Almost every enterprise tries to build long-lasting relationships with its clients.
As it could be four to 10 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one, business owners have every reason to make their old clients happy. With that said, some internet companies rely on return visits and an active user base more than others.
An e-commerce site that sells products that people replace once a decade can get by without constant communication with its customers. On the other hand, an SAAS company or a social media start-up will fail without regular users.
We use the services of the most successful internet companies several times a day. When we’d like to know more about a topic, we Google it. When we’re bored, we pick up our phone and scroll down our Facebook wall. When in the morning we wonder what’s going on with the world, we launch Twitter or navigate to our favorite news site.
We use these services more than we should – and not because we don’t realize that in many cases it’s a waste of time and we won’t remember anything from the most trending stories of the day five seconds after we’ve read them.
We use these services constantly because up to a certain level, we’re addicted to them. We have to find the answers instantly and we need to be continually connected to what others are doing.
Facebook and Google became what they are now because they were able to convince users to form new habits. In certain situations, some of their features come to our mind and we launch them without thinking.
Nir Eyal spent most of his career in the gaming and advertising industries. He applied, and in some cases rejected, techniques that are used to motivate and manipulate users. He believes that designers can create habit-forming products that will help people live healthier, happier, and more connected lives.
After studying the deeper psychology behind habits and how online services change our behavior, he decided to write a book. He wanted to show the designers how to build such products and help consumers break away from the hooks that don’t serve their life.
In his book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, he describes the habit-forming mechanism of online services in four steps:
– The initial step is the trigger. At first, the trigger is external, we see a post on Facebook, or arrive at a landing page and click on a link that will allow us to use the service.
– It is followed by the action. Starting to use habit-forming products is simple, and they are able to motivate us to perform the action that their designer planned.
– The third step is the reward. The user is rewarded for the action. For example, the user feels a bit of relief after opening Facebook’s app and would like to use it some more.
– The final step is the investment. The user has to invest time and energy into the product, as it increases the chances of returning.
If these steps are repeated frequently enough, the user will form a habit around the product. The triggers will become internal and the user will associate the service with a problem or a certain situation.
Simplify the way!
I’m the founder of a SAAS company and reading about the Hooked model was extremely useful for me. My company, SpringTab, helps business owners find out more about the personal and professional interests of those visitors who use social log-ins on their sites. We also help them in personalizing the experience of their users according to the collected information.
Of course, we are trying to hook our subscribers and convince them to use our service regularly. Consciously or not, we apply many of the steps Nir Eyal described.
We try to make onboarding as simple as possible for newcomers. The hook is our social analytics tool. It can help website owners understand what type of people use their sites, what kind of traits their most loyal customers have, or what could motivate people who choose certain products. It is a rewarding experience.
Once they see the value of our software, it is much easier to convince them to use more complex features and create different versions of their website for the various groups of their users.
I completely agree with Nir Eyal in that online services need to be able to form new habits in order to become truly successful. Now at SpringTab, we are working on automatic notifications for our users that will regularly remind them to visit their dashboard.
So, what do you think? Do you find the Hooked model useful as well? Does your product have features or do you plan to develop ones that can form user habits?