Measuring 'Time to Value' to accelerate customer's first happiness

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A first search to reach a product website. Then create an account, define preferences, explore the product. Try to understand how it works. Try to understand if this can solve your problem, what this product can do for you … Already more than two minutes on the website… Not sure what you can really get… Back to google to do another search.

The use of New technologies develops a strange behavior on the customer’s side. They want a quick answer. As with WhatsApp and Co, as soon as the text is sent, an answer is expected. Or with parcel deliveries, once the order confirmed, the delivery race is a game changer. Today, Time is an element that has a high value, it is better to avoid wasting time on your prospects.

As a customer ourselves, we have the same behavior. We need to quickly understand what this product can bring to us. But as a member of an IT company, do we measure the time needed to answer our customers’ expectations? This is the ‘Time to Value’. A metric that is not often tracked by product teams who prefer many other metrics that matters for the business. But measuring Time to Value helps to stay close to customer’s needs.

Of course, it depends on the business and the type of product. It can take a pretty long time before delivering value, as with large integration projects, a short time as with online banks, or even be immediate as with online analysis products for website Security or SEO. Whatever the case to which the product belongs, there is only one rule to follow: the product must demonstrate immediate/short-time relevant information that makes customers want to know more about other features. This has a huge impact on the sales cycle, both for a sales rep demonstration and for an online subscription. The minimum value of the product must be demonstrated at the beginning. And the same is true for services such as training or conferences, where customers need to see their interests from the beginning.

It is not about delivering all the product’s value in a short period of time. It’s about making sure that the product can solve the customer’s need and make them want to discover more. Then, there are two types of value. From what can be called the first minimum value, the smallest value that can be seen from the customer, to the real value your product brings, the one your customers consider as a necessity for their business. That’s why measuring the Time to Value is a necessity to understand and adapt the sales funnel, to define what first minimum values could be and to focus on them.

Measuring the Time to Value is also an enabler to start thinking in terms of Return on Value for the customer in addition to the more common Return on Investment. The TtV and RoV mentality is a real change that drives IT and Product from the customers perspective. When we talk about ROI, it seems far away, when the project is finished and IT/Product is less in the party. The TtV/RoV mentality helps IT and Product to be fully aware of what is expected and when the product brings (or not) values.

So, finally, the following template can be applied to reduce the Time to Value, and therefore increase the conversion rate:

  • Definition: Well define what the product values are and communicate around them to facilitate customers’ understanding of the product
  • Knowledge: Monitor Time to value to understand customer behavior
  • Try: A/B test, A/B test and A/B test. And consider the results to improve your product first impression. This involves taking the time to define A/B tests, taking the time to analyse the results, and prioritize improvements. This is not the easiest part, prioritizing and delivering the things that really matter as soon as possible, even if this means prioritizing improvements of already nice features.
  • Accelerate: With all this knowledge, consider adding minimum values to your product to accelerate the customer’s first happiness. Focus on the first impression, the 30sec of your customer’s discovery, to give them the curiosity to discover the whole product and hope that will solve their issues.
  • Make it easy: And obviously, facilitate customer’s onboarding by creating an easy-to-use product and providing onboarding tools (tutorial, games) if necessary.

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