PlayerZero sits in between product analytics & engineering monitoring - two disciplines that have traditionally been considered separate and distinct - much to the detriment of software quality. We’ve always felt that product analytics and engineering monitoring are both equally important for the success of a product. But we’ve come to discover that by treating them as two separate problems, product & engineering teams often miss the opportunity to optimize their software quality as a whole in favor of reactionary fixes & patchwork solutions. In the words of our CEO, Animesh, in his blog announcing Flows:
“Analytics lacks actionability, and monitoring lacks relevance.”
While product analytics can alert you to a change in the effectiveness of your onboarding, and engineering monitoring can provide your team with actionable insights on how to solve any number of errors in your application; for nearly all product/engineering teams, they fail to tell a cohesive story about product quality as a whole. Until now…
Enter, PlayerZero Flows… truly actionable analytics
PlayerZero Flows is a major upgrade to the way that product & engineering teams understand errors in their applications. For too long, surfacing issues has been a bidirectional process - technical teams key in on technical errors they recognize as significant by crawling endless logs, while product teams focus on the impact of errors & user experience defects on customers with tools like user replay, heatmaps, and experience tracking. In between them sits product quality - but, with a disjointed approach that optimizes for two different variables, teams are doomed to miss the mark far more than they hit it. Engineers end up with a backlog of unsquashed bugs the size of the Eiffel tower, and product managers end up with no real idea of how the engineering team’s debugging work is actually moving the needle for users. Thus, neither team operates with an awareness of what’s significant to the other, and the user is the one who suffers.
Combining engineering monitoring and product analytics can make debugging more efficient for several reasons:
- Engineering monitoring provides real-time visibility into the performance and behavior of an application or system. It allows engineers to identify and resolve issues as they occur, rather than waiting for customers to report them. Before Flows, PlayerZero’s Views was largely limited to engineers - who are able to configure their Views around high-impact technical issues and stay in the loop anytime a user runs into the specified issue. But now, engineers and product managers can both surface bugs based on what matters most to them in the language that they’re most comfortable speaking.
- Product analytics provides insights into how users interact with an application or product, including how they use features, what they do and do not find valuable, and where they encounter issues. Unfortunately, up until now, this is where the insights ended. Without a concrete framework for connecting the user impact found in product analytics with the telemetry of engineering monitoring, product analytics lacked actionability. But, with Flows serving as a bridge between the technical context and the actual user impact of errors, engineers & product managers alike can now easily understand the root causes of issues and prioritize their efforts accordingly.
- By combining engineering monitoring and product analytics, engineers & product managers gain a more holistic view of their application, its performance, and how it is being used. This can help them identify and fix issues more quickly, effectively eliminating debugging’s game of telephone.
Overall, combining engineering monitoring and product analytics can make debugging more efficient by providing engineers with more information and context about the system and its users, which can help them identify and resolve issues more effectively. With just this one tool, engineering & product teams can cut out all that needless time spent prioritizing and roadmapping bugs based on tenuous signals and spend more time building powerful products. PlayerZero Flows empowers users to create custom flows based on the pathways in their products that matter most to them. This gives them the ability to analyze and optimize their own product usage, identify any issues that may be hindering their users’ progress, and make actionable decisions about how to improve their product experience.
The impact of this feature is significant, as it empowers users to take control of their own product journey and directly address any technical challenges they may be facing without expending additional effort or manpower on QA. By understanding their own funnels and flows, users can increase their efficiency and effectiveness, leading to a more positive overall experience as well as savings for organizations looking to optimize their engineering team’s time. This ultimately leads to increased user satisfaction and loyalty, driving business growth and success.
By giving product and engineering teams the ability to declaratively represent what they care about in their applications, PlayerZero enables you to:
- Get everyone on the same page instantly, without someone having to take on a second job to manage the process. PlayerZero represents the impact of issues in a language that both product and technical team members can understand - which means less meetings and more substantive work for your teams.
- Find what matters without any guesswork. Flows shows you which issues are interrupting users from completing critical pathways in your application in the form of a checklist (instead of a list of random issues like traditional frontend logging and APMs).
- Truly connect your product analytics and engineering monitoring and better align your teams behind the north star of software quality.
Industry Use Cases
Here are just a few of the practical applications of Flows for businesses across a couple different industries:
Every SaaS product & marketing manager is familiar with the sinking feeling that stems from watching potential customers churn due to failed onboarding. Onboarding dropoff is a serious problem, as it essentially stops potential new users dead in their tracks and constitutes the most common cause of new user churn for SaaS businesses. Many companies already use SaaS analytics tools to track this type of dropoff, but again, these platforms only tell half the story.
