User Testing 101

Steve BurgUser testing0 Comments

 

In this post, we will discuss the who, what, where, and why of user testing.

 

User testing is a term that floats around the universe of product managers quite often. However, it seems there is a lot of confusion out there as to what exactly user testing is. We often hear it used broadly to describe any sort of testing that occurs, whether it involves focus groups, market research, or other forms of testing. So we figured we’d start with the basics and work from there.

 

What is user testing?

 

User testing is the process by which we examine the ways our target users interact with our product. During the user testing process we ask our target customers to complete tasks, typically while being observed by a researcher so that we can see the barriers they encounter or if they experience confusion along the way.

 

What undergoes user testing?

 

Any product that will be released into the market should undergo multiple stages of user testing. It is an integral part of the development process beginning with the birth of the idea. If you cannot get people excited about the feature or product you are releasing with only the idea, it is going to be difficult for your marketing team to bring users. The user testing process should continue throughout development so that you can optimize as much as possible before bringing the product to market.

 

Learn how you can do user testing with Jaco. Click here to get started for Free!

 

Who performs user testing?

 

While the actual tests are typically performed by a researcher, the data gathered is used by the product teams. As user testing is evolves, the importance of the researcher’s role has been significantly reduced. Product managers are now able to run the tests and receive the data firsthand from the users. This allows them to acquire data without any external input, thus controlling for bias in their decision making process.

 

On the flip side, if a product manager is overly attached to a project, they may not be able to accept criticism without a bias. This can be detrimental to the data analysis and may result in the dismissal of important customer experience feedback.

 

Additionally, product managers who are not involved in the test may feel the need to prompt the user to certain actions, compromising the results. Thus, our recommendation is to cut the middle man and assign testing to the product managers for optimal results. This removes bias and the option for the product manager to prompt the user.

 

Optimize your product experience with Jaco. Click here to get started for free!

 

When is user testing performed?

 

This is an extremely tricky question. Often times, user testing is performed prior to a product’s release. It’s almost comparable to the crash tests performed prior to an auto release. You are ensuring that the product you are going to be releasing is as stable, safe, and easy to use as possible.

 

However, user testing should not end once your product is released. In fact, we could argue that once the product is released, user testing becomes even more important. Once a product is live and in the market, any flaws become dramatically more noticeable. Any errors in your product are not just a simple fix anymore, they are now live with your customers and interrupting their experience. Tools like Jaco can help you identify these flaws and fix them before they become too big an issue.

 

How do you perform user testing?

 

The type of user testing you are going to perform depends on the product stage. For example. If the product is very early stage, user testing can be quite simple and accomplished in a quick Q&A session. However, as the product begins to take shape, the test should become more sophisticated in order to observe how users react to a more complex model.

 

User testing example: Airbnb

 

Let’s use AirBnB to illustrate. During early phases, user testing would be a simple test of the idea: “How would you feel about renting someone’s apartment or house instead of going to a hotel?” As the product grows and adds more features, you might give your test user the following task: “Book a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan for July 8 – 15 at a total cost of $1,000. The apartment should have wifi, air conditioning, a hot tub, and served breakfast.”

 

Observe, and most importantly, do not interfere, as the user attempts to perform the task. They will have to use the entire platform as they attempt to make this booking. The gold nuggets are are the different emotional states you will be able to observe on your user. Those might range from frustration when they cannot find a specific feature, to elation when they are able to complete the task successfully. You will then be able to pinpoint the problem areas and make the appropriate optimizations to ensure that frustration does not occur in the future.

 

This is user testing in a nutshell. It is a vital part of the product development process and should be done carefully and in the appropriate environment. Try to user test with as many users as possible, both for statistical significance and to hear a variety of views and opinions. Remember, even when the product is released — optimization is an ongoing process that we as product managers should always keep an eye on.

 

Using Data to Revolutionize Customer Experience

Steve BurgData0 Comments

Over the past few years, we’ve experienced a revolution in the technology world. We’ve seen terms like mass customization, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality leave the realm of Hollywood and enter everyday life. On the product side of things we’ve seen companies like Sketch and InVision revolutionize the way our digital and mobile products are built. To quote Anne Lamott, “It’s a great time to be alive.”

