Product Experience (PX) Management Guide | Plus The Best Tools

We’ve put together this comprehensive and thorough Product Experience (PX) Management guide to give you all the right tools and information you’ll ever need. Particularly, in order to manage, strategize, measure, and impact all aspects of the product experience for your business. It’s your ultimate guide to product positioning and how to do it right.

Whether you’re a startup or a Fortune 500 company, there’s always a process to get your product to market. It’s called product positioning and it’s critical for brand success. What it is, and how you do it is determined by various factors. Developing products that people use, love, and talk about is the culmination of product experience.

That’s why companies have to nail their product development and lifecycle management — whether you’re building a product from scratch or improving an existing product, listening to customers can mean the difference between success and failure. It’s up to your product teams to create customer delight in order to cater to your overall customer product experience.

Ultimately, as you’ll learn herein, the right Product Experience (PX) management tool can really help your team to develop more valuable products for customers. As well as plan for product iterations, and help product managers improve collaboration with other teams — for the overall customer experience improvement.

What Product Experience (PX) Management Entails

Product Experience (PX) is the journey a customer takes within a web-based product buying process. Overall, it’s the customer experience with the product, from beginning to end. Whilst, similar to User Experience (UX), in the software industry, Product Experience (PX) refers to a portion of the customer journey that takes place within various application platforms.

In other words, Product Experience is a subset of the entire user experience. It focuses on the entirety of the customer journey that takes place within the product itself. It’s from the first time a customer logs in until the final time they quit using an application. Everything occurring within the digital “four walls” of a product contributes to the product experience.

Also, in the age of free trials and freemium business models, customers trying out products for themselves is now the leading way purchase decisions are made. And, as SaaS becomes the primary software delivery model, more of the customer’s engagement with a vendor takes place within the product. It’s where users get onboarded to learn about new features.

As well as where they ultimately realize value. Today, leading product managers are focusing on understanding and improving the product experience they deliver to grow revenue and reduce customer churn. For more traditional companies, focusing on the relationship between a web or mobile application and larger business objectives is key.

Typically, it’s part of a digital transformation strategy. Here, an orientation towards product experience is how companies of all sizes drive a meaningful transformation. And then, take full advantage of digital products as part of their initiatives to modernize them. More so, in order to become more data-driven and customer-centric.

How Product Experience (PX) Differs From User Experience (UX)

Realistically, a User Experience (UX) In Design encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with a web business company, its services, and its products. It’s important to distinguish the total User Experience from the User Interface (UI), even though the UI is obviously an extremely important part of the design.

Of course, we all want to write that text that site visitors will gladly read from beginning to end. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. Most of the time, people scan through contextual texts. Increasingly, they all depend on mobile every day — for work, communications, eCommerce, content consumption, banking, directions, and as their sole computing device.

What’s more, they are using a variety of devices such as mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, phablets, wearables, and hybrid laptops. Uniquely, the growing dependence of many businesses on both web-based and mobile applications has led many companies to place a priority increase on User Experience (UX) Designs. Coupled with other Motion UI Design tools.

Learn More: Why User Experience (UX) Design Matters | Plus Best Practices

While User Experience (UX) is concerned with the specific interactions a user has with a product, PX looks more broadly at the entire customer journey with the product. In many SaaS products, the complete customer journey from trial to purchase to renewal takes place within the product. Product teams, therefore, need to think about the overall product usability.

But, they also need to mind how the product can facilitate each stage of the journey and ensure that customers realize ongoing value. For example, to improve their product experience, RE/MAX automated in-app onboarding and training for agents on its new CRM and used product analytics to track usage and adoption over time.

This way, the product management team was able to continue iterating on these in-product experiences and could better identify where to invest, education and support. Placing a focus on product experience is in line with customer-centric approaches. While also embracing design thinking in terms of product development.

What the customer experiences and how they experience it is the product from their perspective. If it doesn’t do what they want and how they want it, it’s not meeting expectations. Negative consequences could follow.

Why Does Product Experience (PX) Matter?

On one hand, intuitive product experience is more important than ever. A lousy product experience will chase away users away or make them resent having to use a product to complete a task. Meanwhile, good product experiences increase usage, improve net promoter scores, and even build loyalty. Unfortunately, many products lack formal training.

Or rather, products onboarding as part of their sales and adoption cycle. Users are expected to dive in and figure it out as they go. Therefore, the product must be clear, discoverable, and well-labeled. In-app help and support should be available from within the product. On the other hand, there are intuitive and personalized consumer product experiences.

