment, prioritization, resolution and closure of your bug reports and feature requests, Userback removes a lot of manual tasks, frustration and inefficiency, allowing you to significantly shorten the development lifecycle and get updated products and features to market in shorter time frames:
1. Faster collection and closure
Users can submit standardized bug reports and feature requests ‘on the fly’ without leaving your app. No more sifting through random emails, recalling distant phone conversations, or sorting notes and scribbles to understand what a user was trying to say. Simply replace all those disconnected platforms with a single consolidated all-in-one solution for communication and collaboration.
2. No more ambiguity or confusion
3. See through users’ eyes
As well as automatically collecting user system and session information, Userback allows users to add screen grabs and video to their feature requests and bug reports. With video recording the user can record a voiceover of them talking you through what they are doing.
Session Replays record every mouse movement and interaction in the background, so you can see exactly what has happened without having to ask the user.
Userback also allows users to enrich their feedback by annotating screen grabs and videos with scribbles and notes. You can then respond to their comments if you need more information.
Nothing gets you closer to being in the user’s shoes at the point when things don’t work the way they should!
4. Keep users in the loop (without having to actually talk to them).
It’s probably fair to say that most developers would prefer not to have to communicate with users directly if they can avoid it. Userback allows you to automatically keep users in the loop when they submit a feature request or bug report:
- Acknowledge that their feedback has been received;
- Let them know the planned resolution;
- Loop them back in when the necessary updates have been made.
5. Seamless integration
Userback can be readily integrated with existing project management, workflow and communication platforms, helping you to get the most value out of your overall technology stack.
4. Accelerate the product development lifecycle
In leaner times, it’s critical to accelerate the product development lifecycle so you don’t let any opportunities slip by. But that’s easier said than done, especially when you may have a lot to do and not a lot of time in which to get it done.
Take the guesswork out of what to do first.
If you have a number of issues to resolve it can be hard to know where to start or where to focus your time and effort.
With Userback’s Feedback Portal you can give your user base access to the list of bugs that you are planning to resolve. They can up or down vote what is most important to them, so you know what matters most… and work on that first. This also allows you to identify and prioritize what’s of value to the majority of users, not just the most vocal ones.
Get it right the first time, every time.
When it comes to scheduling bug fixes or enhancements, the additional context and information provided through Userback allows for more accurate estimates of effort (story points) and decreases the risk of timelines and budgets getting blown out. It’s also easy to assign the task to a developer and Userback streamlines the communication loop as the work is being done, so that everyone knows where things are at.
Once the issue has been resolved you can use Userback’s Feedback Portal to share updates and status changes with your community with zero effort and make sure their feedback has been addressed.
Set up your automated feedback loop in minutes.
Getting started with Userback couldn’t be easier, simply drop the widget into your site or app and choose from a range of branding, content, placement, targeting and tracking options.
5. Retain your talent
When you streamline user feedback you not only add features or fix bugs faster, you also make the whole experience less frustrating for developers, product managers and other key members of your team, which in turn means that you are less likely to lose them!
With Userback’s automated feedback loop, developers can spend less time on frustrating and time-consuming information gathering related to feature requests and bug reports because the system gives them all the system details and user actions they need… they don’t even have to talk to the users. This means that they can spend more time on the stuff they love doing, like building new features and functionality.
By removing a lot of the guesswork associated with user feedback, Userback can make the Product Manager’s life a whole lot easier and more rewarding by giving them new levels of clarity, control and communication, for example they can :
- Easily see how users are interacting with the product and identify any areas where users may be experiencing difficulties
- Gain valuable insights into how users feel about the product and what they would like to see improved.
- Keep track of customer satisfaction levels and identify any potential issues that need to be addressed.
- Know what features and fixes users want done first so that they can prioritize task knowing that they will have the
- Streamline communication and collaboration with users on their feedback, keeping them up-to-date on the progress of a specific bug or feature request from collection to closure.
Automating user feedback with Userback can help you to get a better understanding of your customers needs and how they can be addressed in-app or on-site rather than having to triage them through Customer Service, for example:
- Get valuable insights into how your customers feel about your product and where they are most likely going to need assistance so you can prepare your Customer Service team,
- Address recurring issues, requests and onboarding questions before they become bigger problems.
- Prioritize tasks by allowing them to focus their efforts on the most relevant customer concerns.
As well as reducing the burden on your Customer Service team this can increase customer satisfaction as they are able to self-serve, freeing up Customer Service to focus on more complex or critical challenges.
6. Reduce overall operating costs
Automating the collection and management of user feedback can help to reduce operating costs in several ways:
- Immediately save time and money that would have otherwise have to be spent manually gathering, organizing and analyzing customer feedback.
- Reduce the risk of errors and expenses associated with handling data inefficiently or incorrectly.
- Accelerate the identification of potential problems or issues and take preventive measures before they become costly problems.
- Understand customers and their needs better so you can focus on developing more targeted products and services — saving time and money in the development stages and delivering greater sales and profit after launch.
User feedback is an invaluable resource during tough times. It allows companies to identify areas for improvement or savings without overspending, while providing insight into what customers need or want from your product. Automation is key when it comes to streamlining the capture, assessment and implementation of this feedback.
Userback is an easy-to-use platform that streamlines the management of user feedback throughout the product development lifecycle. This approach to User Centered Product Development ‘enables’ you to continuously improve your product and add value for users, quickly and cost effectively, ultimately helping you to survive and grow through the current financial downturn and beyond.