How to Identify and Fix User Frustration in SaaS

How to Identify and Fix User Frustration in SaaS cover

User frustration is the precursor of churn. And when left unmanaged, your business will end up bleeding more customers than you can acquire.

So how can you identify and fix user frustration to prevent churn?

Let’s explore the most common reasons why SaaS users might get frustrated, how to deal with them, and then look at different ways to detect it in product management.

TL;DR

  • User frustration refers to negative experiences due to complex interfaces, slow performance, bugs, poor navigation, or inadequate support.
  • Let’s go over the top sources of user frustration:
  1. Too much information during onboarding: Overloading users during onboarding leads to frustration and disengagement. Instead, break information into chunks, trigger resources relevantly, and diversify formats.
  2. Consistent bugs: Bugs disrupt the user experience and create negative associations with the app. To control it, allow users to report bugs easily and solve them quickly.
  3. Cluttered UI design: Unintuitive UIs requiring extensive training can frustrate users and increase churn. For this, use progressive disclosure to maintain a clean interface and reduce cognitive load.
  4. Inadequate support: Unresponsive and unhelpful support services frustrate users and increase friction. To reduce friction, implement a self-service support process.
  5. Unmet expectations: Overpromising marketing and underwhelming performance lead to unmet user expectations and, thus, frustration. For this, use personalization to make the user experience smoother.
  • Now, here are some ways to identify user frustration:
  1. Rage clicks: Multiple clicks out of frustration indicate usability issues and need fixing.
  2. Negative user feedback: Collect feedback via surveys to identify sources of frustration and improve the product.
  3. Increased drop-off rate: High drop-off rates during processes signal user frustration and should be analyzed.
  4. Changes in user behavior: Reduced activity, lower feature usage, or shorter sessions indicate potential frustration.
  • If you need a tool to spot friction throughout the customer journey, why not book a Userpilot demo to check out our tools for mitigating user frustration?

Try Userpilot and Take Your Product Management to the Next Level

What is user frustration?

User frustration refers to the negative experience when users interact with your app. It can happen due to complex interfaces, slow performance, frequent bugs, lack of intuitive navigation, or inadequate customer support.

Frustration leads to decreased user satisfaction, increased churn rates, and a negative impact on a company’s reputation. Thus, to minimize frustration and retain users, product managers must prioritize ease of use, reliability, and responsive support.

Top 5 reasons for user frustration

That said, let’s go over the top five reasons why users might get frustrated with your product:

1. Too much information during onboarding

Although you want new users to learn your product properly during onboarding, it can be very easy to overwhelm users if you’re not careful.

This can happen due to both the amount of information needed before getting value from it, the format in which you’re presenting it, and the pacing of it.

For example, triggering a long and generic product tour when users first log in will motivate most of them to skip it entirely due to the overload of non-relevant information that’s presented.

💡 How to reduce user frustration during onboarding

When addressing user frustration during the onboarding process, you need to:

  • Break down the information into digestible chunks.
  • Trigger onboarding resources when it’s relevant to the user.
  • Diversify the format of your onboarding resources.

An onboarding process like this can involve:

  1. Triggering a welcome message and asking users what they intend to do.
  2. Showing an onboarding checklist to incentivize users to try out the most relevant feature to them (and at their own pace).
  3. Guiding users through your features with an interactive walkthrough.
  4. Adding gamification elements to keep users motivated and engaged.
  5. Setting up an email sequence to keep disengaged users in check.
onboarding checklist for user frustration
Onboarding checklist example built code-free with Userpilot.

2. Consistent bugs

Bugs (both minor and major) disrupt the product experience and lead users to associate your app with negative feelings. 😬

Although harmless, visual bugs can confuse readers or distract them from their goals. Additionally, functional bugs prevent users from performing key tasks and cause serious user frustration.

💡How to reduce user frustration from bugs

As a product manager, one way to deal with bugs is by allowing users to report them.

For this, place bug report buttons wherever it’s obvious enough for the user, but without bothering their experience. This can be at the corner of a web page, below your product’s sidebar, inside your in-app resource center, and so on.

As a result, you’ll spot more bugs and solve them as quickly as possible so they no longer cause friction.

3. Cluttered UI design

A UI that’s unintuitive and requires extensive training to learn how to navigate it will generate user frustration.

This can include UIs with too many menus, sub-menus, icons, patterns, and non-relevant content. Also, the smaller the interactive elements, the harder it is to click on them.

That said, the more effort it takes to perform a simple task with your product, the more you’re setting up your users to churn for a more user-friendly alternative.

💡How to reduce user frustration with an easier UI

One product design best practice to unclutter your UI is to make use of progressive disclosure.

