Hi again,

This week’s edition is a reflection on a recent call with a new PaymentLink customer that reinforced the value of observing people failing with your product first hand.

The goal of our call was to successfully migrate existing clients from an accounting tool into PaymentLink. Instead of taking control of our customer's account and doing everything for them (which would ensure success, right?) I asked them to share their screen and acted as a guide only. Here’s what I discovered.

Design is easily misinterpreted based on different use cases

In this specific case our customer wanted to manually add each of her existing clients to PaymentLink, so she clicked on the client's tab and looked for an “Add Client” button. Seems logical. However, that isn’t an option. The product assumes that clients are entering their information themselves (because they have sensitive credit card details) so in order to add a new client from within your own account, you need to act as the client would. Not really a problem, but without a guide, this expectation could become a real roadblock to adoption.

Potential Improvement: Provide a clear explanation of how to migrate existing clients along with supporting documentation in the empty state of the client's tab.

Your user's workflows don’t end at the edge of your product
This customer already uses many tools besides PaymentLink to run their business. Bench for accounting, Asana for project management and Gmail for client communication to name a few. Observing a user's thought process for how this new tool will co-exist within their existing ecosystem raised several clear topics that could be better covered by help documentation and in-app prompts.

Potential Improvement: Create walkthroughs of how existing workflows can be integrated with the product and provide clear links at relevant points in the experience. 

Blank form fields increase cognitive load 
One of the critical tasks to getting value from PaymentLink is creating and sharing a link. To do that users must fill in a total of 6 form fields. Despite this being a critical and seemingly straightforward step our new customer froze.

This was the first time they were being asked to enter something that would be shown to their own clients. The stakes got a little higher and they began to ask questions. Not about how the product worked but about best practices for setting expectations with clients and how to convey that clients payment methods will be saved securely. Being on the call I was able to provide suggestions and overcome the barrier.

Another advantage of watching in real time is being able to identify what environment the customer is in while trying to complete a task. In this case, they were at their desk on a laptop and had quick access to previous expectation settings emails they had sent to clients.

If they'd been experiencing this pain point by themselves while using their phone on a crowded train the outcome would likely have been different. They may have used dummy copy (and not actually used the link with clients) or worse decided to wait until later (maybe never to return).

Potential Improvement: Provide swipe-copy that can be quickly inserted to fit common use cases and allow users to maintain momentum.

Understanding the context of what a user was trying to achieve at the point of failure can help inform product improvements, behavior driven messaging, help documentation and ultimately increase the rate of customer activation and retention. 


If you're interested in learning how to audit your own product's onboarding experience, I think you'll get a lot of value from a new email course I'm creating.

Reply and tell me what you absolutely need to learn about improving your onboarding to make the course worthwhile.

Can't wait to hear from you!



Resources I found useful this week:

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120 Roberts Drive
Somerdale, NJ 08083

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