How to Build Delightful Products That Drive Customer Stickiness

How to Build Delightful Products That Drive Customer Stickiness cover

If you’ve been in the SaaS or start-up space for some time, there’s no way you haven’t heard about ‘delightful products.’

But what exactly does it mean? And what can product managers do to build quality products that really delight users?

Let’s check it out!


  • Apart from being great at satisfying big user needs, delightful products give users that little bit extra that exceeds their expectations.
  • Before you launch your Minimum Viable Product, test all your assumptions and validate ideas to make a strong entrance. Then iterate to add delight and build a minimum delightful product.
  • Delightful products deliver more value than products with similar functionality and make it easier to stand out from the crowd.
  • By adding delight to the product, you increase product stickiness and enhance customer satisfaction. This happens because users find interactions with the product rewarding.
  • Delightful products are also full of personality, so users develop human-like relationships with them.
  • Use anticipatory design to make your users feel special.
  • To build a delightful product, make your UI intuitive. If a user can find their way through the product easily, they will experience value more quickly.
  • Next, use contextual in-app tips and guidance to remove friction from the product and smoothen the path to adoption.
  • Collecting active and passive feedback gives you a chance to see the product from the users’ perspective, which is essential to build delightful products.
  • To find the product experience delightful, users need access to on-demand self-service with all the information and guides they may need.
  • Most users may not be ready to admit it but they make their choices based on emotions, not reason. By adding an emotional layer to the UX and triggering positive feelings, you make your product more delightful.
  • Storytelling is a powerful tool in the emotional design toolset. Use them to help users establish a personal relationship with the product and the company.
  • Amplify delightful experiences by making sure users don’t miss them.
  • Want to know how Userpilot can help you build delightful products? Book the demo!

What are delightful products?

Delightful products tick two main boxes.

First, they satisfy real user needs. If a product doesn’t address genuine user desires or pain points, it may create some initial excitement, but will soon be forgotten because there’s nothing substantial it brings to users’ lives.

Second, it needs to satisfy these needs well. Delightful products are simple to use and allow users to get their jobs done with the least amount of effort.

At the same time, they give users that little something that makes their experience with the product unique and memorable.

So Apple may claim that its products are superior because they just work, but it’s their design and the impact on users’ self-image that makes them pay premium prices.

Apple. It just works.
Apple. It just works.

Minimum viable or minimum delightful products?

Do you need a minimum delightful product before your launch or is a minimum viable product enough?

In short, you need both.

The MVP is essential to validate your idea and collect real-life user feedback necessary to add value to the product later on. However, it may not be enough to captivate a wider customer base beyond the early adopters. For that, you need a minimum delightful product.

The risk of releasing a product that is not ready is that it can damage your reputation. If you disappoint people early on, they may not give you another chance.

To minimize the potential negative impact, use prototype testing to test assumptions and validate your ideas before you even start building your MVP. Implement the lessons learned into the MVP so that it’s already a solid product at launch.

Next, use data and feedback and iterate to add delight to your product.

Why should product managers care about building products that delight?

Adding delight to your product facilitates the acquisition of new clients and helps you turn them into faithful followers.

It differentiates your product

If you have two parity products with exactly the same functionality, how will consumers choose one?

They will probably go for the cheaper offer unless you offer them something extra that is missing in other products.

By making user interactions with your product along the user journey more delightful, you increase your chances of acquiring new customers and retaining the existing ones.

It enhances satisfaction and drives stickiness

Delightful products give users more satisfaction and boost their stickiness.

When a user engages with a delightful product, they get rewarded, so they want to use it even more. Whenever they face a similar problem, they reach for it.

This creates a trigger-action-reward-investment loop known from the hook model developed by Nir Eyal. The end result is that users keep coming back to the product.


It humanizes the product and brand

Delight is not only about functionality. It also adds a touch of personality to your product.

When users repeatedly interact with products that delight them, they form the sort of relationship they develop with other human beings.

This results not only in greater loyalty and better retention but also drive word-of-mouth marketing. Your product not only fulfills a role in your customers’ lives but also becomes a topic of their social and professional conversations.

This is by far the most organic and cost-effective way to acquire new users.

How to build delightful products customers love

As building delightful products are not only about their functionality but the overall experience, it requires contributions from all members of your cross-functional team.

That’s why make sure to involve your marketing, sales, and customer success colleagues.

Make users feel special with anticipatory design

Anticipatory design is another way to build delightful products.

How does it work?

Your goal is to predict user needs and pain points before they even realize they exist so that you can design ways to address them. Once users finally experience the need or problem, the solution is ready and waiting for them.

Anticipatory design not only helps you solve user problems well but also addresses their need to feel understood and unique. It delights users through a simplified and intuitive UI, plus personalized onboarding paths to reduce friction.

Leveraging anticipatory design can help you build delightful products.

Focus on making the UI as intuitive as possible

The more reliable and intuitive your product UI is, the more delight it brings.

