Using User Research to Design for Retention in Your SaaS Product


In SaaS, proactive approaches to user retention are necessary to promote sustained user growth. Even with excellent products, there may be customer attrition if rivals offer more aggressive sales tactics and lower prices. Customers may become disengaged if competition research and continuous product improvement are neglected. Thus, it becomes imperative to revisit the User Research more frequently than you may have previously considered.

Understanding User Needs and Behaviors in SaaS Products

User research is the foundation of SaaS product design, producing experiences that resonate profoundly with users and keep them engaged. By delving into the complexities of consumer wants, motivations, and pain areas, it reveals important insights critical for designing a user experience that not only captivates but also keeps users over time.

This approach entails a thorough evaluation of user behaviours, preferences, and issues faced while interacting with the product. They reveal not just what users want, but also why they want it and the barriers to their pleasure.

Discuss different user research methods for SaaS products:

  • User interviews

Direct conversations with users provide an invaluable opportunity to delve deeply into their preferences, challenges, and expectations regarding the product. Through open-ended questions and probing discussions, designers can gain qualitative insights that go beyond surface-level feedback. Understanding users’ motivations and pain points enables designers to empathize with their needs and tailor the product experience accordingly. Additionally, fostering direct conversations fosters a sense of collaboration and partnership between designers and users, leading to a more user-centric and refined design research process.

  • User surveys

Surveys serve as a powerful tool for gathering quantitative data on user preferences and behaviors. By reaching a larger audience, surveys provide a broader understanding of user sentiment, trends, and patterns. Questions can be designed to capture demographic information, satisfaction levels, feature preferences, and likelihood of continued use. Analyzing survey responses helps identify overarching themes and prioritize areas for improvement based on user feedback.

  • Usability testing

Usability testing involves observing users as they interact with the product in real-time. This method uncovers usability issues and points of friction that hinder retention. By watching users navigate through tasks, designers can identify areas where the interface is unclear, features are difficult to use, or workflows are inefficient. Usability testing also allows designers to gather qualitative feedback on user experiences, preferences, and pain points, informing iterative improvements to the product design.

  • Session recordings

Analyzing user sessions provides firsthand insight into how users navigate the product. By recording user interactions with the interface, designers can observe patterns, behaviors, and pain points that may not be apparent through other methods. Session recordings offer a comprehensive view of user journeys, highlighting areas where users encounter difficulties or become disengaged. By identifying bottlenecks and areas for improvement, designers can optimize the user experience to enhance retention.

  • Customer support analysis

Mining customer support interactions offers valuable insights into common pain points and areas where users seek assistance. By analyzing support tickets, chats, and emails, designers can identify recurring issues, user frustrations, and gaps in the product experience. Understanding the root causes of user inquiries helps prioritize feature enhancements and usability improvements that address user needs effectively. Additionally, proactive support initiatives can be implemented to anticipate user concerns and provide preemptive solutions, further enhancing the overall product experience.

Designing Retention-Focused Features

With this information, designers may adapt the product experience to meet and surpass users’ individual wants and expectations. Whether it’s streamlining workflows, simplifying complex features, or providing novel solutions to frequent pain spots, user research leads the development of features that strike a deep chord with users, encouraging a strong sense of attachment and loyalty.

Furthermore, user research is a continuous process that evolves with user preferences and market trends. Continuous feedback loops guarantee that the product remains relevant and responsive to changing customer needs, which improves retention rates and drives long-term success for SaaS companies.

Measuring the Impact of User Research on SaaS Retention

Tracking the effectiveness of retention-focused design changes is crucial for refining strategies and ensuring sustained growth. Key metrics provide insights into the impact of user research on retention.

User EngagementMetrics such as active users, session duration, and feature adoption indicate user interaction and engagement levels.Implement event tracking tools to monitor user actions in real-time. Analyze usage patterns and identify areas for improvement based on user behavior.
Time Spent on the PlatformMonitoring the time users spend on the platform helps gauge its value proposition and stickiness.Integrate analytics software to track user session durations. Compare trends over time and correlate with feature updates or changes in user experience.
Customer Satisfaction ScoresRegularly measuring customer satisfaction through surveys or feedback mechanisms gauges user sentiment and loyalty.Conduct regular surveys or Net Promoter Score (NPS) assessments. Implement feedback mechanisms within the product interface for users to provide input easily. Analyze responses to identify areas for improvement.
Churn Rate (Cancellation Rate)Tracking the churn rate reveals the percentage of users who discontinue their subscription, highlighting areas for improvement in retention strategies.Utilize customer relationship management (CRM) software to track user churn. Implement exit surveys or feedback forms for departing users to gather insights into reasons for cancellation. Analyze churn trends and adjust retention strategies accordingly.

Case Studies: User Research Driving SaaS Success


Keka, a prominent B2B SaaS company in India, succeeded in the competitive HR software market by prioritizing user experience (UX) research. Founded in 2015 by Vijay Yalamanchili, Keka’s customizable HR management software streamlines tasks like payroll processing and leave management while emphasizing user-friendliness. Their approach involved in-depth user interviews, usability testing, and feedback analysis to understand user needs and pain points. This user-centric focus led to the development of intuitive software that differentiates Keka from competitors. The software’s reporting and analytics tools, informed by UX research, provide valuable insights into HR operations. Through relentless dedication to excellence and innovation, Keka continues to thrive in the evolving HR technology landscape, enhancing employee engagement and simplifying HR processes for businesses.


Postman, a renowned B2B SaaS startup in India, focuses on offering a platform for API development and collaboration, making it an excellent alternative for organisations. Postman was founded with the goal of streamlining the API development process. It provides a highly customisable and user-friendly software solution. Their platform provides enterprises with tools to design, create, test, and document APIs more quickly. Postman facilitates productive collaboration between developers and businesses of all sizes by emphasising usability and customisation. By doing extensive user research, including usability testing and feedback analysis, Postman guarantees that its platform fulfils its users’ different demands and preferences. Postman’s commitment to user experience has solidified its position as a leader in the B2B SaaS industry, enabling organisations to innovate and flourish.


In this context, the expertise of SaaS UI design and SaaS UX design becomes paramount. Collaborating with a specialized UI UX design agency like Onething Design can further amplify the effectiveness of user research efforts. Their proficiency in translating user insights into intuitive and visually appealing interfaces ensures that the product not only meets functional requirements but also delights users at every interaction point.

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