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What are product experience insights? (and why every product team needs them)

Product experience insights help teams see how customers really use their products, making it easier to remove bugs, delight users, and reduce churn.

PX insights and behavior analytics

Last updated

4 Mar 2022

Have you ever wished you could put yourself in your user’s mind and know exactly what they’re thinking as they interact with your product? With valuable product experience (PX) insights, you can not only take a peek into the customer journey, but make the necessary product changes that elevate the user experience and increase conversion. 

This article guides you through what product experiences are, how you get them, what product teams can achieve by implementing them—with actual success stories—and the differences between product, user, and customer experience.

What are product experience insights?

#THE PRODUCT TEAM AT REED.CO.UK REVIEWING HOTJAR RECORDINGS
THE PRODUCT TEAM AT REED.CO.UK REVIEWING HOTJAR RECORDINGS

Product experience insights are data that helps product management teams understand exactly how customers are experiencing a product. As you focus on PX insights, you can improve user experience and customer satisfaction levels, and increase retention rates as a result.

Product insights are collected via tools like heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys, which give a quick, visual overview of how frustrated, satisfied, confused, or delighted users are throughout their product journey.

Qualitative product insights are invaluable for teams who want to understand how people experience a product, figure out the most impactful changes to make, and get buy-in for their ideas fast.

Improve UX with product experience insights from Hotjar

Use Hotjar to understand how real users are experiencing your website or app—then improve it for them!

Product experience vs user experience vs customer experience: what’s the difference?

  • Customer experience (CX) covers how customers interact with a brand throughout the entire customer journey, including the first touchpoint (e.g. visiting a product landing page), talking to customer service, and using a website or product. 

  • User experience (UX) is a subcategory of CX that covers how users interact with a specific entity, which could be a website, product, or service. UX often focuses on optimizing design or a user interface (UI) to improve metrics such as conversion rate.

  • Product experience (PX) looks specifically at how users interact with a digital product and is often—but not exclusively—the focus of product teams in the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) space. PX can have product-specific goals like reducing churn and increasing product usage. 

The good news is that whether you’re using the terms CX, UX, or PX, you’re driven to understand the same thing: how people behave when using your product. And you can use the same product management tools to collect actionable insights to optimize the experience

Product experience insights vs product analytics

#A Hotjar user tweets feedback on their PX
A Hotjar user tweets feedback on their PX

When you think of analytics, you’re probably thinking about numbers, and that’s what product analytics will deliver: quantitative measurements of how customers, in aggregate, are using your product. 

In contrast, product experience insights are qualitative data that reveal how individual users feel, think, and behave when using a product, which ultimately is a lot more actionable when coming up with ways to create a successful  product. 

For example, a product analytics tool like Mixpanel tracks many quantitative product metrics like new users, retention, and churn rates.

# MIXPANEL PRODUCT ANALYTICS DASHBOARD
MIXPANEL PRODUCT ANALYTICS DASHBOARD

But a product experience insights tool like Hotjar (yup, that’s us 👋) records interactions between individual users and the product, so you can see what’s working, where people are getting stuck, and collect feedback to learn what they’re thinking.

#A Hotjar Feedback Widget
A Hotjar Feedback Widget

You need both to succeed: product analytics to see the big picture of how your product is performing in general, and product experience insights data to zoom in on how individual customers are using the product. With the right data and a customer-centric approach, you can get actionable ideas for product improvement.

For more case studies and a detailed guide on the differences between product analytics and product experience insights, check out Hotjar’s comprehensive article.

What product teams can achieve with PX insights

If you’re not sure where to get started, here are four ways any product manager can use PX insights to solve product challenges and turn them into opportunities:

1. Reduce churn and increase customer retention

Unless you’re in the business of making butter, high churn (aka low customer retention) is a major problem, especially for product teams in the SaaS space. 

PX insights help teams understand why product users churn through direct user feedback (e.g. a survey or Feedback response) and observe user behavior within the product (e.g. watching session recordings and seeing where people get stuck).

See it in action: the one question that reduced churn for Hussle and Hotjar

A HOTJAR SURVEY ASKING HUSSLE USERS WHY THEY'RE CANCELING THEIR SUBSCRIPTION

A HOTJAR SURVEY ASKING HUSSLE USERS WHY THEY'RE CANCELING THEIR SUBSCRIPTION

Hussle, a gym pass platform in the UK, used Hotjar to create a churn survey and get feedback from users to learn why they canceled their subscriptions. 

Luke Calton, Hussle’s Product Lead, exported survey data as a CSV file, grouped similar responses into themes, and found that 26% of churning users chose to buy membership directly from a gym. The insight led the team to expand their product offering and allow users to buy gym membership directly through Hussle, leading to a reduction in churn and an increase in customer retention. 

Not bad for a one-question survey. 

We use the same strategy: here’s how product experience insights reduce SaaS churn at Hotjar.

2. Prioritize the product roadmap

hotjar-public-roadmap

Hotjar’s public roadmap

Understanding user needs is important when deciding what product features or bug fixes to prioritize.. Once you find the most common problems affecting product usage (e.g. by watching session recordings or surveying users about where they’re getting stuck), you can quantify which features aren’t giving users what they need. 

With these customer insights, it becomes a whole lot easier to prioritize the product backlog with data instead of relying on guesswork.

