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6 important tips to adapt your digital product to new realities

CoronaCrisis is gaining momentum worldwide. As of April 16, more than 2,1m people with coronavirus have been detected in the world, and the rate of its spread keeps growing.On the other hand, economic problems appear to be more and more serious. Jamie Dimon, the chief of JPMorgan, in his annual letter to investors warned of a significant economic downturn. Damon wrote: “We do not know exactly what is going to happen in the future, but at least we believe that there will be a severe recession, combined with some financial turmoil, similar to the 2008 global financial crisis.” He added that JPMorgan would not be able to escape the consequences of these difficulties. Obviously, the world is on the verge of another major crisis.

These trends and growing uncertainty make us think and act at a quick pace. Which actions will have the greatest effect? What should be done in the first place? Simply cutting costs is not a strategy…

However, this can only be a small part of a big plan to survive the crisis and accumulate resources for rapid growth as the economy recovers. Right actions at the outset of a crisis give a business a much better chance to survive in difficult times, retaining the maximum of its assets. In private conversations, many executives who managed to survive the 2008 financial crisis say they regret not taking action immediately upon the first symptoms of the coming storm. For many businesses, it seemed that it will be the short-term difficulties and they would be able to survive these times with little loss.Though, reality had different plans.

Ernest Hemingway described bankruptcy as an experience that happens “in two ways: gradually and then suddenly.” The task of the manager is to make the right decision staying between these two ways. In order to escape the second part of Hemingway’s sentence, we suggest that you use the full potential of your leadership and make the difficult decisions to preserve what you and your team have been building for so long.

Here you can find 6 important tips for how to adapt your digital product to new realities. 

  1. Update the customer journey map of your product or business. In a rapidly-changing environment, the users’ previous experience may easily become irrelevant, and instead, a greater need for other parts of your product or its additional functionality may arise.  Over the last three weeks, the world has turned upside down. It is a mistake to think that the same is not happening to your users. Now, they are probably looking for something in your product and your brand in general that can help them to adapt to today’s realities.  To quickly turn the situation in your favor, you can carry 5-10 new user interviews to gather new insights, get information about your users’ current pain, their new expectations for your product, and then, on the basis of gathered information, create relevant value. The main thing is to act promptly

  2. Take a closer look at your product analytics over the last few weeks and discover new growth points. When analyzing the analytics of a mobile application of one of our clients, we discovered the massive transition of users from the functionality for purchasing financial services and electronic transport tickets to the functionality for online payments, payments by scanning QR code on websites and card to card transfers. Try to understand how these growth points can survive and continue to grow. If this is the case, make the new functionality, that is important to your audience, easier or more accessible. For one of our clients, a large chain of gas stations (one of the few entities that continue to operate under quarantine), we have urgently developed the functionality for advance purchases of coffee, hot-dogs, and other takeaway products to minimize contact with other people.

  3. Ensure the continuity of operation and stability of your product, regardless of the situation around. Your users expect a high level of service from you, even (I would say especially) in times of economic instability. From the user’s perspective, the value of money spent is much higher in times of crisis and economic downturn. Practice shows that now buyers of goods or services are much more sensitive during the purchase process than usual. Our advice here is to start building off-site options for your business.  Alternatively, software and design outsourcing can be a great start. During an economic downturn, an off-site team can help you save up to 40% of your budget on product support and development without losing quality, but often with its increasing. This is especially relevant in the context of a total home office, where, in fact, the former in-house capacity is no longer different from the outsource team.

  4. Try to keep as much of your business as possible, don’t focus on winning new segments or aggressively promoting new functionality. In the face of information overload with news on pandemic and economic downturn, your press release on new functionality may go unnoticed or ignored. In the coming weeks marketing campaigns that are not related to healthcare will have little effectiveness as for the majority of the population, the # 1 focus, for now, is to stay healthy. We suggest reviewing your release plan for the next few months and focus on the implementation of the preceding items, moving ahead with non-volume releases. For this, we recommend using the KANO framework to give your users only the most valuable functionality.

  5. Give your users the opportunity to continue using your service (those who unsubscribe because of financial problems). Launch a temporary compensation program, discount program, or freemium model to support your user at difficult times. Believe  – the user will reward you. Your main prerogative in times of crisis is to try not to take away people’s usual comfort or level of service, if possible. After overcoming financial difficulties, your efforts will be quickly monetized by a large audience. 

  6. Tell your customers more about positive news. Let them in on your plans, tell them what your service will look like soon and what is going to be different.  We all expect support in the situation developing around us. We expect it from family members and favorite brands. Now is the high time to show your appreciation for using the service and to write a couple of wonderful words of gratitude.  Believe me, your client will remember this for a long time. 
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