Nailing the ‘Wow’ Moment in Enterprise Products

Renuka Savant | 6 min read

Imagine you’ve gone to dine at an upscale Parisian restaurant. The vibe inside is awash with enough French disdain to intimidate the best of us. You’re seated and then handed a menu in chaste French. Enter, the charming serveur. He treats you with genuine courtesy, he overlooks your horrific pronunciation of “bouillabaisse”, and gently proffers the right version. He’s effortlessly discreet with serving without once interrupting the flow of conversation on the table.

Now, think of the restaurant as the enterprise software with you as its user, which makes le serveur the ‘wow’ factor or ‘aha’ moment in the experience.

Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown, authors of the book ‘Hacking Growth’, describe the Aha! moment as “the moment that the utility of the product really clicks for the users; when the users really get the core value – what the product is for, why they need it, and what benefit they derive from using it. Or in other words, why that product is a “must-have”.

Decoding the ‘aha’ phenomenon

When we have our first positive experience – that first bite of a decadent chocolate cake, or a seamless boarding process on an airline – it amazes us, makes us feel special. We make use of our brain to perceive, process, memorize, and react to the inputs we receive. The experiences we undergo are filtered by our senses for our brain to then classify. Thus, anything we experience – be it positive, negative, or neutral – becomes a point of reference to guide our future experiences.

In the enterprise context, the ‘aha’ factor could well be a well-organized and highly functional process/delivery framework that differentiates them from their competitors. So, let’s say you call the customer service line of your internet provider seeking clarification for a bill. Lo and behold! You get on the line with a service agent immediately, he patiently clarifies your billing queries in minutes.

Delighted with the experience, you are pleased to have chosen this company as your service provider. Now the next time you’re in a situation that calls for reaching out to the helpline, you have an experience to compare it to, which acts as a template for all future interactions.

It’s not long before these experiences become the ‘new normal’ which dulls your sense of awe over time until you fail to even notice it anymore. experience fewer positive events as you get used to all the new elements construing your doctor’s visit. So, after a while, you just don’t notice them anymore. As humans, we naturally keep elevating our standards and therefore, we have to keep getting more to feel ‘wowed’ again.

Going from ‘meh’ to ‘wow’ in enterprise software

How often have your true-to-function, user-tested design reviews gone south because of those few stakeholders who wanted to be wowed? As frustrating as that might be, there is a way out of this. Enterprise applications are known for their mission-focused, no-frills appearance, but have ample scope for wow elements as well.

Map user journeys

As far as appearances go, the aha factor may come from static and dynamic features such as toggles, color play, dropdowns, etc. But the goal is always to make the users’ life easier – which is why functional ahas are a priority. Functional ahas can be identified through user journey mapping. User journeys are key to understanding what motivates your users. They help decode their needs, frustrations, and concerns. From the business standpoint, customer journey maps provide the opportunity to see how their brand first engages a potential customer and then moves through the touchpoints of the entire sales process. The best way to wow the user is to meaningfully resolve pain points along his journey.

Harness the power of language

Fancy interactions are not the only route to designing aha moments. In fact, ambiguous messages and text create more frustration than you can imagine. UX writing is and has been a focus skill for a few years now, and with good reason.

It is vital to have a unifying voice to your software that functions as a North Star to users. Clear, easy-to-understand instructions and messages are users’ best friends. Empathetic and helpful communication is what has brought products such as MailChimp and Slack into the spotlight on the popularity scale.

Humans before users

Enterprise user needs have historically been overlooked and haven’t gotten their due. So, if you’re looking to wow them, think of them as humans before you categorize them as users. Accept their emotions – their frustrations, fear, anger, or even delight. Hold their commitment and loyalty in high regard. Be forgiving of their shortcomings and help them find a way around them – all through what you design for them. User research data is a treasure trove of knowledge when it comes to knowing your users – put it to good use in discovering what would delight them.

It isn’t an ‘aha’ until it’s tested

User delight is a sublimely relative concept that’s hard to capture. One man’s meat can be another’s poison, so testing is the only viable way to determine what truly wows the users.

As tempting as it is to bombard users with all your shiny new additions, test them with restraint, ease them into it. You can make use of non-intrusive usage tips or hotspots to guide users through some of the most important actions so as to not overwhelm them.

Identifying the wow factor calls for a lot of soul searching from the business’ side. It involves focusing on building and enhancing certain aspects of their workflows that not only evoke positivity at first glance but retain it over time. To achieve this, the business has to first envision the kind of experience they aspire to deliver. Without this, it can fall prey to pursuing wow factors that are merely ornamental in nature and be trapped in curating short-lived delights that hold no value.

How would you go about nailing the ‘wow’ factor for enterprise users? Do share your insights via the comment section below. We also look forward to your feedback and questions.

User delight is a sublimely relative concept that’s hard to capture. One man’s meat can be another’s poison, so testing is the only viable way to determine what truly wows the users.

About Author:

Sr. Content Writer at Koru UX Design, Renuka loves to write, discuss, research, and read up on the latest in user experience design. When she’s not doing that, she spends her days watching crime thrillers and sports.

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