These are the key things that are raising user expectations for business software. While subscription licensing models are making it easier than ever for dissatisfied customers to switch vendors. Usability and good design are no longer enough to meet today’s customer expectations. Software products must educate, engage, and adapt to their users’ needs.

Suffice to say, this is something that greatly heightens the value of product experience management. But, most companies don’t understand how users derive value or where they encounter friction inside an application. According to Pendo’s 2019 Feature Adoption Report, this means that as much as 80% of SaaS features go virtually unused.

And, in the end, costing an estimated $30 billion in wasted R&D as a result — this is a very clear sign of a sub-optimal product experience. To course-correct, product managers can frame and measure the product experience across five user lifecycle objectives. So to speak, with various coinciding actions going hand in hand.

Some of such coinciding actions are as follows:
  • Onboarding New Users: Focus on customer readiness and engagement. Automate walkthroughs and in-app guides, targeting personalized messages based on usage and feedback.
  • Driving Product Adoption: Design segmented customer journeys. Understand and measure user behavior with retroactive product analytics and user analytics. Employ tooltips to highlight features where and when they’re needed.
  • Converting And Retaining Customers: In terms of customer retention, you should increase the user-health scores and satisfaction at large. Capture ongoing sentiment and just-in-time feedback with surveys and analyze funnels by cohort and interaction.
  • Fostering Expansion And Growth: Focus on utilization and advocacy behaviors. The launch focused on expansion campaigns directly in-app and identifying, nurturing, and rewarding champions.
  • Planning And Innovation: Determine what to build next based on customer demand. Extend the product experience based on feedback and requests, segmented by the user and behavioral data.

The product experience should guide, educate, and nudge users at the appropriate points. There needs to be enough information and context without distracting them from the task at hand. Ultimately, the prevalence of subscription pricing models is also a key factor. Customers no longer feel locked in or “stuck” with a product they’ve purchased outright.

Thus, companies must deliver superior customer experiences long after the initial payment. So for products with free trials, it’s even more imperative to provide value right out of the gate.

The Key Product Experience (PX) Management Elements 

Product management teams take the lead when it comes to defining the product experience unless there is a dedicated product designer in the organization. The user experience/user interface/graphic design staff are also integral. They share responsibility for the product experience and have the expertise to optimize things from a customer perspective.

Product development is involved as they build the product and UX team’s designs. Your organization must overcome silos to capture the full value the organization has to offer. Customer support, account management, and sales are unique sources of customer feedback. They deal with customers and prospects more frequently and can provide the voice of the customer input.

This elevates requests and complaints. They can also quantify support inquiries, and identify problem areas, and friction points. Marketing also plays a role. Marketing generates the content and messaging that sets expectations and accompanies new users along their journey. Such as an email explaining how to fully take advantage of a new feature.

Especially, a new feature that is sent out after a user’s first time trying it. Of course, customers themselves also play a role. They provide direct feedback, take part in surveys, usability testing, and focus groups, and contribute to the data set. Their real-world experiences and insights are incredibly valuable.

Product teams have several tools at their disposal to create an optimal product experience. Start with understanding what customers want, how they feel about the product experience, and what they’re doing. Based on those inputs, product teams can improve the product experience and continually highlight the added value and enhancements.

1. Feedback

Basically, product customer-centricity is the key driver in terms of what customers want, think, and feel about a product. Collecting and acting on their feedback is a critical ingredient. Channels and tactics for soliciting customer feedback include surveys, interviews, and site visits. Additionally, internal customer-facing teams should mine for insights.

They’ll hear more complaints than compliments, shining a light on shortcomings. Feedback collection should occur on an ongoing basis, but figuring out what to do with it all poses its challenges. Ideally, the valuable nuggets funnel back into the product prioritization process. This further enhances the product experience and addresses customer needs and concerns.

2. Analytics

Companies are no longer forced to rely on anecdotal observations and “gut instincts” to understand how customers are using their products. With analytics, user behavior is collected, aggregated, and analyzed in a plethora of ways. Product teams can leverage analytics to identify causation. There are a few lead questions to ask yourself here.

For instance, what behavior leads to using a particular feature? Which features drive increased frequency and longer sessions? Or rather, which experiences result in abandonment of cancellation. It’s all about data-driven decision-making that will temper the demands and wishes of over-eager stakeholders to look no further.

3. Prioritization

All product development requires prioritization to determine what to build and when. In the context of the product experience, analytics, and feedback drive prioritization. This is in contrast to prioritizing and road mapping based solely on what the company is trying to achieve. Many wishes and wants of actual users may not contribute directly.

