In the world of SaaS, we have entered the era of Product Led Growth (PLG), where the product rules. PLG empowers your product team to lead customer acquisition and retention and take ownership of your customer’s journey. With great power comes great responsibility. It’s not enough for your product to address a clear customer need in a way no other product can match. That product must also be as easy as possible for your end-user to use and gain value.
Defining that frictionless product experience can cause a lot of…friction between your company’s CX-focused teams. What does ease-of-use mean for your end-users, and how do you prioritize the user interaction points? We’ll look at PLG and then dive into what designing frictionless products look like in practice.
The PLG basics
Much has already been written about Product Led Growth, so there’s no need to delve in here. In short, the PLG model can be defined by:
- Focus on the end-user. SaaS spells the end of the vast IT purchases that need to be “good enough” for most people at a company. Individual end-users can now access software to meet their needs and make their jobs easier.
- Freemium or trial early in the user journey. Just because it’s easy to log into your software doesn’t mean your user wants to pay for it without a test run. Once your user realizes the service’s value and sees the opportunity for even more value, they’ll pay to upgrade and spread to others across their company.
- Quick time to value. For obvious reasons, when your product adoption depends on demonstrating value, it had better happen pretty quickly.
- Virality built-in. PLG models do away with a lot of marketing and sales, so you’ll need to build product champions within companies to drive adoption. You’ll also need to make it easy for your champions to share recommendations externally to social channels and review sites.
The value of an easy-to-use product is transparent for your end-user. Assuming your product offers value no one else does, your users can meet their goals faster and easier through your product. Users get a product that’s easy to understand, easy to get started with, and easy to integrate into their workflows. Slam dunk.
Your company will increase the chance that your freemium and trial users will become paying customers. And because you’ve made it easy to add new users, it’s more likely your product will become organically integrated into your customer’s processes and not easy to replace.
Apply oil here
We get it; you have to move fast when creating products and still deliver value. The first question people have when they’re looking to make products easy to use is “where should I focus first?” It depends on your target customers’ needs. We can look at a PLG company to explain.
While we could profile Slack, Calendly, or other well-known PLG companies, the fact is we don’t have an inside person there. We do, however, know Wootric. So we’ll review PLG-based frictionless design in our practices.
When we created our free model, we focused on the five things our new CX champions need to be successful. And we made it as easy as possible for them to get value in those areas quickly.
- Set up. No matter which PLG company you look at, accessing the product and setting it up has to be an intuitive process. If there’s friction in this first step, you’re dead in the water.
- Survey creation. We’ve based Wootric on the micro-survey that asks a single question with open-ended follow up. Thus it was imperative to create easy access to a choice from three tried and true survey questions — Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey, Customer Effort Score (CES), or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) survey — for setting up a rigorous CX program. Free plan users select a question, customize the survey in our platform, and they’re off!
- Real-time analytics. We created a simple, clear dashboard that lets free users track trends and read and respond to feedback fast. The volumes of survey scores and open-text responses are collected and analyzed. These real-time analytics offer a lot of fast insight, including a product bug that needs to be fixed immediately or an unhappy customer who needs a reach out. It also allows users to focus on longer-term strategies by monitoring customer happiness over time.
- Act and close the loop. Communication — both to the customer and internally at the company — is vital for taking action on feedback. Our free plan offers easy one-click integrations with Intercom and Slack because those platforms are beloved by customer-focused companies and modern businesses. These integrations make it easy for CX Champions to get feedback into the hands of teams that need to take action on it, whether it’s a support team in Intercom or a product team monitoring Slack.
Growth through products
While freemium is an important offer, your end goal isn’t just gathering free customers, of course. Neither is ours.
Like most PLG companies, our freemium model is the foundation of all we offer. Making our platform easy to use from step 1, we have grown our customer base and our paying customer base in a much shorter time than tech companies could just a decade or two ago.
That frictionless approach to PLG has to be systemic from freemium to every level. Thus we’ve built the paid functionality to be just as easy to access and use.
- Add surveys and channels. Once users see how easy it is to get value from one survey in one channel, they can gain more insights by increasing surveys and channels. So a user who sent an NPS survey by email can add an in-app CES survey. The new options let our users reach their customers wherever those customers are in their journey.
- Add touchpoints. Multiple touchpoints give CX programs insight across the customer journey. Those touchpoint check-ins need to arrive at important moments like just after a support interaction or onboarding completion or after accessing a new feature. Thus creating frictionless integrations with user-service channels (e.g., Salesforce, Zendesk, Segment) was a priority for us to grow our customer base.
- Add functionality. When companies begin collecting 500+ pieces of feedback, they need more functionality like multiple languages, hyper-targeted in-app surveys, and both sentiment and text analytics. Our platform’s designed to easily upgrade from the free plan and unlock these options as their program matures.
- Add product lines. After the initial free success, companies can quickly add new product lines and their teams. One of our accounts has grown from one product to 50+ with us because the platform was so easy for everyone to use. PLG in action!
All customers are important, regardless of their pay model. The freemium model is enough for some companies for now, and that’s great. We know that when their CX program matures, they’ll look to us. Other customers optimize their CX programs based on the free model and strategically increase their CX programs to a professional model or work with us to customize their specific needs. No matter what level the customer is at, their feedback is invaluable to us. We turn that feedback into new features ensuring our product leads to both customer and Wootric growth. PLG can do the same for you.
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