 

Yet despite these amazing strides, we are still not seeing truly revolutionary experiences. Sure, tools like Jaco can make learning about your customers a lot easier. We can tell you all about your existing customer experience, but understanding is only the first step. What do you do with this information? Is the solution some small UI tweaks, or is it deeper, more significant changes?

 

Learn more about your customers by installing Jaco. Click here to get started for free!

 

Let’s start with a change in the way we look at tools like Jaco. Instead of an analytics platform, let’s think of the multitudes of analytical tools as predictors of future behavior. You’ll notice that this is a strategic shift in thinking. We are no longer looking at what customers have done in the past, but we are tracking usage trends to identify what customers will do in the future.

 

What is the impact of analytics as a predictive tool?

 

Think of predictive analytics as the crystal ball of your product. This isn’t any ordinary crystal ball, this is the ultimate crystal ball. The amount of data coming through your analytics platform on any given day would require an army of data scientists to dissect.

 

 

Take Jaco, for example. Thousands of session replays are created every single day. It would take more than a week to go through a few hours of data. However, once the aggregated data comes in we see that trends begin to form. We notice that there is a drop-off at a certain point in the funnel. Perhaps there is a usage pattern that the product team hadn’t foreseen that is starting to bubble up.

 

How does predictive analytics make an impact on the customer experience?

 

Customer experience or CX is an evolution over the course of a product’s lifetime. The ways that your customers are going to interact with your product is going to change as your product evolves. Your analytics will find the usage patterns your customers are dictating — that is the magic of the crystal ball.

 

Optimize your customer experience with Jaco today! Click here to get started for free.

 

Let’s take a look at a company many of you have never heard of. In 2009, a mobile shopping app called Tote, was launched with the goal of helping users window shop on their phone. Now Tote had quite a few features — it supported location tracking, price comparison, and save items to be viewed later.

 

However, in 2009, the mobile shopping world was still quite small and the company could not sustain itself based off the low margin payments of its few purchases. They took a look at the data which informed them that most used feature on their app was the ability to save items for later. So this little mobile shopping company pivoted — they scraped Tote and built a new platform based around saving items to view later. Eight years later they are valued at $11 billion and are looking at $500 million in revenue. Thanks to predictive analytics, Tote became the social giant we know as Pinterest.

 

Pinterest was born because its founders followed the numbers. They looked at the crystal ball of their customers’ usage patterns and optimized the customer experience to focus on saving items for later. This particular prediction led to a platform that has revolutionized the way weddings are planned, they way houses are designed, the way food is cooked, and even the way we raise our kids.

 

So what is the power of predictive analytics to you? Follow the numbers yourself and find out!

 

What is Predictive Support?

Steve BurgUser Experience0 Comments

Growing up all of my clothes came from the same company: Land’s End. Two words are enough, to sum up why my mother shopped there year after year: lifetime warranty. It was a huge differentiator for us since we tended to be the kids who tore their clothes or grew out them way too quickly. When something happened, my mother sent the clothing back. A week later, new clothes showed up in the mail — all of this for free. This was the Land’s End guarantee.

 

 

Now as many of us know, Land’s End has not been as successful in recent years. Countless other retailers have adopted the lifetime warranty model including LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, The North Face, and more. You can read a full list here but for the purposes of this post, let’s just say that Land’s End lost their competitive advantage.

 

Nowadays, many businesses find their competitive advantage within their customer experience. The experience is carefully curated from the moment we become a potential customer for a business. The advertising is curated to speak directly to our needs, the onboarding is made to be as painless as possible, and checkout is a breeze. So why is customer support still a reactive portion of the funnel? Why has this not evolved?

 

NextGen Customer Support

 

Predictive support is the next model in the evolution of customer support. We should no longer be reacting to customer support tickets, rather fixing issues before they are even broken. This can manifest itself in two different scenarios:

 

  1. Know something is wrong before the customer does. Your support team can now fix issues within your product before the customer know there is something wrong. Using this method, a support ticket never even enters the system.
  2. Work on the issue before communication begins. This is a more satisfying and sexy version of the prior scenario. This is when you get to say to the customer “We noticed you were having the following issue and have resolved it for you.”