More so, towards the achievement of the strategic goals and KPIs the company has laid out for itself. But, if customers aren’t satisfied and happy with the product experience, it won’t matter. Without a stable, if not growing cohort of active, engaged users, who are going to use any of those new features or contribute to new revenue streams?

4. Engagement

Of course, “build it and they will come” might be true sometimes. But, there’s nothing in for getting people to come back and stick around. That’s where engagement strategies come in. New users need onboarding — that combines basic education about how the product works. Whilst, prompting them to get complete initial tasks that lead to more meaningful usage.

Additionally, when the product adds new functionality, you must inform all potential users — including its benefits and how to best access it. And, of course, if its usage declines or stops altogether — by prompting lapsed users to re-engage. This includes showcasing extra benefits, new functionality, and relevant success stories, among other key useful features.

5. Launching

Great product launches are a company-wide plan that involves the coordination, research, and enthusiasm of departments across the company. As an example, in terms of the Product Launch Online, there are the right processes and assets you will need to complete first. That’s before you can go ahead with your product launch (with enough built-in lead time).

The product launch anatomy involves the following:
  • An interactive product launch checklist designed for optimal results
  • How to hone your pitch and conduct a product launch kickoff with stakeholders
  • The communicative role of the product launch roadmap
  • Effectively jumpstart the beta and customer feedback process
  • Dynamically collaborate with cross-functional teams on assets and onboarding

Important to realize, that a successful product launch requires much more than simply activating the “buy” button beneath your product. Every launch needs a detailed plan to be successful. For this reason, there’s a guideline for the Anatomy of a Product Launch and its accompanying checklist to help beat this plan for you and your team.

The Main Total Product Experience (TPE) Principles

Technically, there’s more than meets the tongue when it comes to the Total Product Experience (TPE) and the position of the sensory and consumer sciences. Traditionally, much food research focuses on physical and chemical product characteristics. Whilst, using the so-called ‘hard sciences’ to define the total product experience objectives.

One thing is for sure, the consumer science side of the product, its use, its perception, and its choice heavily rely on the psychological sciences. In the ‘harder’ sciences, a number of recent insights appear quite very useful — something we can now introduce in this article — using the four philosophies of the Total Product Experience (TPE) — if we may add.

The four main total product experience principles include:
  1. Consumer-Product Interactions: To enumerate, this’s the interaction of the consumers with the key products — such as a food product that ranges much wider than just oral ingestion.
  2. Multisensory Product Perception: Whereby, products are perceived by humans using all their sensory systems. For example, more than the proverbial five sense systems — there are many ways for the systems to interact with the products.
  3. Top-Down Product Effects: These includes principles such as ideas, expectations, information, and emotions. In addition to the direct sensory perception that affects the perception, and liking, of products
  4. Unconscious Product Influences: Herein, there’s much more information about products like food and their sensory perception — than it’s consciously and volitionally available to the potential consumers at large.

Basically, as you can see, the TPE approach is built on the above four principles. But, it’s also important to mention, that multisensory perception is also noticeable in a uni-sensory perception in a laboratory animal. Surprisingly, a human being possesses many more senses than the usually presented five senses. Such as seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling.

Many distinct sensory systems are brushed together under the moniker feeling or touch, and the internal senses are often ignored altogether. In total, one could easily distinguish 12 distinct sensory systems. In particular, the senses of heat, cold, and pain are often overlooked but are very important in food perception. Learn more about the TPE Principles in detail.

How Your Product Teams Can Create Customer Delight

As we aforementioned, it’s up to your product teams to create customer delight in order to cater to your overall customer product experience. Bearing in mind, many product management teams have various unlimited skills to your advantage. Like a problem-solving mindset, building features, and experiences — designed to solve a specific problem for a specific user.

That’s important, of course — but sustainable, lasting business growth means more than satisfying customers and meeting their expectations. Building customer delight into your product is what drives product-led growth. More than a buzzword, we all know it can feel a little nebulous and hard to define what the role of customer delight really is in your business.

To enumerate, customer delight is a way for product teams to create an enduring competitive advantage. It’s the practice of exceeding customer expectations — going above and beyond customer satisfaction. Perse, in a way that encourages an emotional connection and sense of loyalty between customers and your company.

Enabling your customers to accomplish their goals is no longer a competitive advantage. Today, brands have to go a step further — by focusing on customer needs, interests, and wants above all else. They need to create a sense of goodwill and connection between customers and their products. By making products that are remarkably easy, quick, and enjoyable to use.

