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I'm a junior UXR and would like to get some advice regarding how to improve user activation and retention through user research.

Some background:

I'm working as the only UX researcher in a B2B SaaS startup. Our company has quite some new signups every day but the problem is that the activation and retention rates are low. I've tried to reach out to non-activated and churned users to understand why, and the summary is:

  1. They (or their team members) don't have time to adopt to a new tool

  2. They don't really know how to fit the tool into their daily workflow

  3. They prefer our competitors over us because their products are more robust

I guess they are common reasons for churned users but our team had tried quite some different ways based on these three points trying to grow our users and nothing really worked.

On the other hand, I also talked with our active users and understand what our value propositions for them are. It turns out that: for the most part, it is kind of the opposite of why some people churned and went to our competitors - they think our product is easier to use compared to others.

I'm starting to wonder if our product is just not something that most people need? Or how should I continue to proceed in terms of user research to solve the problem?

Thank you in advance for the feedback and advice!

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Adding to the previous answer, it seems as if your product is missing discovery research. This happens a lot where an organisation builds something with a hypothesis that is unproven and then finds it doesn't fit in to the daily lives of the people it is intended for - however easy to use it is. Discovery research can fix this problem as it identifies unmet wants and needs. There are various models you could look to for greater learning. Here are three sources that might be helpful:

This helps explain where discovery research fits in - i.e. the divergent stage of product development. It's a really good framework.

This is a research methodology that is used for discovery research and I think relates directly to your issue. There are a couple of books about this approach also. I think this would be a good place to start.

this is from our blog but it speaks to the double diamond and the issue you face.

hope that helps

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UX designers often have to balance business, technical and user requirements as part of their job. But since you are the only UX designer in the organisation this means that you might have to wear several hats.

In terms of business requirements, it is up to the business and the business analysts to work out the business model and the value of the products/services that they want to deliver. The input from the UX designer is how well this matches up with the perception of users in terms of the value (keeping in mind that the end users are not always the ones that make the purchase decisions in most organisations).

In terms of technical requirements, it is up to the tech lead to understand and map out the overall architecture for the product and/or service, and plan for the creation, integration or migration of the software as business and user needs change over time.

Looking at these three things you have identified from your research or talking to the users about:

They (or their team members) don't have time to adopt to a new tool

They don't really know how to fit the tool into their daily workflow

They prefer our competitors over us because their products are more robust

I can see some things that are in your control and some things that you can provide input to but ultimately someone else makes the decision.

If users don't have time to adopt a new tool, can you make the tool easier to use and fit into their software stack seamlessly (this might also have technical constraints attached to it).

If they don't know how to fit the tool into their workflow, do you have the workflow of various different user groups mapped out? Does it show that your tool doesn't really fit into any of them well, or some of them better than others?

If they prefer the competitor's product because it is more robust, is this something that can be addressed technically? Can you find a point of different that can be added to the features to be developed?

You might want to read about the Kano's model of customer satisfaction to think about the prioritisation of features and how to think about the user experience needed for your products and services.

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