 

With either scenario, you have significantly increased your customer satisfaction and increased the likelihood that the customer will turn into an advocate for your product.

Optimize your customer experience with Jaco! Click here to get started for free!

 

Customer Satisfaction and Predictive Support

 

 

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), there are many factors that go into true customer satisfaction but one of the heaviest weighted factors is customer complaints. They measure the number of complaints that come directly to a company within a specified time frame. Satisfaction has a negative relationship with customer complaints, as the more satisfied the customers, the less likely they are to complain.

 

Learn more about your customer experience with Jaco! Click here to get started for free!

 

Does predictive support affect customer satisfaction?

 

Yes, exponentially.

 

The fewer complaints there are, the higher your score will rise. The quicker the complaints decrease, the faster it will happen.

 

Moving away from scoring, predictive support will decrease the quantity of support tickets entering your system. Knowing where errors are occurring will give you the ability to fix the issue before a customer even enters a support ticket. Furthermore, the few tickets that do come through will have significantly reduced support times because the issues will already be identified.

 

As technology continues to revolutionize the world around us, the demands of our customers will continue to increase. We must continue to evolve the customer experience to retain a competitive edge — or we face the same fate as Land’s End and many other beloved brands of the past.

 

Reduce Support Ticket Time With Visual Analytics

Steve BurgCustomer Success0 Comments

jaco Customer Support Ticket Times

Our users will inevitably have issues with our products. It’s the way of the software/web/mobile world. For every product we create in the hi-tech world we also have to provide a level of support.

 

The problem isn’t providing support, its support ticket time.

 

Once a support ticket comes in, support engineers will attempt to recreate the issue. This is a time-consuming process that involves both the customer and your staff. Often, the recreation process is frustrating for both sides leading to a negative customer experience.

 

Optimize your product experience with Jaco. Click here to get started for free!

 

Other times the support engineer gets it right on the first time and everyone walks away happy. But this is unlikely and a factor of luck, not strategy.

 

We need a way to improve the customer experience while reducing support ticket time.

 

How does Jaco help improve support ticket time?

 

Jaco has integrations with multiple support systems that allow your support engineers to see exactly what the user is doing or has done.

 

That’s right, Jaco allows your support engineers to see what your customers are doing in real time.

 

Learn more about your customers by installing Jaco. Click here to get started for free!

Take Intercom for example, one of the most common support platforms that we work with.

 

jaco support integrations

 

Our integration with Intercom makes the life of a support engineer a whole lot easier. Jaco is able to show sessions by user and attach those sessions to the user profile within Intercom.

 

Support engineers can see those sessions within Intercom. This eliminates the most frustrating part of a support engineers job, attempting to recreate the incident. They can now see exactly what the user tried to do, where the system failed, which element is not working, or diagnose any other number of issues.

 

It’s a simple one-click integration and has reduced the support ticket time of one Jaco client by 80%. That’s a whole lot more support tickets that can be answered. That’s a lot more happy customers. More happy customer leads to more recommendations which leads to more sales.

 

So, if you’re looking to improve your support process, look no further. Jaco is here to help improve your product performance across the entire user journey.

How to Create User Journeys: The First Optimization

Steve BurgProduct Manager0 Comments

jaco how to create user journeys

As product managers we worry about a lot of the actions our users take in our product. The piece that concerns most of us on the daily is the journey our users take to get from point A to point Z.

User journeys are the sum total of the customer experience and must be optimized before we drill down to individual elements.

When we were building Jaco, this was one of our first thoughts and one that we still hold near and dear to our own hearts.

In fact, we used Jaco to optimize our own onboarding funnel. Since we saw the value and importance of optimizing user journeys, we gave Jaco users the ability to create their own optimal journey.

We’ve received a lot of requests recently for a tutorial on how to create user journeys and decided to post it here.

