How to Overcome Feature Blindness and Drive Adoption in SaaS
Is your SaaS struggling to overcome the feature blindness problem?
You’re not alone. SaaS customers typically just focus on the most important features to them, neglecting all others. And this has negative consequences for the company because it means customers aren’t using the tool to its full capacity, which can affect customer retention and net revenue.
This article shows you how to overcome feature blindness and, as a result, increase the LTV of your customers.
- Feature blindness occurs when users are too focused on the features they use the most that they neglect other features.
- This behavior is rooted in human psychology — aka the brain’s instinctual ability to filter out unnecessary information and respond only to certain stimuli.
- Feature blindness affects your engagement and retention rates. Customers who don’t experience the full value of your app will easily drop off when competitors come with shiny products.
- Feature blindness can happen across all the customer journey stages, so it’s vital to create solutions that aim to reactivate features for users at different stages.
- You can overcome feature blindness by identifying power features and reintroducing them to disengaged users.
- Another thing you can do is segment users to quickly pinpoint what features are important for the different user segments and drive engagement for those features.
- Software like Userpilot helps you track feature usage, discover the least used features of your product and drive adoption for neglected features.
- Use checklists to prompt secondary feature discovery and help customers engage with what seems hidden in plain sight.
- While user tests are mainly used to try new features, they can also be effective in discovering how your target audience interacts with your tool.
- Keeping an updated changelog is vital as users get to see the changes you’ve made even if they miss it on their dashboards.
- Send “what’s new” emails to lagging users highlighting the changes you’ve made to the app since it’s very likely they haven’t seen your in-app notifications.
- Hotspots and native tooltips are great for highlighting features and showing how those features can help your users reach their goals.
- Userpilot allows you to track feature engagement, create in-app modals for engaging users and more!
What is feature blindness?
Feature blindness is an occurrence where users only see features that they’re already accustomed to using.
This happens when customers develop their behavior patterns and workflows around the features they use the most and forget about the others.
Why and how does feature blindness happen?
Feature blindness is rooted in the brain’s instinctual ability to filter out unnecessary information and stimuli. Without this ability, we’ll get constantly distracted and be unable to focus on important things.
The brain receives thousands of stimuli per time but filters these and pays attention to the most important ones. For instance, have you been in a crowded place with lots of noise but still heard when someone called you? It’s because your brain marked your name as more important than the chatter around you.
It’s the same thing that happens to your users. They get introduced to all features during onboarding but over time they’ll just focus on those features they use the most.
How can feature blindness negatively impact product growth?
Feature blindness contributes to decreased retention rates. By using only certain features, users don’t get the full value of your product, and your app also becomes ordinary in their minds. This means you can easily be replaced when a competitor comes with a shiny product that, in many cases, isn’t even better than yours.
How to overcome feature blindness
No doubt, feature blindness affects your bottom line in many ways. But the good news is that there is hope. Feature blindness can be detected at different stages of the user journey, and you can address it to help your customers see more and more value in your product. This section explains ten ways you can do that.
Conduct behavioral cohort analysis to identify features that correlate with long-term retention
Behavioral cohort analysis helps you pinpoint the features that power users use the most. The fact that these features correlate with retention tells you that customers are gaining value from them, which means other users will find them valuable too.
After identifying these power features, your next goal is to bring them back to the attention of customers that are blind to them. In addition, you should make these features the focal point of new user onboarding.
Here’s what your cohort chart will look like;
Segment users by persona to develop a customized reactivation strategy
The behavioral cohort analysis will show you power features, but your users are not all the same. What is a key feature to one person wouldn’t be so valuable to the other.
To solve this problem, segment your users based on their jobs to be done, then seek to understand what features are most valuable to each user group. Find unengaged users from each segment and try to engage them with those features.
You can use hotspots and tooltips to reintroduce features. Hotspots will ensure users don’t miss the feature you’re highlighting, and the tooltips are there to remind them how the feature can make their work easier.
Track feature engagement and proactively drive discovery
Feature tracking tools like Userpilot enable you to track each feature’s usage easily. That way, you will quickly identify which features need better engagement.
Again, use in-app prompts (tooltips, hotspots, etc.,) to drive usage for those unengaged features.
Don’t forget to launch new features in-app for existing users
The best SaaS products are the ones that keep evolving to meet user needs.
As time goes by, your users will get smarter, the market will grow, and there will be a need to add more features to meet user requirements. Don’t hesitate to do this, but also ensure the updates match the vision you have for your app.
You shouldn’t stop at adding features, though; also ensure your existing customers discover the new updates. Remember, many of them have feature blindness and don’t go about searching for what’s new on the app. It’s your responsibility to bring the new features to their attention.
Modals like the one in the image below are a great way to announce feature updates in-app.
Prompt secondary features discovery with checklists
Continuously provide value to users even after they’ve reached activation and have started using your product.
Onboarding checklists are helpful when you are onboarding users, but they are also useful after the user has become comfortable in your app. Use checklists to introduce secondary features that the user might need but hasn’t discovered yet.
Run user tests to detect issues and improve product design
User testing is all about evaluating your product with real users who will provide feedback you can use to improve.
While this design process is typically for building new products/features, it’s also useful for discovering user behavior and understanding the feature blindness trend on your app.
Conduct user tests with your target audience to find out how they interact with your app and analyze the results to see which features don’t stand out to them.
Keep an updated changelog
Always keep your customers in the loop about the changes rolling out in the new update. This is a critical task in the development life cycle. It gives users an opportunity to be informed about a new feature/update and sparks interest in using it even if they haven’t noticed it on the dashboard.
Take inspiration from how Miro uses their “What’s new” modal to direct users to the changelog. They also have a button that users can click to view the range of fresh updates.
“What’s new” email update
Not every interaction has to be in-app. You’ll always have those users who won’t log into your tool frequently and miss the in-app feature announcements.
This is where emails come in. By sending “what’s new” emails, you can attract the attention of lagging users and demonstrate the benefits of your updates. Who knows, this might be what they need to return to your platform.
Here’s an example from Framer. Notice how they cleverly weaved a CTA in the email. You should do this too when sending your emails. The CTA should provide value and convey a sense of urgency.
Contextual feature discovery using modals
Many Loom users probably wouldn’t have known that the app offers this feature without the modal below. That’s because most Loom users do not need to visit the app’s dashboard; they just use the chrome extension, and they’re fine.
But modals like this ensure users don’t miss out on important features. Use contextual modals to help users discover features they’re missing.
Utilize user interface feedback design for the best experience
This is about using hotspots, native tooltips, and other elements to help users navigate the UI and discover what’s relevant to them.
Consider the image below for how Airtable did it. The native tooltips highlight what each feature does, and hotspots are used to show where the feature is. Creating your UI in this manner will boost the user experience and make it easy for users to know what each feature stands for.
Feature blindness is inevitable because it’s a natural consequence of how the human brain functions. But as a product manager, it’s your responsibility to ensure that customers are adopting your product and not missing out on critical features.
The strategies discussed in this article will help you to reactivate users and drive the adoption of unused features. If you’re wondering where to start, begin by segmenting your users and identifying what features are important for which segment. Next, find the users that aren’t engaging with power features for their segment and reintroduce those features to them.
Userpilot comes in handy here. Our tool allows you to track feature engagement, create in-app modals for engaging users, etc. Book a demo with our team today to find out how we can further help you deal with feature blindness and ensure your customers don’t drop off in the middle.