Don’t you think there’s been a shift in business norms, especially in the last few decades?
Let alone the other areas, the digital product space has experienced it a lot.
Free trials and freemiums are prevalent compared to direct purchase. It’s ‘experience to buy’ rather than ‘buy to experience’.
That’s not all.
The payment model has also changed. The subscription model has more prevalent than one-time pay. And this has brought ease to the service-shifting process. Adding fuel to this fire — every product has 4-5 alternatives.
The chances of using a bad service just because the money is spent is not a case anymore. Customers have all means and ways to leave or unsubscribe from your service. And they have options readily available.
Coming to the business person’s perspective, how do you tackle all these risks?
- Create value
- Make the users experience value faster.
We’ll be discussing the latter in this blog — Time to Value and how to reduce it. Let’s not make your curiosity wait.
What is Time to Value (TTV)?
Modern days businesses are evolving.
You cannot be happy for some events that were earlier considered achievements. For example: Customer acquisition.
Now, it’s pointless to be like “Yay! We have new customers” and let out a sigh of relief. Business’s work is not over yet. It actually begins here. Your next trail of thought should be,
‘What makes them stay?’
They stay when they find the product valuable. What’s more crucial is how fast they find that value.
Here’s the Time to Value (TTV) definition,
It is the time customers take to realize value from your product. TTV is calculated right from the moment your interaction with potential customers begins.
Now that we have defined ‘time’, we need to unfurl the term ‘value’. What does value mean here?
Value is the benefits customers perceive to receive from the product. What you, as a business, think as a value might differ from what a customer thinks. But, it would be great if both are the same.
That is what you should aim for with your value proposition. Think of ‘value’ as getting inside the mind of your customer. If both cuts across, the rest of the process is easier.
Why is TTV important?
thyself your users’
Socrates would have told this if he were in the product business. So, how much do you know about users of today?
The term ‘users’ encompasses not just their problem but also everything that influences their behavior.
Here’s the fact: customers, now, are less patient. They are always in some kind of rush.
They don’t have time to wait for anything — be it a loading page or product value. Making your value obvious and easier to realize is how you don’t lose them.
Now, let’s flip to the other side of the coin.
It’s not just that your users are always impatient. Sometimes it’s their situation as well. As a product owner, you must know the various circumstances under which they approach your product.
If urgency is one of the cases here, your product must provide an instant solution and resulting value. Hence, Time to Value is an important factor here.
In your endeavor of making your users satisfied, the first step is showing the value. Here’s a tip — Make it quicker. That’s how you can take them to their destination faster.
A business with satisfied customers is as happy as a clam. It’s like gaining a fortune. Why wouldn’t it be when satisfied customers,
- Share their happy experience (Absolutely free marketing)
- Ask their friends and acquaintances to try your product out (Again, free acquisition)
- Are more than ready to buy your other offerings (Least efforts for upselling)
So, if they don’t see the value, why would they stay? They’ll obviously leave with dissatisfaction. TTV is the bridge that gets them to the satisfaction part.
Types of TTV
Time to Basic Value
This is the time taken by the users to the most basic value from the users. The basic value is the first level of value your services can offer. This is the value that lets your customer make them feel like their choice is right.
There’s a long way to go and this is just the beginning of realizations.
Time to Exceeded Value
Call it ‘expect the unexpected’.
When users opt for your product, they have a set of expectations. At a point in time, they’ll realize the value that exceeds their presumed expectations. And this metric measures the time taken to have this realization.
This convinces them to stay longer, increasing their lifetime value.
Long Time to Value
Some products might have a long onboarding cycle. It takes quite some time to get set the things up to use the product. There’s also the case of users who take it slow with a product.
Let’s take the example of enterprise software. The product needs to get used by all the employees to get the value out of it. This metric is suitable for such products.
In these cases, it’s important to make sure that you keep reminding the users of what value is ahead.