Learn more about your customers by installing Jaco. Click here to get started for free!

How to Create User Journeys

 

Step 1: Click on Add Filter

jaco user journeys

Step 2: Choose the events section and add events

Events include any action a user can take on your site or in your product.

jaco user journey

Step 3: Use the events in that section to create a user journey

Ensure that the “Filter by Event Sequence” slider is turned on. This ensures you only get sessions that used that specific sequence of events.

jaco user journeys

That’s it. Combined with your quantitative analytics, this will show you exactly where users are dropping off in your funnel and why. This will allow you to optimize the entire flow, experience, and journey that your users take, allowing them to onboard better and faster than ever before.

Analytics Can Dramatically Change your Customer Experience

Steve BurgUser Experience0 Comments

 

Every company wants to have a great customer experience. We want our customers to easily use our products and have a great relationship with us. The recipe seems fairly simple: Hire a talented customer success team who will take care of your customer happiness. Build a support department that can answer any questions your customers may have. Ensure your product is easy to use so that there aren’t many questions to ask.

 

Sounds pretty straight forward — except for when it isn’t.

 

Most of the time, the issues customers are having are not issues you initially thought of when designing the customer experience. You may have missed a bug or two despite all the mechanisms you have in place to catch them. Who brings it to your attention? Your customers.

 

This is just one issue. The end to end customer experience is fraught with pitfalls that can affect how a potential and current customer experiences your product.

Learn more about your customers with Jaco. Click here to get started for free!

How does agile analytics help improve the customer experience?

 

Let’s start with the first place customers interact with your digital product — your website. Diagnosing issues within your website can be a tedious process involving multiple analytics programs, but it is a task worth undertaking. Use quantitative analytics to see where customers are dropping off in your platform.

 

If you are already a current user of Jaco, check your user sessions. You can then tweak the user journey based on your new found knowledge of what is causing users to drop off. If you aren’t already a user, do yourself a favor and get Jaco.

 

How does agile analytics help customer support?

 

Tools like Jaco help give insights into individual user sessions that can be attached directly to a support ticket with our custom integration. Instead of trying to recreate the issue, you can go to the session in Intercom, or any other support tool, and watch exactly what the customer did.

Optimize your customer experience with Jaco. Click here to get started for free!

How does agile analytics help product development?

 

To begin with, analytics should be driving your feature development. The question then becomes, which analytics should be the driving force? Should it be your system logs? Or is it your quantitative analytics which tell you how often your users are engaging with specific features?
Here at Jaco, we believe that qualitative analytics should be your driving force. It is not enough to know that certain features are being used — you have to see how your users are engaging with them. Are they using each and every feature to its full potential? Are your users discovering new uses for existing features? These questions can only be answered by watching how your users use your product.

 

Jaco helps you decide which feature to develop next. Click here to get started for free!

 

There are many many more use cases relating to the spread of data across an organization. The above are three applications of the same exact data source: visual analytics. Take a look at Jaco. See how it can optimize your organization, not just your department, but across all departments!

 

Interview with Alex Prokhorenko

Steve BurgUncategorized0 Comments

This week we caught up with Olexandr (Alex) Prokhorenko, product manager at Zuora. Zuora is the world’s leading subscription management platform, empowering businesses to launch subscription models and manage the entire lifecycle of their subscribers.

 

Steve: How would you define the role of Product Manager?

 

Alex: I’ve seen product managers often take on different, and sometimes extreme roles, based on the company’s stage and size. In fact, coming from engineering and technical management, I find that the position and toolkit of a Product Manager is loosely defined.

 

Alex: Over last decade that I have worked in product, I’ve spent several years in startup-size companies (less than 100 employees), and over 5 years growing with Splunk from 300 to 2,000+ employees. Currently I am with Zuora, we are over 500 people.

 

I want to first quickly comment on the common phrase, “product manager is the CEO of his or her product.” While this is relatively accurate and quite appealing description of the role for startup-sized companies, I largely disagree with it when we’re starting to talk about companies with proven traction and significant growth.

