Best Practices

7 quick hacks that will up your Pendo game

Published Oct 19, 2020

Our customers never cease to amaze us with the new and innovative use cases, techniques, and tricks they come up with as they deepen their knowledge of Pendo. Here are a few of the best, as presented at this year’s Pendomonium Virtual conference.

1. AppFolio: Scaling guides with templates

Too many cooks in your Pendo kitchen? Time to find a way to scale and automate your guide creation process. That’s what Patrick Kovacich, senior UX designer at property management platform AppFolio, has done with the Pendo guide “toolkit” he built.

First, he identified the most common internal use cases for Pendo’s in-app messaging. Then, he combined the company’s custom CSS with Pendo’s Themes feature to create branded templates for each type of guide, that way internal users can spin them up quickly with little to no training.

The templates were built with the most complex layouts possible, so users know what’s available to them and can remove elements they don’t need as they build their guides. This ensures all guides follow a similar structure and have a uniform look, but can be easily customized on the fly. 

Getting everyone to adopt the process was easy: Kovacich simply blocked internal users’ ability to create guides from scratch. “Consider locking every except admins out, and then if people have new use cases or issues layouts, you can solve that through improving your library of premade layouts,” he said. 

The team also built an onboarding process in Pendo to make it easy for users to learn how to use the layouts.

2. Invoca: Driving action using automation and integrations

Engaging a large customer base with a relatively small customer success team is a challenge for any organization. But automating parts of that process, like onboarding, can go a long way in making it a more manageable task.

At call analytics platform Invoca, Nancy Steele, senior director of customer experience, has used Pendo and a variety of integrations to build an automated engagement campaign spanning from day one to six months post-onboarding. During that time, users are served guides, surveys, and other in-app communications at specific times or based on actions they take in the product. It offers a frictionless way to engage customers outside of traditional support tickets.

For instance, one month after completing the guided onboarding process, Invoca serves users a personalized lightbox guide to connect them with their customer success manager, prompting them to schedule a meeting. The guide is triggered through a Salesforce integration, and user interaction then automatically triggers a Slack message to the CSM (via a Zapier integration) to let them know a meeting has been added to their calendar. Engagement metrics like guide views and button click rates are pushed back to Salesforce, then piped into Google Sheets and Tableau for further analysis.

3. Crunchbase: Learning the right way to collect feedback

Will Hughes and the product team at Crunchbase, a platform for finding information and data about companies, wanted to improve one of the app’s most important features for users working on sales teams: search.

To find out how users felt about the feature they ended up releasing, Advanced Search, and what aspects of the old experience they liked, Hughes used Pendo in-app surveys to collect feedback. But, he quickly realized that there’s a fine art to designing such surveys. Here’s what he learned:

  • Anticipate failure. No survey is perfect, but you can learn from your mistakes.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify: Don’t use confusing or hard-to-read language. It’ll only lead to confusing, useless, or hard-to-analyze data.
  • Make sure you’re careful not to mix up your control and testing groups. Pay careful attention to your segmentation.
  • Time your surveys correctly. Targeting too early or too late can lead to lower quality responses.
  • Personalizing the surveys and making them less obtrusive in the interface boosted response rates by a whopping 644%.
  • Don’t just set it and forget it. Keep tweaking, optimizing, and iterating over your surveys to make sure you’re collecting the most valuable data.

4. Workhuman: Optimizing guides with A/B testing

Julie Sargent, senior product director, and Alan Stephens, product program manager, at HR tech company Workhuman, consider testing an integral part of every process they undertake, from proving out new concepts and developing early product iterations to optimizing functionality based on user feedback. 

Creating Pendo guides is no exception. Sargent and Stephens use A/B testing to help ensure in-app messaging is as impactful and effective as possible in educating users and inspiring them to action. The Store section of the Workhuman platform, where users can spend awards they’ve earned in the app on merchandise, experiences, and gift cards, is a key piece of the user journey. The team wanted to see if in-app guides could help encourage users to re-engage with the Store if they had not visited it in the last month. 

They tested four different guides on their homepage, each linking users directly to the Store. Two relied on text, a third included colorful imagery, and the final guide displayed information about well-known brands available in the store. The test ran for six weeks, and they used segmentation in Pendo to select audiences for each guide plus the control group. All four variations beat the control group, but the one that had the brand imagery on it saw the highest traffic boost at 13%.

5. Elsevier: Bridging the gap between email and in-app 

Lisa Gervais, a user engagement specialist at Elsevier, was looking for a way to encourage users to buck the tools they were using, like Microsoft Word, and adopt their content creation tool, Elsa. They knew Pendo could help drive adoption and retention once users logged into the app, but they were having trouble getting users to take that first step. The solution? Permalinks.

Embedding the permalinks associated with Pendo guides in emails allowed Gervais to bridge the gap. When a user clicked on the link, they were taken into the app and immediately presented with a series of Pendo onboarding guides to help them get started.

6. Copperleaf: Getting buy-in from enterprise stakeholders

Copperleaf Technologies, an enterprise decision analytics platform, operates in a space where customers are highly sensitive to data security. In fact, the company is contractually prohibited from capturing any data from clients’ systems. That made implementing an analytics tool like Pendo and becoming a truly data-driven product team difficult for Product Owner Eva Li and Ian Muirhead, the director of product design.

Li and Muirhead made the case for getting a stronger analytics capability in play by slowly implementing Pendo with some basic data, then finding a developer champion on the product team who was passionate about learning how to use it. That low-cost pilot program allowed them to start producing prototype dashboards to present to stakeholders and showcase the value the tool could provide. They also looped in legal early on to get the ball rolling on resolving any security issues.

The rest was a matter of getting Pendo embedded in the product planning process. They did this by bringing usage data to product planning discussions and using it to back up decisions being made in those sessions. They also started using Pendo in-app surveys to more easily identify and connect with customers for follow-up interviews during research and feedback collection.

7. And one of our own!

Pendo Senior Sales Engineer Emily Dunn has helped hundreds (if not thousands) of product teams learn to use Pendo to ensure successful feature launches. It’s one of the most common use cases she encounters—so much so that she’s developed a game plan for getting it done.

  • First, set up a good infrastructure for tracking feature success. Tag the feature in Pendo so that you can pull data in to create dashboards, and set up tracking for any key events that would indicate adoption. Then set some goals around what successful adoption looks like.
  • Next, make sure everyone on your team has eyes on that data. You can use Pendo’s widgets to build a shared dashboard to make sure the most important information is easily accessible. Pendo’s Data Explorer can be used to build more detailed visualizations.
  • At launch, communicate to users through in-app messaging campaigns using lightbox guides, walkthroughs, and tooltips. If the feature is relevant to only a particular segment of users, you can target those guides more narrowly. If the feature you just built was requested through Pendo Feedback, you can automatically notify users that a feature has gone live there.
  • Use your dashboards to make decisions about how to improve adoption. If you see usage leveling off short of your goal, you can adjust your in-app messaging to boost awareness and drive people toward the feature.