How to Improve User Engagement and Retention Using Product Flows

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We all know that customer engagement is closely tied to retention and product usage. B2B companies that successfully engage their customers reported 63% lower customer attrition as per Gallup’s report. With sky-high customer acquisition costs, companies need to focus their efforts on product adoption and interaction.

Yet, keeping customers engaged with your product can be a challenge. Case in point we have on average 2.7 minutes of uninterrupted time. Users don’t have the time to fully explore and understand a product. Then there’s that fact that most users who sign up for a product never actually use it.

Add a  learning curve and you’ve set yourself up for poor engagement rates and high risk for churn. This is where product flows come in.

What is a Product Flow?

A product flow is exactly what it sounds like - a visual and interactive sequence that guides the consumer to take action. It can be used to ease onboarding, launch new products or features, retarget passive users, or anything else that comes to mind. 

Still not sure? Consider an e-learning platform. A new user can fill in their profile information, browse for courses available, bookmark them or start learning a course directly. Each of these actions is a different task and for each such task, there is a sequence of steps to follow to reach the desired outcome, namely, a product flow.

Product flow of a pricing page of a Fintech SaaS tool

How Product Flows Are Mapped

Product or design teams use flowcharts or states to depict the user flow, typically starting from the entry point (such as the home page or a landing page) to the final point (purchase page, subscription, or sign-up form). These flows map out all the possible steps users can take in the path.

What does a good product flow do?

  • Delivers a smooth customer experience: Flows can be a great tool for onboarding allowing your customers to see and understand the value of your product. This in turn keeps them engaged. 
  • Personalizes the customer journey: Personalization can go beyond name or account type, you can nudge users to pick up where they left off or suggest next steps in the form of notifications or reminders. And you can segment your audience based on usage, needs, location - with FROGED this is limitless.
  • Creates a Proactive environment: Make your product engagement proactive, contextual, and continuous. For example, you can create triggered pop-ups, progress bars, or notifications to highlight offers, product updates, other use cases, and so on.

Example: Ubersuggest’s home screen starts with a hook for its users.

Designing Product Flows to Boost Engagement and Retention

To be successful, a great product needs an even greater customer experience. This means that building a great product is half the battle. The other half is showcasing the value and ease of that product. 

Here’s how to design (or redesign) a product flow.

Understand your users

Understanding users is at the core of every good product. Companies put a lot of time and effort into this before developing the idea, validating it, and developing the product or service. You need to extend that knowledge to your product flows as well.

Understand the motivations, intent, needs, and objectives of the consumer. With each flow make sure you have an answer to these questions:

  • What are the needs of your users?
  • What problems would they like solved?
  • What features are most important to them and why?

List your processes, tasks or events

Create a list of outcomes your user can achieve with your product. Then list out all the tasks, events, and processes involved in reaching the outcomes. For a typical product, the main processes are often onboarding, account set, and personalization, first transaction or operation, repeat purchase, or further usage.

Record all the tasks and events involved in each of those processes and analyze how to make it simpler. Don’t forget to acknowledge if there are regional or account size indicators to consider. 

Create product flows for each process, segment or outcome

A product flow is usually mapped out visually (think Figma). Each product flow has three main components: Entry point, steps to complete, and final point.

Entry point

This is where your user flow begins. Different channels through which clients use or find your product can become different entry points. For example - sign-up, onboarding or a targeted email. Some level of customization is recommended for these entry points based on the acquisition channels.

Steps to complete

As evident from the term, this encompasses all the intermediate steps required to reach the outcome. Avoid repetition of steps in the product flow.

A simple but powerful technique is to count the number of steps it takes for the user to achieve an outcome. Every action such as a tap, swipe, or hover is to be counted as a step. Minimize all many steps as you humanly can without confusing your users.

Exit point or task completion

This is the final step for the user to accomplish the desired task. And a sense of accomplishment is what you want them to feel.

While each step is optimized for easy action, the post-completion is an opportunity to boost engagement. Well-designed products use the success page or message to drive further actions, reinforce the value of the product, or capture user reviews and feedback.

Optimize Flows to Increase Product Success

The beauty of flows is they provide usage data. So once a flow is set up you can start measuring the performance and efficiency of the product workflows with the top user paths. The engagement rates, namely clicks or conversions and bounce rates can be measured for each step. The screens with higher bounce rates and lower conversion can be restructured or redesigned to be more intuitive and user-friendly.

The product flow can be optimized for an overall higher conversion overall by optimizing each step.

A/B or split testing is another popular means to improve product flows. It involves splitting the users into two or more groups (with similar makeup of properties and activity) and showing two different versions of a specific feature.

This is a powerful tool for Product Managers. Flows allow them to start with a hypothesis for improvement, deploy these versions with the help of product and design teams, and run the experiment for a certain time period. The data collected is analyzed to find the better-performing version and improve the product itself.

Platforms like FROGED help product managers run successful A/B testing, explore how.

Product flow best practices

  • Enhance the product flow with contextual understanding: The analyze gaps in customer experience and counter that through the product flow by providing contextual understanding to the users at the necessary steps.
  • Increase navigation and connectivity: Ease of navigation and connectivity in the user flow makes your offering more accessible to users, increasing upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
  • Balance simplicity and complexity: In the case of product design, less is more. Keep the user flow simple enough to be intuitive while at the same time, complex enough that the steps don’t seem redundant or pointless. The users should not be bored or overwhelmed by the information and tasks at any point.

Check out some more tried and tested retention strategies.

Case study: Discord’s new server setup

Discord’s new server setup function is an example of a well-designed user flow. The entry point, in this case, is the web application usually for existing users.

The flow accounts for most user cohorts and use cases and simplifies the setup for each through personalization.

Instead of a long drawn out process for server creation, users immediately walkthrough the feature as they proceed.

Conclusion

Product flows or user flows are invaluable to measure and analyze user behavior and product engagement. Companies can make their products more efficient and human-centric based on real interactions recorded on their platforms. Not only does it boost customer engagement and by extension retention, but it is directly tied to NRR, churn prevention, and conversion rates.

FROGED helps companies create impactful customer experiences that power product success. Our Product Flows google chrome extension enables event tracking and user behavior conditions without code or design intervention. Get a demo today to improve your product flows!

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