 

To have an opinion about product decisions does not equate making the decisions. The CEO’s role is not to build a product, but to build a company, which is frankly, is quite a different job. And this is where it gets more complicated but more interesting at the same time: look around at CEOs of larger companies, and how they run their companies based on what specialty they came from: engineering, marketing or sales.

 

My own definition for project manager role is to assume responsibility — to figure out a real-world problem, gauge its significance, and investigate how we can provide a solution. PMs are multidisciplinary technologists and doers.

 

Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is not always the case, especially in larger companies. With the fast growing companies, product management tends to touch lots of areas across all lines of business, and often has to be broken into inbound (product-centric, engineering, planning, features, scope, internal blockers & communication) and outbound (field, partners, market, user interviews, etc) specialties.

 

Steve: Which areas are you responsible for in your company?

 

Alex: Currently at Zuora my role is within the core platform, I work on 2 out of 6 core pillars: pricing and rating engine. The ultimate goal is to empower our customers and partners to grow their businesses with Zuora. This might sound simple, however, there is large spectrum of businesses out there. The large number of combinations of pricing products and services, results in a growing number of options and factors that can influence one seemingly simple purchase decision.

 

Now with the economy driving transition of traditional businesses into subscription models, my job is not only to have the most dynamic and advanced, flexible product out there, but make the transition as painless as possible.

 

Steve: Tell us about the tools you use to optimize your UI/UX and increase conversions.

 

Alex: My work at Zuora has less UI/UX challenges, however, I’ve seen quite a bit of that while running growth & customer success at Splunk. Most of the end-user facing Web properties were ending up on my plate, serving a wide range of purposes: from support to sales. My job was to build, acquire and retain our users (within the scope of each product).

 

There are dozens of UI/UX approaches I used to take, but they all boil down to the following:

 

Brainstorm > Prioritize > Experiment > Graduate (built over the layer of deep analytics)

 

If you miss “deep analytics” part, you will fail. I’ve seen so many cases of “low-hanging fruits” experiments built solely on the top of generic Google Analytics metrics (pageviews, visitors, bounce) that have shown some initial improvement, but then ended up jeopardizing mission critical workflows. Nobody realized until it was too late.

 

Let me put it this way: I hate to see an improvement that I cannot explain. Why? Cannot explain means cannot reproduce, cannot sustain and have no idea what else is going on — chaos.

 

Steve: If you had to give a tip to an aspiring product manager, what would it be?

 

Alex: If I could pick 3 top skills, they would be time management, teamwork, and product roadmaps.

 

If you don’t know how to manage your time, you will fail big time. I strongly believe that eventually, one can learn to be a great product manager, but without strong time management skills, it will be nearly impossible.

 

Teamwork! Hire people who are so good that it makes you uncomfortable. While I’ve seen successful B-players teams, it’s easier and faster to go with A-teams in the long run.

And last, but not least, and going a little tactical. I see too many issues with the road mapping, so much so that I even wrote a blog post outlining the framework I use.

 

Steve: Let us in on some of your secrets. What are your favorite resources for inspiration and innovative ideas?

 

Alex: I love this question. I am very into growth hacking, I believe ideation is a significant part of success. While there are many ways to do it, there are two that I often find to work the best for me.

 

One is to diligently break existing process into parts and replace each part with something else to see if it makes sense. Another way is to participate at startup demo pitches and just listen.

 

Very quickly your brain will start “participating” and producing ideas reflecting on some (often minor) points or ideas. Once you have listened, go ahead and share your thoughts with the startups. Don’t afraid to “give away” your multi-billion dollar idea. First, it is not, and second, most likely than not, your conversation will let you stimulate your brain more.

 

Moving on, inspiration is important. However, the ability to distil signal from noise is critical, and I would love to point to my blog post on my ideation thought process.

 

In the context of running online experiments, I like Sean Ellis’ scoring ICE: Impact, Confidence, Ease. I generally try to balance my experiment portfolio with high impact, and high ease experiments — because I hate spending sprints worth of work, with no action in between. High ease experiences are those fillers that you add when buying something on Amazon to get to $25 for free shipping – sometimes they end up much more useful than the actual purchase.