Short Time to Value
While Time To Value is crucial for every sort of product, it is more important for some kinds.
These products are in a hurry to reveal their value in the shortest time. This is probably because users choose a service that’s quicker to expose its value. And the competition is heavy as well.
Short time to value is the metric they need to be using!
Immediate Time to Value
There’s another level after short TTV — Immediate Time to Value.
Let’s take a case where a person wants to convert a pdf file to word format. He looks for a website that instantly converts it. That’s an immediate display of value.
This metric is for such products whose nature of the solution to a problem or need is instant.
These products are like, “What Flash? You got me!”
Ways to reduce TTV
A good start is half work done.
You cannot just simply term onboarding as a product tour. But you cannot also deny it’s a part of onboarding. You must show them the features that they can realize the value from.
Tailor your onboarding such that the users get to know important features first. The least important ones can wait for the later part of onboarding. Or users can explore it themselves.
Optimize your onboarding for easy value discovery. Your flow must be designed to enable it. Onboarding is the first thing post-sign up, and it’s your first step to reduce Time To Value.
Anything less than great will not do good for your users, their time to value, and hence the business.
Optimal yet fully functional features
A cake and your product are similar in a few ways. An extravagantly decorated cake is a waste if it’s half-baked inside.
Now think of the product that’s stuffed with so many features. It can make the user buy your product. But if the features don’t perform the work they are supposed to, they’ll obviously leave the product.
People might just be exploring one feature and then the other gets their eye. “Oh, let’s see what’s in there!”
Other cases are where they couldn’t concentrate due to cognitive overload. Too many features are a distraction.
And it’s an obvious hindrance to users discovering the value.
A simple cake that tastes good is better than a half-baked cake, irrespective of the decorations. The same goes for your product. You can have optimum features that deliver instead of too many incomplete ones.
Reduce the TTV by keeping it minimal yet functional! But remember, it’s all product-specific and depends on what your users are looking for.
Here’s a comparison of how your product looks with overloaded features and with minimal, clean UI.
Intuitive user experience
Users sign up looking for a solution. They didn’t sign up to figure out how to get to the solution.
Complex designs are difficult for users to handle. It makes them spend time figuring out the product features and their working. They don’t have the time or patience for that.
If they keep spending time trying to unravel the UI, how would they perform the task and attain the value?
It is the responsibility of design to not let it happen. Intuitive UX does the work. Such UX guides users directly to where they can gain value. It can reduce the Time to Value substantially.
“Intuitive design is how we give the users new superpowers” —Jared Spool
How do you get feedback without asking the users?
Tracking the user behavior inside the product can give you insights. If you aren’t making use of this, you are probably not winning the game. Analytical data can give details like
- What causes friction in product usage?
- What are the problematic areas of your product?
- What keeps them engaged?
You begin with interpreting answers to these questions. Subsequently, you will find out what causes delayed Time To Value. And you know what to do then — fix it.
You can make use of tools like Amplitude and Mixpanel. Heat maps can also be helpful.
Now, what if the data shows obvious issues? You need to take action.
Data can give insights into what the problem is. You can build solutions based on it. But you need a real user to know what they want. You will find the issue only when they express it.
That’s where A/B testing will be of help.
Conduct A/B testing with users to know their preference of the solution. This solution would take them faster to the value they are looking for.
Groove did A/B testing on their landing page design and copy. They implemented the changes and the conversions increased from 2.3% to 4.3%.
There’s more you can do to improve your product experience and reduce TTV.
Added to onboarding, you can make the product guides accessible anytime. Also, providing support numbers in case of any serious issues is advisable.
You can also assign a customer success manager to ensure that your customers see the value, as soon as possible.
With all that said, you must know now that Time To Value is an important metric. The level of importance depends on the product. If your business type and market demand it, TTV should be among the other top KPIs.
Even if that is not the case, TTV is crucial for most of the product business. Now, take your KPI list. If Time To Value is missing there, you know what to do.