See it in action: how TechSmith used Hotjar surveys to prioritize their product roadmap

techsmith-poll

THE SIMPLE HOTJAR SURVEY TECHSMITH USED TO FIND OUT USERS’ PRODUCT REQUIREMENTS

Software company TechSmith, known for products like Camtasia and Snagit, used an on-site survey to find out what users needed from their products. Using JavaScript triggers, a survey pop-up appeared for users who clicked a certain element or scrolled to a set point.

Conan Heiselt, TechSmith’s UX Designer, gathered product experience insights and categorized the responses into 15 general themes, making it possible to quantify the most common issues and requests.

Analyzing responses from open-ended questions makes it possible to convert qualitative data into quantitative insight and use it to prioritize the product roadmap.

Hotjar Highlights helps product teams group insights—like TechSmith did— to organize and curate data to make confident decisions and prioritize brilliantly to reach business and product goals.

3. Increase customer delight

#A Hotjar user explains how they increased customer delight
A Hotjar user explains how they increased customer delight

PX insights are not just about finding bugs to fix; you can also use them to measure and improve customer delight. Instead of settling for merely satisfying users, you focus on exceeding expectations and prioritizing customer needs, wants, and interests above everything else.

#A Hotjar on-site Survey

An example of an off-site Hotjar Survey

Delighted customers are good for business since they’re more likely to stay loyal, provide valuable feedback, and promote your product. User feedback can lead to more satisfied and happier customers if you use it to find out what pleases and annoys users, and work to remove friction and pain points from the product. As you gather deeper insights to guide quality control, this customer-centric mindset helps you achieve better product-market fit.

4. Improve cross-functional communication

reed-team-meeting-hotjar-session-recording

A TEAM MEETING AT REED.CO.UK REVIEWING HOTJAR RECORDINGS

Having shareable, visual data helps different product teams—marketing, tech, social media, and management—communicate internally and achieve cross-functional collaboration across the business. It’s also a lot easier to explain why, for instance, you need the dev team to prioritize a new feature if you’ve got evidence-based insights to back up your suggestions and product ideas. 

How to get product experience insights from qualitative data

Quantitative data (i.e. measurable, numerical data) gives you an overview of what’s happening in a product: how many users you have, what features they use, and how long they’ve been customers. With Hotjar’s user attributes, you really get to know and understand your customers, gaining insight into their behavior and experience as they engage with your product and website.

But numbers alone won't tell you about an individual user’s experience—you need to combine numbers with visual and intuitive data.

 Qualitative data, in the form of user feedback and session recordings, is the opposite: instead of numbers, you’ll get actionable insights into what real users are thinking, needing, or doing in the product, providing you with solutions needed to elevate the product.

Watch session recordings to stop guesswork and validate product decisions

#A Hotjar user relates their experience with recordings
A Hotjar user relates their experience with recordings

Your customers probably don’t use your product the way you imagine: instead of guessing what’s going on, start capturing session recordings (aka user replays) to see exactly how individual users click, scroll, and navigate inside a product. Taking an over-the-shoulder look at customer interactions with your product will give you a new perspective to analyze the digital experience you currently offer.

A HOTJAR SESSION RECORDING

Being qualitative, recordings give you insight into product usage even if you only have a handful of users. And if you work on a product with many users (and are using Hotjar 😉), recordings can be filtered by quantitative metrics like country, visited page, device, or the presence of rage clicks to save time. Here’s our guide to getting actionable insights from user recordings to help you get started.

See it in action: how Bannersnack used session recordings to find out why a product feature wasn’t getting used

bannersnack-product-feature-fix-hotjar-recordings

THE SIMPLE UI FIX IMPLEMENTED BY BANNERSNACK AFTER WATCHING USER SESSION RECORDINGS

The product team at Bannersnack (now Creatopy), an online design tool, wondered why many long-standing and loyal customers weren’t using their newly launched Timeline feature.

By watching Hotjar Recordings, they realized the button to show the Timeline option was not as visible to users as the product designers had initially thought. After implementing a simple fix (adding the word timeline to the slightly repositioned button), feature usage grew by 12%.

Collect product feedback to learn what users need

hotjar-incoming-feedback-neutral

PRODUCT FEEDBACK COLLECTED USING INCOMING FEEDBACK, TAGGED WITH A SPECIFIC PAGE ELEMENT

While recordings are a great way to see how users behave while engaging with your product, you’ll still need to make a few assumptions about what’s happening in your users’ minds when you watch them. There’s no need for any guesswork with product feedback: direct feedback from users is the most actionable product experience insight you can get. When you test your UX with real users, you can quickly identify the root causes of any issues, and recognize the changes or updates you need to implement to increase product adoption.

Here are a couple of impactful ways you can get started with product feedback:

  • Use a churn survey to find out why customers leave

  • Trigger an on-page survey when users click a specific element to learn their thoughts on a product feature

  • Add a website feedback widget (like Hotjar’s Feedback tool) to give all users the chance to rate their experience and provide specific information about product issues they encounter

See it in action: how Razorpay used feedback to iteratively build a better product

Survey

THE RAZORPAY PRODUCT DESIGN TEAM REVIEWING A HOTJAR HEATMAP

Razorpay, an online payment gateway in India, used a combination of session recordings and surveys to improve product experience

The product team added an on-site survey to see how users rated a redesigned product dashboard. Using Hotjar’s survey logic, users who submitted a low rating were given an open-ended question to provide follow-up feedback. By actioning the feedback in subsequent product updates, the product team raised the average user rating from 6.2 to 8.7.

Improve UX with product experience insights from Hotjar

Use Hotjar to understand how real users are experiencing your website or app—then improve it for them!

Product experience FAQs