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How product managers can deliver a good product experience to users

Product experience dictates customer retention.

Good marketing might amuse customers, and good customer service may impress them—but a good product experience is what keeps them coming back. If your product is difficult to navigate or cumbersome to use, even industry-leading call response times or the most creative marketing ploys won’t keep your customers.

Website analytics and user behavior insights

Last updated

29 Sep 2021

Good product experiences delight customers, build user trust, boost retention, and earn you referrals. So, how do you deliver a good product experience (PX)? By combining quantitative product experience data with qualitative product experience insights, and iterating on your discoveries.

On this page of our PX insights guide, we’ll take a closer look at why product experience matters, and how you can deliver a product experience that sweeps users off their feet.

The product management teams that will most likely succeed in their goals are those who create and keep a healthy, solid communication flow with their users. PX insights are the ultimate bridge between quantitative data analysis and direct user interviews. They make product teams’ lives easier by offering valuable inputs early on that can easily turn into actionable insights, without wasting precious time and effort.
Emma Argentieri
Product Manager at Hotjar

Why product management teams should care about product experience

Product management teams that pay attention to the quality of the product experience create successful products. Let’s say, for example, customers need to constantly navigate back and forth on your website to complete a high-value task. That’s too much effort to meet a basic need, and creates a negative product experience.

If customers have a bad product experience, they’ll share their experience with others, discourage sales, and maybe even churn.

On the other hand, when customers have a great product experience, it could mean:

  • More referrals from word-of-mouth marketing or customer advocacy. Up to 55% of people rely on word-of-mouth recommendations and customer references for purchase decisions.

  • A product that stands out from competitors. Recent research shows that customers don’t just buy products—they buy the experience.

  • Brand loyalty, which can positively affect future product and feature launches. The Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences says that one of the top reasons customers stay loyal to a brand is perceived product and service quality.

Get the insights you need to improve PX

Gain product experience insights that help you make high-impact changes, fast.

How to deliver a great product experience to users (in 5 steps)

To deliver a great product experience, you need to understand the user journey, then leverage user behavior data to understand how users feel about it—and how you can improve it. Use this information to bridge the gap between what users need and what your product currently offers.

Here are five steps to design a better product experience for users:

1. Outline the user journey with a customer journey map

#Customer journey map example from Airbnb
Customer journey map example from Airbnb

Plot your users’ product journey on a customer journey map. A customer journey map lists all touchpoints your users go through while accomplishing key tasks in your product—like signing up and learning how to use each feature—and how users experience each touchpoint.

The customer journey map helps you visualize the user journey within your product, so you know which key touchpoints to investigate as you try to improve the user and product experience.

To keep your customer journey map simple, narrow down the scope of the user journey you want to outline. For example:

  • The journey from a free trial to a paid sign up

  • The journey from your product description page to your checkout page

  • The journey from your login page to completing a major task in your product

Let’s say you’re mapping the journey from free trial to paid sign up. The touchpoints on this user journey might include the different product pages and features available to free trial users, pop-ups within your product prompting users to buy a paid plan, and the checkout page for a paid subscription.

For each of these touchpoints, you’ll want to know: is the touchpoint easily accessible to users? Do they find it simple or complex to complete tasks at specific touchpoints? Is it easy for users to figure out what to do at each touchpoint?

Use quantitative and qualitative insights (from the next three steps) to gauge how users currently feel on their product journey and what the ideal user experience would look like in your product.

2. Identify points of the user journey with the biggest issues (the what and where)

#Google Analytics user navigation report
Google Analytics user navigation report

After mapping out the user journey, identify common points of friction, so you know which touchpoints in your product may be ruining the user and product experience. Points of friction could be indicated by:

product analytics solution like Google Analytics (GA) can help you track and analyze user experience metrics like task completion rates, bounce rates, and exit rates. You can also view the Behavior Flow—the navigation path your users follow—in GA, which shows whether users complete tasks in your product as intended, take a longer path, or drop off midway.

Analytics tools like Pendo and Mixpanel can help you find your most and least popular product features to see which ones are providing the least value or causing friction in the user journey.