Always try to put yourself in your users’ shoes and look for ways to streamline the happy path.

Is the blank page really all you can do to engage users that are only starting to use your product? Creating an engaging empty state page is your first chance to delight the users!

Do you really have to make your users click through the 2 dropdown menus to find a feature they use multiple times a day? Wouldn’t an easily accessible shortcut be enough?

Try to remove any unnecessary steps from the user journey to make it as easy as possible to navigate.

Empty states are your chance to delight users from the get-go
Empty states are your chance to delight users from the get-go.

Remove friction with contextual tips and guidance

Friction slows users down, and instead of addressing user pain points, it makes engaging with the product a pain in its own right.

To avoid it, use product usage analytics to understand which users are engaging with which part of the product.

For best effects, find a tool that will let you track a whole range of interactions, like clicks, text fills, and even hovers, and then view and analyze them in an accessible way.

Features and Events tracking in Userpilot
Features and Events tracking in Userpilot.

Next, use the data to divide your users into segments. This is necessary to provide personalized experiences to all users.

User Segmentation in Userpilot
User Segmentation in Userpilot.

Now that you have your user segments sorted and know what each of them wants to achieve and what their pain points are, trigger custom in-app guidance, like tooltips, to deliver more value as quickly as possible.

Collect feedback to understand how users feel about the product

When removing friction, make sure you remove it from the feedback collection process as well!

Miro recognizes the need for that with their feedback widgets that users can use whenever they feel like giving some feedback.

Miro collects passive feedback to build a delightful product for its users
Miro collects passive feedback to build a delightful product for its users.

Of course, don’t try to rely on passive feedback collection entirely. Keep using contextually triggered in-app surveys to collect feedback on new features or to keep track of user sentiment.

Apart from giving you ideas on how to improve the product, user feedback helps you look at the product from the user’s perspective. Empathizing with users is essential for building delightful experiences.

Help users help themselves with on-demand help

Great customer support is essential for product success.

However, no matter how well-trained and enthusiastic your customer success team is, the majority of users would rather avoid dealing with them if they can help it.

What’s the solution?

Develop a self-service help center where your users can access all the information and guides they need without leaving the product or spending precious time on a chat with your agents.

Access to on-demand self-service is another characteristic of delightful products.
Access to on-demand self-service is another characteristic of delightful products.

Mix in emotional design that delights

Once you sort out your UI, try adding an emotional layer to your application or website.

While most people say it’s the functionality that makes them choose one product over the other, our choices are often based on emotions. Make sure that your product evokes only positive emotions.

How can you do it?

Adding humor and making the interactions with the product fun is one way to go. Just check out Asana’s error code! 5 evil cobras jog sadly. LOL!

Asana uses funny error codes to add delight to the product.
Asana uses funny error codes to add delight to the product.

Celebration Creatures are another Asana feature and an example of how you can use gamification to add delight to the product.

Asana users get rewarded with an animation of a magical creature, like a unicorn, whenever they complete a task. Such moments of delight may not seem much but they lighten up the UX – and can lighten up someone’s day.

Celebration Creatures are one of the reasons why Asana is a delightful product
Celebration Creatures are one of the reasons why Asana is a delightful product.

For Asana, it’s not only about entertaining your users though. They genuinely care about their users. That’s why they’ve adjusted the color patterns to make the product more accessible for users with impaired vision.

This not only makes it possible for such users to engage with the product but also boosts user loyalty.

Asana changed its color patterns to improve accessibility
Asana changed its color patterns to improve accessibility.

Why does it all matter?

By exciting, surprising, or entertaining your users, you boost product stickiness. Next time you mess up and that ugly bug sneaks through your robust QA system, they are more likely to look the other way. That’s kind of understandable, by then, you will be mates after all!

Add elements of product storytelling

Storytelling is another tool used in emotional design that has the potential to improve user experience.

Words have the power to show the human side of the product and evoke positive emotions.

A compelling narrative about how the product was born and the challenges you faced helps users identify with the people behind the product and the business. It gives the product a human side and as a result, makes it easier for users to form a human-like relationship with it.

This is where the difference between brilliant products and merely good ones lies.

Amplify the delight

Once you figure out what brings delight to the user experience, reinforce the positive feelings you create.

That’s what Gusto, the payroll solution, does with their email notifications.

Getting paid could be a pretty delightful moment, at least for most employees. However, most of the time, to experience delight, users need to check their bank account, and that means friction.

Gusto doesn’t let users miss it by sending them a payday email. Simple but does the trick!

Gusto’s payday email amplifies the delight users experience
Gusto’s payday email amplifies the delight users experience.


A core set of minimum viable features could be enough to attract the attention of innovators and early adopters.

However, if you want to build a successful product that engages users across the adoption curve, you need to focus on developing a delightful experience.

If you want to see how Userpilot can help you add delight to drive your product adoption, book the demo!

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