Enhance the effectiveness of your self-service demos through valuable user feedback. Discover the power of growth mindset, grit, and feedback channels to optimize your demos, captivate potential customers, and gain a competitive edge. Implement changes based on comprehensive analysis and continuous improvement strategies.

Here's what makes generative AI programs like ChatGPT so daunting: they get a little bit better everyday. Each of these generative AIs constantly seeks feedback in the form of responses, it learns from that feedback, it iterates, and seeks feedback again. It chips away at a problem or challenge until it has broken it down completely, and mastered it. It has, in other words, a growth mindset

For someone with a growth mindset, difficulty simply means not yet. It doesn't mean failure, it doesn't mean it's quitting time; it just means not yet. And yes, I know I'm talking of AI, not a person. 

The other aspect of AI that is making some of the most influential thinkers of our time anxious, is that being an AI, it can keep at a problem, day in and day out. In other words, it has grit

Prof Angela Duckworth defines grit as "Passion and perseverance for very long term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in and day out. Not just for the week or month, but for years. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint." 


Grit is, of course, one of the most reliable predictors of future success, especially when combined with a growth mindset. 

Now, in a PLG world, where the product sells itself, grit and growth mindset applies to the product. And of course, to the self-service demos that customers fall in love with. Now imagine your trajectory of improvement, if your product and product demos could constantly seek feedback, learn from it, iterate and repeat. (Yeah, I gave myself goosebumps that time!)

In the realm of PLG and SaaS, the quest for improvement is unending. 

Understanding the Importance of Feedback for Optimizing Self-Service Demos

Without feedback, we're driving blind. Feedback is our GPS to the promised land of customer delight. In the self-service demo context, user feedback serves as a powerful guiding force: driving enhancements and ensuring the product's value resonates with potential customers. By actively seeking and embracing feedback, PLG driven SaaS businesses can gain a serious competitive edge by delivering demos that not only educate but also captivate and convert.

Think about your own offering's journey. I'll bet that the business was founded to solve a problem that no one was solving. It then grew to solve adjacent problems, and then grew some more to solve problems adjacent to this new set of problems. How did you know which problems to focus on? I'm guessing you had at least one loud customer who told you what's what. (I hope you sent them a  thank you note 😃)

Successful offerings put customers in the drivers' seat when it comes to product development - build what your customers want, rather than what you think they want. 

Leveraging Feedback Channels to Unleash the Potential of Self-Service Demos

Not all feedback is made equal. Generally speaking, the more time a user needs to spend giving you feedback, the lower quality that feedback tends to be. This is simply a function of our time poor lives - no one has the time for nuance, especially when they're filling an online form. Ideally, you want feedback that is automatic. 

Here are the feedback channels most of my clients and I use, in the order of in which we use them: 

  1. Usage analytics: These are great for giving you level 1 feedback - you know where users are dropping off, you know how much time they're spending on a particular section of the demo, you know where they're going off the user path, and so on. 

  2. Customer support channels: There are two ways to leverage these for feedback. 

    1. One, find out what's driving your volumes - are users asking the same questions? Is there a particular area that confuses them? Use these as level 1 feedback. 

    2. Once you've flagged your problem areas, encourage (maybe even incentivise) customers who call/email/chat about these problem areas to share qualitative and detailed feedback that you can use. Customers who have their questions ready are able to zero in on what's driving the poor user experience quickly, and get suggestions on what customers would like to see instead. 

  3. In-app feedback: Integrating feedback mechanisms within the self-service demo itself is a great way to get users to give you feedback in real time, without disrupting their workflow, and without giving them feedback fatigue. Chatbots and single question forms (with multiple choice responses where possible) work best. Ideally, use these to zero in on the problem areas you've identified through level 1 feedback. 

  4. User communities: Foster an engaged user community where customers can discuss their experiences, share ideas, and provide feedback. This is also a great place to A/B test solutions before rolling them out to the larger user group. 

    1. Product Hunt, for instance, is an excellent online community where users can connect, share best practices, and offer feedback.

    2. Slack channels and Discord can also be great ways to engage with users directly. 

Analyzing and Utilizing User Feedback: Key Insights for Enhancing Self-Service Demos 

Now that you've collected feedback, it's time to get the most out of it. I find it helpful to think of data as a resource - the more expertly I analyze it, the more value I'm able to squeeze out of it. There's a lot you can do metrics wise. When it comes to feedback though, I like to chunk it into three broad classes: 

  1. Quantitative analysis - largely, this pertains to ratings and metrics. 

  2. Quantitative analysis - patterns and trends here help me understand commonalities in what customers are saying: both good and bad. 

  3. Sentiment analysis - these tools let me gauge the emotional tone of the feedback, helping my team and I assign the right priority. 

Once we've got these broad classes, we organize the feedback into categories based on the actions we need to take: 

  1. Usability suggestions: are great for helping us customize the tool basis the needs of specific ICPs 

  2. Feature requests: help set up our development roadmap 

  3. Performance issues: are always given top priority. 

Best Practices for Implementing Changes Based on User Feedback in Self-Service Demos 

Now that you have your change register, your feature development pipeline, and your performance issues sorted out, create your detailed implementation plan. If you're built on a low code no code platform, you might be able to iterate rapidly. If you're heavily dependent on your coders, then your turnarounds probably take more time and much more testing. 

While each of us has their own style and preferences, there are some best practices that tend to be universal. 

  • Prioritize based on user needs: Focus on addressing the most critical pain points and delivering value to your users. There will always be trade offs for time and benefits. 

  • Set clear goals and objectives: Do this for each change, feature, or performance improvement. Align these goals with the overall product strategy and ensure they are measurable, time-bound, and aligned with user expectations.

  • Break down initiatives into manageable tasks or user stories: This helps in better planning, estimation, and tracking progress. Prioritize and sequence these tasks based on dependencies and impact.

  • Implement an agile development process: I'll admit that this one is debatable. But, in the rapidly evolving world we SaaS folks operate in, agile development processes give us more… well, agility! It is also extremely iteration friendly. 

  • Communicate and involve stakeholders: Keep stakeholders informed and involved throughout the product roadmap process. Regularly communicate updates, progress, and timelines and proactively seek input and feedback. Slack is great for this, by the way. 

  • Pilot test everything: This goes without saying. Also, A/B test wherever possible and iterate often. Often, our clients think they know what they want, but the reality on the ground is often different. 

  • Practice continuous improvement: Remember growth mindset and grit? That's how we'll beat Skynet. 

A gift with the Terminator, starring by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Conclusion: Nurturing Growth Mindset 

For businesses in the SaaS space, the growth mindset is almost a prerequisite for survival. It is so easy to get comfortable and rest on our laurels, but the moment we do, we're on the road to obsolescence. Nothing ties our customers to us when we aren't at the top of our game - no long term commitments, no expensive product purchases, nothing. 

Our customers only love us (and stick with us) when we're at the top of our game. That's scary, but it also gets the juices flowing. It challenges us in the best ways, and it gives us so much forward momentum - so much that we haven't mastered yet. 

See? That's the growth mindset talking.