 

Making the Case for Investing in UX Analytics

Steve BurgUser Experience0 Comments

UX Analytics might be the most important investment your company makes this year.

 

It’s a bold statement but we stick by it. Why? Your user experience defines everything your company does. It defines the path your users will take to navigate your product. It defines how your users sign up, how they check out, how often they visit and how they feel while using your product. So, it might be a strong statement, but we stand by it: UX Analytics might be the most important investment your company makes this year.

 

Optimize your UX with Jaco. Click to get started for free!

 

What’s the big deal with UX anyways?

 

We all remember the company called MySpace right? Remember how it was completely eclipsed by Facebook? Andrew Kucheriavy, CEO of Intechnic, argued on Forbes that “Facebook trumped MySpace because of its superior innovation and user-friendly platform — the same user-friendly service that brands like Google, Amazon and Airbnb have used to propel them towards global success.”

 

If Myspace didn’t convince you, here is a powerful statistic from Forrester: “On average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 in return. That’s an ROI of 9,900%.”

 

User experience — it’s a really really really big deal. It’s the first step in product design. UI designers will have a very hard time building an interface if the user path has not been clearly defined.

 

Perform user testing on live products with Jaco. Click here to get started for free!

 

Why UX Analytics?

 

This is a very good question. Most companies are overflowing with analytics tools. Everyone has Google Analytics because it’s free so why not? Throw in the free version of Heap, a bit of MailChimp, some Intercom and you still haven’t shelled out a penny.

 

So why should you invest in an analytics tool for UX? To answer that question, let’s take a look at the user path for an app registration.

 

 

Every single arrow on this chart has the potential for drop off. Every single step has the potential for optimization. Without the analytics to see where hangups are occurring, under what circumstances, and to which kinds of users — your strategy for improvement is guesswork.

 

Observing exactly how users interact with your product is equivalent to super powers when it comes to building the best possible product. UX analytics is an investment in your product, in your company, and in your future. Choose company growth — invest in your UX.

 

Changes to Jaco’s Pricing Plans

Steve BurgAbout Jaco0 Comments

 

We would like to offer you, our customers, a detailed explanation of Jaco’s new pricing plans.

 

A lot has changed in the past few months — we were acquired by WalkMe and have been working hard to integrate Jaco into the WalkMe platform. We’ve made significant progress on the Jaco product roadmap, and are introducing groundbreaking features at breakneck speed. We are closer now than ever to delivering the Jaco product we always envisioned.

 

Two things that have not changed and will not change are our commitment to helping you learn more about your customers and our desire to maintain a transparent relationship with you, our customers.

 

Beginning May 22, the pricing tiers for Jaco will change for new customers. Existing customers will be grandfathered into their current pricing tier.

 

Building the next phase of Jaco

 

Our goal is to continue improving and building the core features of Jaco to make them more powerful, more intuitive, and more useful for you. We are also working to build the new features that many of our customers have requested. In order to do this, we are investing a significant amount of time, energy, and capital into the Jaco product.

 

Even though Jaco was acquired by WalkMe, we are still operating as an independent company. This means we are not a large corporation, and do not intend to act as such. We hope to continue helping you learn more about your customers and improving your products moving forward.

 

Here’s how Jaco’s pricing model will look moving forward. Prices are shown in USD.

 

 

Jaco Starter

Free

 

The easiest way to get started with Jaco, starter is now an free plan with no expiration date. Smaller companies will now be able to get started with Jaco and learn more about their customers from day one.

 

With starter, you will have automated event tracking and session playback. This will allow you to get significantly deeper insights into your customers. As we release more features, starter will grow and help you learn even more!

 

Growth

$219/month

 

As your number of users grows, we are committed to growing with you. Growth will allow users up to 25,000 sessions per month, allowing you to scale and learn more about your customers with just the click of a button.

 

With growth, you will have all of the features available on starter plus the ability to segment your customers based on how they use your product. You will be able to see similar sessions based on actions they performed within your product, allowing you to get a feel for the different types of users you have.

