Making product changes during development is one thing, making them once a product has been launched in another. Users love new experiences. What they don’t love is change.
In an article for Inc., Jason Fried explains how he ran into this problem when his company, 37signals launched a full-scale redesign of their signature product, Basecamp. The updates were created to provide a better, faster, and simpler experience, but what Fried and his team discovered was that while new customers were thrilled, longtime users were disoriented by the changes. It meant a different experience, Fried writes, “and different is always a challenge.”
In order to avoid kick-starting customer anxiety, Fried now believes they should have invited existing customers to test out the new Basecamp features before asking them to make the leap. “It seems obvious in retrospect,” he writes, “but entrepreneurs need to think as much about customer habits and expectations as they do about design, code, hardware, and the like.” For more on how to avoid an upgrade backlash, read the full post here.
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Upgrades aren’t without their headaches, and therefore it’s advisable to take care of as many issues as possible before your product officially goes live. One approach to consider is a soft launch, which you can learn more about here. On the bright side, for more tips on how you can use upgrades and corresponding up-selling to increase your profitability, read this post from the OpenView Blog.