Onboarding is your first chance to show off what your product can do and make a positive impact on brand new users. Therefore, even minor errors in onboarding decrease the likelihood of a new user experiencing their “aha” moment in your product and adopting it into their tech stack. While you may only want to surface game-breaking errors in other areas of your application, Flows gives you the power to dive in as deep as you want in the areas that matter most – saving your team time and winning you more business.
Let’s take a look at an example report for a SaaS company experiencing user churn due to a failed onboarding:
E-Commerce - Abandoned Cart
The Baymard Institute estimated in their 2022 statistics report that almost 70% of all online shopping carts are abandoned after a user has added a product to their cart. While there are many reasons why users abandon their carts, one of the most common reasons is experience-ruining errors in the add to cart and checkout flow. Before Flows, figuring out why a buyer had not completed checkout was a guessing game for CROs, product managers and engineers. Many other analytics platforms are already built around tracking key flows like checkout, but what they lack is direct actionability – while it’s enlightening to know that you have a 75% dropoff between a user initiating checkout and completing it, there’s no tangible action to be taken based on such a report alone.
Flows is a slam dunk for website conversion rate optimization. Now, you can track a user’s progression through the key checkpoints of your add to cart and checkout flow and let PlayerZero automatically monitor for any significant disruptions. As soon as one pops up, you and your team will be alerted via our Slack Channel integration. From here, you can see who exactly ran into the issue, how many times it occurred, what step of the Flow it occurred in and all of the technical context your engineering team needs to fix it.
For example, let’s look at an example report for a company who’s experiencing user churn due to a broken shopping cart:
Supercharge your product adoption
Wouldn’t the world be a simpler place if you were always a first-mover with no competitors? Unfortunately, this is actually very rarely the case, meaning that most of the time a user adopts a new product, they’re doing so in place of another. There are several reasons why users (regardless of whether they represent businesses, or are end consumers themselves), switch from one software product to another…
The Progress Making Forces diagram from the Re-Wired group (via Intercom)
In general, users are more comfortable sticking with a proven solution that they’re already comfortable with than they are with switching to a new software – this is hardly surprising given the costs (both monetary and time-based) associated with switching over to a new product. Thus, the factors motivating a user to switch products have to be more powerful than those compelling them to stay.
In order to make your product stickier and more efficient at winning business from your competitors, it’s crucial to understand what drives your product’s magnetism. This requires analytics focused on collecting data about user behavior and using that data to identify areas for improvement or opportunities for growth. Every major bug that a user experiences throughout their lifecycle with a competitor and every seamless experience your product provides is another point added to the “reasons to switch” column - all of which over time serve to drive adoption of your product.
On the flipside, understanding all of these same factors in the context of your existing users is equally crucial to preventing your own customer attrition. Customer attrition (or user churn) is the silent killer of software businesses around the world. According to the Harvard Business Review:
“Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
So, how can PlayerZero Flows help you stop customer attrition in its tracks? By surfacing the factors that lead to user churn before a user has abandoned your product.
For example, if a Flow shows that several users are not completing key actions or are dropping off at certain points along a specified product pathway, the product team can use this information to identify and address any issues that may be causing user frustration or confusion and have customer success follow up with those who experienced the error. The difference maker between Flows and anything that came before it is that now, the insights that teams can derive from such analyses are directly actionable - with all of the technical context for what’s causing an error at their fingertips - ready to be shared with engineering.
By empowering you to specify the user path that you’d like PlayerZero to monitor, we’ve massively simplified the process of surfacing only the errors your team cares about. Instead of crawling through hundreds or thousands of error logs in a traditional frontend logging platform, you’ll be notified when an issue prevents users from being able to complete the specified flow. Upon clicking into a Flow, you’ll also be able to see any other users who have run into the error, and any significant incremental steps along the way depending on the level of granularity your team is interested in. This is what truly actionable product analytics looks like:
The number of potential applications for Flows is as wide and varied as the number of paths along which a business hopes to optimize their performance, prevent dropoff, and guarantee customer loyalty within their application. Any business that relies on a web application is sure to have at least a couple critical pathways in their product that directly correlate with user outcomes - we cut through the noise and give you the ability to track them with 100% confidence. Get ready for a whole new analytics experience…
Learn more about how to implement PlayerZero Flows with our docs and experience what truly actionable analytics can do for your business today!