To expand using a bottom-up model, SaaS businesses need to create a more delightful experience for every user. These experiences don’t just happen when customers unlock your product’s value without jumping through several hoops. The opportunity to delight goes beyond the product level and occurs with every encounter on social media, marketing channels, and with company executives. 

Few SaaS brands have been able to hone in on this the way Scratchpad and OpenPhone have. Co-founder and CEO of Scratchpad, Pouyan Salehi, and OpenPhone’s Co-founder, Daryna Kulya, share how they consistently engineer delightful experiences for their customers. 

Prioritize user experience as a growth strategy

Today, most SaaS companies depend on growth hacking and funnel optimization to unlock growth. These methods are hit or miss—they’ll produce short-term wins but can’t be replicated on higher levels. 

A more sustainable method is word-of-mouth marketing. For word-of-mouth marketing to be an effective strategy, your users must be motivated to take the initiative, which is why user delight is essential. 

The hospitality industry makes for a good case study on how this works. These service businesses go all out to impress customers with little details like an extra drink or a warm welcome. They understand that every impression counts and can create returning or pissed-off one-time customers. 

“Your competitors can copy your product features, but they cannot copy a delightful experience. Delight is harder to replicate.” –  Daryna Kulya

SaaS companies can borrow a leaf from hospitality businesses and prioritize every customer experience for their business growth. To do this, adopt the formula for designing delight, which is actual experience minus user expectation. This means if you’re trying to get users to do something, you work towards the goal but in a way that is different from what users are used to. 

A framework for creating delight

A design-centric approach is possible using the following step:

  • Understand the current state of your users. Meet your users where they are. Understand where they are coming from. Research their past experiences and the normal industry standards, then look for a way to improve. 


  • Find moments of delight that are meaningful to your users and impactful to your brand. There has to be an intersection point between delightful moments for the users and the business. The sweet spot where those two meet is what you should focus on and work with. 


  • Design and architect the experience, then create it. The delightful experience should connect to a vital part of the business model. Own the narrative around what users experience so you can keep replicating it, which will yield compound benefits for your business. 

Lay the foundation of delight everywhere

The foundation of a delightful user experience should trickle down to every department in the company. When the leaders embody attributes that create delightful moments, every other part of the business will catch on. 

Ideally, when SaaS companies request feedback, the responder provides the feedback and accompanies their response with basic information about themselves. Then they exit with a generic message from the company—something like “thanks for your feedback.”

Scratchpad switched things up by embedding another kind of feedback form at different points of users’ interaction with the product. Instead of questions, it’s a blank page (called a wish page) with a simple prompt:

What do you wish this page would do? Or, What do you wish this application would do?

With it, users get to share unrestrained feedback or requests they have for the company. It could be improvements to a landing page, added product features, remarks about customer experience, and more. 

In the early days, Scratchpad ensured every feedback they received from a customer got a fast response—not an automated message, but a response from an actual human on the Scratchpad team. 

In a rare case, a customer requested pizza and cookies on the wish page. His request was granted, which left a solid impression on him about the company. Notice how this customer experience goes beyond the product. The attention to detail and surprise factor in every interaction creates a long-lasting effect on users. 

“We wanted to create a company, not just a product, that creates delightful experiences.” – Pouyan Salehi

OpenPhone does this with the reminders they send customers to cancel their free trial with the product. These notifications gain them warm replies from users and even social shares. However, this has decreased conversions but, in the long run, earned them goodwill amongst their audience, paying off for the brand long-term. 

Key takeaways

  • User delight helps you build for long-term growth, as against chasing after trends.
  • The secret to getting it right is by upgrading user expectations in a unique way that benefits them and your business.
  • The user delight strategy should not end with your product; it should be embedded in your company’s operations and interactions.


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