How to evolve your products 🌱

Evolving you product through gradual changes

In Episode 4 of Season 2, Morgan invited Antoine Goret, COO of Crisp, to go #BehindtheProduct. Crisp is a multichannel messaging platform that collates all of your conversations, between your company and your customers, into 1 inbox - including Live Chats, Twitter DM's, Messenger, SMS and more.

In the episode, Antoine explained how Crisp started as a Live Chat platform, and slowly iterated it into an all-in-one tool to create and meet demand of over 300,000 businesses, and to serve over 200M users! Antoine showed the power of evolving your product, so we also wanted to explore how you, too, can evolve yours and all the important factors to keep in mind! 

🚨 First things first

Before thinking about evolving your product, there’s one thing to make sure of:

  • Does your product solve the main problem you wanted it to solve? Evolving your product to further achieve this of course helps, but the very base of your product - its first, main features should already tackle the biggest, most meaningful problems. (End point, do you already have users using your product to solve their problems effectively?)

If it doesn’t, you’ll need to focus on that first. Evolving your product means making it enhanced, easier, more polished - but there’s nothing to evolve if the solution doesn’t effectively exist, or you wouldn’t know how to if no one is using it to solve their problems. 

Also, good to note that evolving would mean the same as improving, a continuous improvement of your product - that it gradually evolves to something bigger to you and your users.

🤳 Keeping quality in mind

All throughout evolving or improving your product, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you’re keeping product quality and not affecting user satisfaction (and therefore usage, or sales) as you go.

  • Is this further solving the problem you want to solve? There’s no point adding that certain feature if it doesn’t. This includes “nice to haves”, but not the unnecessary “completely great without”.
  • Is it still easy to use? How will users solve their problems with your solution if they can’t even use it, or have a hard time doing so?
  • Is it polished? Truth be told, aesthetics do matter and are part of the experience too. Sure, you can have an easy-to-use product that solves most pain points, and is easy to use, but if you go to market with new shitty-looking features, not many would be attracted to use it 🤷‍♂️

🛠 Always improving

When  it comes to evolving your product, there are 2 ways of doing so: 

  1. Enhance existing features

You can do this in 3 ways:

  • Enhance by improving quality. How can you make it more effective, easy to use, or polished?
  • Improve it so customers use it more often. How else can you engage them with your product, how else can you create demand with it?
  • Change it so a bigger audience can use it. What features could grow your user base? 

  1. Build new features 
  • Know what works and what doesn’t. This puts the importance of having regular, effective user research and user experience research on what they like or don’t like about your product, and what they absolutely love. Once you can pinpoint these, you’ll know what features to kill to make space for better or new ones.

🦾 Putting in the work

When you can map out the existing features you want to enhance, or the new features you want to add, it’s time to put it to work!

Company mission first in mind

Make sure that you’re doing this because it’s aligned with your mission, to help better solve a problem for your users or what you believe would be game-changers. Don’t stray from what the product was supposed to be by just being swayed by a stakeholder!

Prioritize and time-optimize

Check your roadmap plans, and according to your user experience research, and your team’s bandwidth, where can you add these new features best? If it’s one that you know will make user’s happiest, and it makes sense for where you want the product to be, prioritize those.

Ensure the goals and timelines are also realistic, and achievable. Don’t be afraid to talk to your team if you’re ever unsure!

Gradual, little changes

If you want to slightly change or enhance a feature, go ahead! But if it’s one that would cause your user’s to feel “lost”, we would suggest doing it incrementally, and also letting your users know that changes are coming. Little changes usually have smaller risks in implementation!

Keep analyzing user happiness

As you make these gradual changes, improvements - evolutions, continue doing regular user research and see what they think about the features and how it’s improved their experience (or not). Get in touch with users, build relationships with them to ask them freely. Ask for feedback on online surveys. Give out coupons for in-depth calls. 

Getting to a stage of evolving your product, after gradual changes, is an amazing spot to be in - congratulations! Make sure to keep  your company mission in mind, prioritize and time-optimize, do it gradually, and to keep analyzing how satisfied your users are as you go. 

💥 Bonus:

Antoine’s top tips for entrepreneurs

❤️ Do things that don’t scale. Try reading Paul Graham’s article - it’s an oldie but goldie.
🌱 Start by building a niche product. So you focus on doing the 1 thing that matters most.  Trust the process. Everyone wants success overnight, but you don’t scream at a seedling to grow -  same goes for businesses. Invest in the right actions.
💬 Start with a freemium model. This will help generate a lot of users especially in the beginning of your product.

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About me

I've been helping entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and innovators build their tech products since 2016!

Bringing outstanding products to life is not easy. But despite that, it's an amazing journey for anyone who wants to innovate, make a change or an impact in any industry.

So I wanted to get on the mic, meet with amazing founders/makers, and share all of their crazy journeys and experiences with you. I hope it educates, inspires and entertains you. Enjoy! ;)

Morgan

Host

Morgan is the Co-Founder & CEO of Sparkmate. They've built 100+ high-tech products and ventures to solve tomorrow's challenges!