Once you’ve identified problem areas, it’s time to investigate why users are experiencing problems with specific pages or product features.

3. Dig into PX insights to understand the how and why

#An example of a scroll map (left) and move map (right) on the Hotjar homepage
An example of a scroll map (left) and move map (right) on the Hotjar homepage

Product analytics data shows you where issues occur, but they still leave questions unanswered:

  • What happens in the moments before the user exits a page?

  • Why did the user exit before converting or completing a task?

  • Which parts of a page did the user view before they left it? Did they miss out on important elements?

Product experience (PX) insights help you understand user behavior and empathize with your customers, and show you how and why friction happens so you can learn how to improve your product.

For example, on a page with high exit rates, PX insights might show you that users repeatedly click on a non-clickable element immediately before they exit. This could indicate that you need to place clear navigation markers for the user so they know what to click on, or that you need to make a design change to the non-clickable element so it doesn't look so… clickable.

To get those insights, use a product experience insights tool (like Hotjar 👋 ) to view Heatmaps and Session Recordings and dive deeper into user behavior.

Heatmaps are a color-coded visualization of the most and least popular areas of a webpage. Red typically indicates high user activity, while blue indicates low user activity. With a heatmap, you can find out if users interact with the most important elements of your product, or if they're not seeing essential features.

Session recordings are video replays of user sessions within your product. They show you the exact path users follow when completing an action, where they clicked, and their mouse movements on the page. Recordings help you gauge if users can easily complete tasks in your product, or if there’s friction along the way.

Improving my website conversion rate with Hotjar

Designer Charli Marie used Hotjar Heatmaps and Session Recordings to investigate low conversion rates on her website. She found that the Buy Now button on her page took users to another Buy Now button, instead of letting them purchase the product right away, which caused customers to leave her website. When she removed friction in the buying process, her conversion rates improved.

4. Supplement your learnings with VoC feedback

#The Hotjar incoming feedback widget lets users rate and comment on specific elements on a page
The Hotjar incoming feedback widget lets users rate and comment on specific elements on a page

Voice of the customer (VoC) feedback captures customer expectations and disappointments in their own words, with the help of a survey or feedback option on your website. VoC feedback makes product experience insights more valuable.

For example, if you observe users rage clicking (repeatedly clicking the same element within a short period), VoC feedback can help you understand why it's happening. It could be that the specific button isn’t hyperlinked, or users are frustrated because your site is too slow or your product is buggy.

Combine insights from Session Recordings with VoC feedback—from a tool like Hotjar's Incoming Feedback widget—to better understand user needs, so you can prioritize product changes and new product or feature launches.

Hotjar’s onsite and off-site Surveys let you ask specific customer feedback questions—like “if you could change anything on this page, what would it be?”—to reveal more opportunities to improve the product experience.

Once your survey results are in, use this guide to analyze survey data to understand your customers, remove any unreliable data, and identify trends—so you can take the next step to improving the product experience.

5. Iterate based on what you learn

Quantitative and qualitative product experience insights show you which features you could change or improve—like your product design, fonts, navigation, copy, or the function of a feature itself—to create a better product experience.

For example, let’s say you launch a new product feature, but product analytics data shows you that customers aren't using it very often. After digging deeper into the product experience (PX) with a tool like Hotjar, you find that most users click on the new feature but don’t complete the process it's actually built for. After surveying customers, you learn that they don’t find the feature very useful, and some of them provide suggestions for improvement.

You can use these PX insights to make necessary changes—like improving the feature's user interface (UI) or reducing the number of steps—to improve the overall user and product experience.

Repeat the process for different customer journeys within your product: find points of friction, analyze them with PX insights, collect VoC feedback, and iterate.

Product experience insights help you empathize with your users

Don’t limit yourself to using product experience (PX) insights only to fix bad product experiences. PX insights help you understand user behavior and empathize with your customers at any stage of product development, connecting the dots between what users do and why they do it, so you can figure out which changes will have the greatest impact.

Get the insights you need to improve PX

Gain product experience insights that help you make high-impact changes, fast.

FAQs about product experience