As well as products that provide even more value than customers expect. As you’ll learn more in this article, customer delight happens when you exceed customers’ expectations. Specifically, in a way that encourages an emotional connection and sense of loyalty between your customers and your company.

How To Choose The Right Product Experience (PX) Management Tools

Product Management Tools help product teams streamline the product development process — from ideation to planning. Or building and collecting user feedback on product features and concepts. A quality tool provides all product-based user experience insights — to help managers prioritize features, create plans or roadmaps, and even measure engagement.

Smaller product teams may require simpler tools that don’t require data analytics skills to understand user behavior. Whereas product teams with analytics specialists may want a tool that collects and analyzes larger volumes of data. Small product teams may also not have the time to understand product usage at a level as advanced as larger teams.

Eventually, most if not all successful and topmost product managers care about their users’ Product Experience (PX) for various reasons. One, because it affects retention, churn, conversion rates, and the user experience. Two, so that they can accurately gauge product experience from metrics like page views or the number of sessions a user has on their websites.

But, in order to get valuable, actionable PX insights, you’ll need to have PX-friendly management tools on your bucket list first. Particularly, in order to help you understand how users actually experience your product — including their moments of delight and their main struggles. Of course, there are a few things to note when choosing the right product tool for your team.

Consider the following:
  • The main product roadmap planning
  • Ease of use and collaboration across teams
  • Access to qualitative and quantitative product experience insights
  • Ability to access usage reports and data without code
  • Segmentation of product usage data
  • Ability to collect customer feedback

Generally, a product experience insights tool with a steep learning curve and complex interface may be too cumbersome for your team to use, and won’t provide much value to your team. Complex products with several types of user actions or users may need access to advanced analytics solutions — for teams with simpler products without extensive analytics data needs.

Other than the aspects listed above, you should also consider the level of support provided by the tool to help you get started. The aim is to build a diverse product experience (PX) tools stack to meet your team’s objectives. Whether it’s understanding your customer’s motivations, building a better product roadmap, or boosting product usage.

That aside, keep in mind, that while reviewing the topmost product experience (PX) management tools, you may find no one tool fulfills all of your product team’s needs. For one thing, some tools will show you how people use your product. While others will let you ask them how they feel about their product experience.

In reality, some tools generate quantitative insights like product usage and heatmaps. While others generate qualitative insights like customer feedback. Always remember, it’s good to choose tools that help you generate the type of insights your product team currently lacks. With that in mind, below are a few PX toolkits that you can start experimenting with.

  1. Hotjar
  2. Fullstory
  3. UserLeap
  4. Grain
  5. QualSights
  6. Productboard
  7. UserTesting
  8. Mixpanel
  9. Amplitude
  10. Maze

In addition, Pendo is also another very great Product Experience (PX) Toolkit to consider as well. It compiles common product usage patterns, most-used product features, and user actions in handy reports. Product managers can identify the number of clicks users make to complete key actions in a product. And, design shorter paths to help users find value quickly.

Takeaway Notes:

Put another way, customer satisfaction is the foundation for customer delight and loyalty. It’s about meeting some if not all of your customer expectations. As well as solving their problems with relative ease, in a satisfactory way, in the manner and time frame they expect. Every year, we are voted as one of the best web management agencies across the board.

More so, when it comes to the #1 challenge of product managers in our annual reports. The main reason why we’ve updated the product manager’s complete guide to prioritization:— that’s titled ‘How To Choose The Right Features And Ship Better Products‘ in detail. Something you should consider downloading for free.

Confidently, upon finishing this guide, you’ll master all the useful skills of effective prioritization. As well as learn how to easily be able to answer a few questions:— such as which ideas are worthy of making it onto your roadmap?

You’ll also learn the following:
  • How to find the suitable prioritization methodology for your unique team
  • The best practices to connect prioritization to your roadmap and product strategy
  • How to overcome the challenges of implementing a prioritization framework

By the same token, for those looking to dig a little deeper into Product Experience (PX) management, there are a number of books on related subjects too. Including “The Digital Transformation Playbook” by David Rogers, “Digital Death” by Dominic Mazzone, and “Leading Digital” by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee, among others.

Coursera also offers online courses on digital transformation in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, and Pendo has published helpful resources on how product experience relates to UI/UX and how data-driven guidance can improve the product experience. But, if you’ll need more help, you can always Consult Us and let us know how we can sort you out.

Finally, you can also share your additional suggestions thoughts, opinions, contributions, recommendations, or even related questions (for FAQ Answers) in our comments section. By the same token, don’t forget that you can also donate to support our team for their good work. Or even share this guide with other web readers like you to help us spread the word.

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