Analyzing Pain Points
In the fall of last year, our first brainstorming session started with a whiteboard and two columns: Like and Dislike. We all took turns listing the things that we thought worked well about our current platform: how projects are always tied to a client, how users have a direct line of communication to a project manager, and how we ask targeted questions to get a deeper understanding of the work. Though many of the basics ended up in the Like column, the Dislike was longer. The connection between all these dislikes came down to one major thing: user experience. The soul of what we have is solid, logical, regimented. But the way people are interacting with it was shining a light on some of the shortcomings.
As we were discussing the biggest pain points for our current platform users, project credits came up. Since our pricing structure was based on the number of project credits a user receives per month, we initially didn’t think this was a negotiation point. Not to mention, users who can submit up to 15 projects per month will tend to have higher needs and demands than those who submit three or fewer. The extra time on our end justified an additional expense, and so we never really questioned it much. The closer we examined the pain point, however, the more we came to realize that something about it needed to change.
Remove to Improve
Doing away with project credits meant we’d basically be changing our entire pricing structure. Were we shooting ourselves in the foot financially? We quickly realized that this simplicity would really be a blessing in disguise because it would remove an artificial barrier to our users submitting jobs.
Case in point: we had noticed a trend of users who had work to submit, but who would have to wait until the beginning of a new billing cycle to outsource the projects so they didn’t have to purchase an additional project credit. Talk about friction. We were implicitly telling users not to send us their work because of the barriers we had put up in an attempt to control the process.
Once the light bulb went off, it was an easy decision: we were getting rid of project credits entirely. In fact, we’ve even started giving all our current users as many project credits as they want because we didn’t think it made sense to wait to make the change.
Once we made that big decision, it started to become easier to kill other features that we had just assumed were must-haves.
Give Up a Little, Get a Lot Back
We were probably an hour and a half into a later planning session when I proposed charging for extra seats as an upsell. I figured, it’s something other SaaS companies are doing, so why not us? It became clear very quickly that this was, in fact, a terrible idea. Sure, maybe for some companies it makes a lot of sense and is a reliable revenue stream. But for us, as with the project credits, charging for extra seats would erect a barrier in an area where we should instead be reducing friction.
By the end of the session, not only had we killed the idea of charging for extra seats, we scaled up what we planned to offer to account holders at no extra charge. After all, the entire purpose of the BXP Creative platform is to integrate as closely into an agency environment as possible. And that means wide-open communication. An account holder should be able to easily add her copywriter, creative director, web design lead, account coordinator, and so on. More than this, they should be able to assign certain people to certain clients, so people only get notifications about the projects that they are actively involved with. There are many moving pieces in a modern agency environment, and by allowing them to work with us the way they want to, we empower them to achieve more with fewer resources.