 

Enterprise

Contact Us

 

When your business expands beyond the growth plan, we’d like to build a plan that fits your specific business wants and needs.

 

Our enterprise plan will have custom features as well as a dedicated account manager so that you can always be in touch with us. We are committed to growing your business and helping you learn as much as possible about your customers.

 

If you have any questions regarding the new pricing plans, please do not hesitate to be in touch with us. We are excited about the future and look forward to building the next versions of Jaco with you by our side.

 

How UpNest Uses Jaco Session Recording to Optimize their UX

Steve BurgInterviews0 Comments

Since 2013, UpNest has been changing the way we interact with their real estate agents. They have created a marketplace that connects home buyers and sellers with the top local agents who compete for their business. They also happen to be one of our favorite customers here at Jaco. We caught up with Travis Sawrie, Product Manager at UpNest to learn a bit more about how they use Jaco.

Steve: What brought you to Jaco?
Travis: I go through cycles of obsession with producthunt.com. Lucky for me, I checked out Product Hunt on the day that Jaco was “hunted.”

The timing was serendipitous because that morning, our team at UpNest was discussing the pains of discovering bugs, user research, etc. I quickly shot an email to our CEO about Jaco and we signed up that day to give it a try.

Steve: How has Jaco helped UpNest solve your product pain?
Travis: Jaco is like a digital one-way mirror that lets us make high-impact qualitative observations. Analytics software like Mixpanel and Google Analytics are essential for quantitative observations, but they don’t provide rich qualitative observations.

This is a very basic example, but a real estate agent on our platform might tell us that they are having an issue with a certain page. Jaco will show us that they didn’t notice an important button necessary to accomplish what they were trying to do. Our follow-up actions are to both educate the user on how to use our site the way it’s currently built, and also make that important button easier to discover.

Additionally, we move fast as a development team so that we can iterate and test quickly. It’s extremely rare to get a new feature right on the first try. Jaco provides us with instant user feedback sessions to make observations.

Steve: Who uses Jaco at UpNest and how?
Travis: We want everyone at UpNest to wear the product manager hat, so we’ve given access to most of our employees. Our sales, customer support, and marketing teams are able to use it however they want. Whether that be troubleshooting to make a customer with an issue happy, see how a landing page is performing, or reach out to a customer that saw an error page. We’ve even generated quick access links on our internal dashboards that will pull up a user’s session based on their IP.

However our dev team of engineers, designers, and myself as a product manager use it the most. We mostly find bugs, see how users are interacting with a new feature, discover front end edge cases for specific devices, and troubleshoot for specific user types.

I like to say that for every 30 minutes of user session time watched on Jaco, you’ll likely come up with at least 1 product improvement. With all of our employees able to watch user sessions, there should be no shortage of improvement suggestions!

Steve: Who do you think Jaco works for best?
Travis: I can’t imagine anyone working in web software not getting value out of Jaco. But if I had to choose a specific role, I’d have to go with startup product managers. I’m a little biased, though.

It depends on the scope of a PM’s role in their specific company, but PM’s should know their customers and how they interact with their product. I say startup product managers specifically because startups are often unable to conduct expensive user research sessions. Jaco allows product managers to quickly see the true behavior of user interactions.

Steve: Let us in on some of your secrets. What are your favorite resources for inspiration and innovative ideas?

Travis: For new and innovative ideas I’m usually found checking on outside sources like Product Hunt, podcasts (I highly recommend Intercom’s “Inside Intercom” podcast), other mature marketplaces, and case studies from communities like growthhackers.com.

But I personally don’t care so much about incorporating technology innovation if it doesn’t fit in with our customer needs. Simple ideas can have huge impact. I read that the best ideas are usually a new combination of existing functions. Sometimes a light bulb will go off with a team member at UpNest that realizes we can combine two existing functions that will make things easier for our customers. If you say, “why didn’t we think of that before?” in response to an idea, you’re probably onto something.

I’m fortunate to work right next to our account management team. These team members are on the front lines talking to our real estate agents, home buyers, and home sellers. They’re able to receive critical feedback from these users on how we can improve.