Progressive disclosure is about showing only the most essential elements upfront and providing access to additional features as needed—maintaining a clean interface and reducing cognitive overload.

To apply it, you have to design interfaces that intuitively expand to reveal deeper levels of navigation. Initial menu items should be broad, allowing users to drill down into more specific features without increasing their cognitive load.

Plus, animation can be used to help users understand that there are additional layers of navigation (such as ‘more’ buttons or a ‘show less/show more’).

progressive disclosure user frustration
Example of a progressive disclosure.

4. Inadequate support

One of the most common sources of frustration is dealing with customer support that’s unresponsive, unhelpful, and that always ends in canned responses.

That said, the longer it takes for the user to find a solution to their problem, the more friction they’ll face. It can happen due to long queues, outdated or non-existent help resources, and adding too many barriers to talking with a real person.

💡How to reduce user frustration from ineffective support

The first best practice you can follow to reduce friction is to implement a complete self-service support process with an in-app resource center. It prevents users from leaving your app to solve their issues and experiencing friction in the process.

The process for creating an effective knowledge base is simple:

  1. Identify common issues that make customers drop off and disengage.
  2. Survey your users, review your support tickets, and examine your usage data to see what’s causing friction and pushing customers away.
  3. Create help resources in different formats to directly tackle these challenges. It can include FAQs, tutorial videos, step-by-step guides, or help articles.
  4. Organize your resources in content modules so users can find resources that are relevant to them (instead of having to browse through messy documentation).

This way, you can reduce the load for your customer support team and have more time to create training materials for new support reps.

resource center user frustration
Building an in-app resource center with Userpilot.

5. Unmet expectations

Another significant source of user frustration is when their expectations are not fulfilled.

This can happen due to overpromising marketing campaigns, lower standards than what users expect in your industry, or underwhelming performance.

Although your user’s expectations are not under your control, you can try to go the extra mile to deliver a more pleasant product experience.

💡How to reduce user frustration by going the extra mile

Personalization not only makes the customer experience more pleasant but also makes it easier to achieve success with your product.

For this, you can use a welcome survey to gather information such as the user’s industry, role within their organization, or main motivation for using your product. With that info, craft a personalized onboarding path addressing their specific jobs-to-be-done (JTBD) and responsibilities.

This could mean, for example, presenting features that a CMO would find valuable or automatically skipping others that an engineer might not need.

welcome survey user frustration
Creating a welcome survey with Userpilot.

How to detect user frustration

Now, let’s explore different signs of user frustration:

Rage clicks

Rage clicks happen when a user clicks multiple times on the screen due to impatience or frustration. It can happen due to low speed, broken elements, buttons that don’t work, and more.

You can detect them during usability tests or by using a tool with heatmap features (like Userpilot) to keep track of the user’s on-screen behavior. The goal is to identify their cause (e.g. broken links, etc.), fix all the issues, and then see if the rage clicks are reduced.

heatmap
Use feature heatmaps to identify bugs or rage clicks.

Negative user feedback

Another tactic for identifying user frustration is by hearing from user’s feedback.

For this, you can set up NPS, CES, and CSAT surveys to collect their feedback. And then, look at each negative response to determine the cause of their discontent.

They might be frustrated because the app is too slow or because there are too many barriers to performing a specific task. And as a result of their feedback, you’ll be able to work on improving your product.

survey responses
Tag negative feedback with Userpilot.

Increased drop-off rate

The drop-off rate is the percentage of users who abandon a process before achieving a specific goal, which is a clear sign of user frustration.

To detect it, you can use a tool like Userpilot to perform path analysis. This feature allows you to track each step of the customer journey and see what steps are most dropped—understanding user frustrations in the process.

For example, users might be dropping off from booking the demo on your website, converting to paying customers, or completing the onboarding process.

path analysis
Performing path analysis with Userpilot.

Changes in user behavior

Tracking in-app behavior is an excellent way to find signs of user frustration. They can appear in the form of reduced user activity, a drop in feature usage, or shorter session durations.

For this, you can use a product analytics tool like Userpilot to look at dashboards, track in-app events, and analyze how user behaviors change over time.

For instance, you can check usage trends for a specific feature. If it indicates that users are using it less than before, then you can estimate that said feature is generating some frustration.

trend analysis
Watching trends with Userpilot.

Conclusion

Identifying and fixing user frustration is a never-ending task, but without it, your business could be at risk of losing too many customers.

By following the practices we covered here, you can now spot friction intentionally and do something about it.

So, if you need a tool to spot friction throughout the customer journey, why not book a Userpilot demo to check out tools for reducing user frustration?

Try Userpilot and Take Your Product Management to the Next Level

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