731 Slack Users Reveal Why It’s So Addictive
I had this idea of “open research” where a group of volunteers and I would coordinate doing research on a company and publicly share everything we learn including the results and process we used. This is the first article about the research…
With the first open research project we’re analyzing a survey that received over 700 responses from people who use Slack. It’s a great sample company for open research because of its current popularity and the hyper-growth the company is experiencing. After all, Slack is already being used by over 750,000 people each day.
As with many things these days it all started on social media. I sent out a tweet requesting people to contact me if they want to help do research about SaaS companies.
I’m looking for people to help do a ton of research about SaaS. DM or email me if your dreams include SaaS. My twitter username at gmail.
— Hiten Shah (@hnshah) April 18, 2015
If a few people wanted to help, we would start doing the research. It turns out a lot of folks wanted to help. I received 42 emails and direct messages. We created a Slack channel where a handful of us would coordinate the efforts. The channel members are Chris, Joe, Kenny, Michael, Ruben and me. Chris Rodriguez helped by sending out the survey to his email list.
Kenny Goldman volunteered to read and organize all the survey responses to help come up with the learnings outlined in this article. The rest of the folks in the Slack channel helped by reviewing the survey before we sent it out and reading drafts of this write-up. Many others shared the survey with their teams and on social media. Even more people took the survey. Thank you all!
The product/market fit survey
It’s common knowledge that you can’t grow a business without reaching product/market fit first.
One of the most comprehensive qualitative analysis you can do on product/market fit is Sean Ellis’ product/market fit survey. Each of the questions in the survey were specifically created by Sean Ellis to understand what people think about a company.
Companies have sent thousands of these surveys to their customers using survey.io and other survey tools. It’s the most valuable survey you can send customers to understand their relationship with your product. You can even send this survey to customers of other companies.
When we were starting KISSmetrics we got over a thousand responses to a survey about Google Analytics. It helped us discover how people really felt about Google Analytics. After analyzing the survey, we found a few big opportunities in the analytics market.
For the Slack product/market fit survey, we used Typeform because of how great the experience is for people filling out the survey. We received 731 responses for the survey. Each of them took about 7 minutes to complete it. Here’s a screenshot of the detailed stats from Typeform:
Slack has product/market fit!
The key question in the product/market fit survey is the one that asks “How would you feel if you could no longer use Slack?”. The choices are “Very disappointed”, “Somewhat disappointed” or “Not disappointed (It really isn’t that useful)”.
With all the world of mouth around Slack, it’s no surprise that it has product/market fit. In fact, 51% of people chose that they would be “very disappointed” if Slack no longer existed. According to Sean Ellis if at least 40% of survey respondents make this choice, there’s product/market fit.
Every other question in the survey gets segmented by the choice people made in this key question. The segmentation enables an analysis of the difference between people who consider Slack a must-have (VD – very disappointed respondents), people who see value but aren’t there yet (SD – somewhat disappointed respondents) and people who don’t find the product that useful (ND – not disappointed respondents).
By analyzing the survey against these choices, we are able to figure out the differences between the people who consider the product a must-have (VD respondents) versus the others (SD and ND respondents). This can help businesses get a deeper understanding of their must-have users and what makes these people love the product. This information is then used to take action within their product, marketing and sales initiatives so they get more customers that love their product.
Learnings from Slack’s users
The quantitative data
All of the respondents
- All of the groups identified “video conferencing” as a must-have addition to Slack.
- Price was not a significant reason for improvement among any of the groups of respondents.
- The median number of Slack teams people were part of is 2 while the average is 2.77.
- The word “like” appeared 60 times.
- The word “best” appeared 28 times.
- The word “love” appeared 25 times.
The must-have users
Must-have users view Slack as their primary source of internal company communication.
These most passionate users have coupled their communication initiatives with collaboration initiatives inside of Slack which is what has made it a sticky product for them. Not only do they no longer receive emails amongst colleagues, but company notifications and integrations are all inside of Slack creating a more cohesive internal communication strategy. For these people Slack not only allows for easier group conversations, but also saves time vs. company wide email threads.
- Out of the 340 people who consider Slack a must-have, 139 of them used the word “team”.
- Must-have users receive less email because everyone in their respective companies use Slack to communicate. They are also more likely to check Slack than their email inbox for a message.
- Contrary to popular belief many respondents associated Slack with an increase in productivity for their daily work lives due to its collaborative nature.
- The mobile experience is a large factor in their positivity towards Slack.
- The must-have users were able to describe Slack using specific examples.
- Almost 50% of must-have users described Slack by simply mentioning that it was better than the previous platform(s) they had used.
- Must-have users believed it would benefit any organization despite being remote or not.
- They believe anyone within any company can benefit from the use of Slack.
- Almost all must-have users identified at least one integration as their favorite.
- Github was their favorite integration with Giphy being a close second, followed by Google.
- Must-have users expressed better integrations as a needed improvement.
Slack has a very passionate must-have user base who love it because everyone in their companies use it.
The less passionate users
Less passionate Slack users describe it as not having enough company adoption.
These less passionate folks identified Slack solely for its communication features and thus compared it to other platforms like Skype, Google Chat/Hangouts and Facebook Messenger. They were unable to pinpoint any specific way to differentiate Slack from other communication platforms. They aren’t leveraging integrations or using Slack with other tools.
- A large percentage of these respondents viewed Slack as best for remote teams.
- They believe that mostly or only technical people should use Slack.
- More than 50% these other users did not have a favorite or specific integration they liked.
- They expressed better communication features as a needed improvement. This included threaded conversations and improved search functionality.
- They also believed that they could be taught to better use and understand Slack, indicating that they may not fully understand its benefits or use cases.
People for whom Slack isn’t a must-have product don’t have company-wide adoption and even if they do, they aren’t using integrations to help cut email collaboration. Despite their current opinion of Slack, they really want to learn more about how to use it to their benefit.
Open-ended responses are a key part to the product/market fit survey because they represent the thoughts of the people who actually use the product. You can use the words and phrases in these responses to improve your marketing copy and increase conversions. The learnings can help shape a company’s business strategy and product development.
Word clouds are a useful way to visualize open-ended survey responses and understand them at a glance. These word clouds represent all the responses, without any segmentation. The word clouds are courtesy of Jason Davies’ awesome free word cloud generator.
Why people chose their answer to “How would you feel if you could no longer use Slack?”
Quotes from the responses…
- Relied on for daily work. All other alternatives are vastly inferior, especially as it relates to third-party integrations – I’ve tried them all.
- We do not use email internally. By using Slack we have transparency throughout the organization and everyone (who chooses) can see where anything is at any time. No bottlenecks. No silos.
- Slack is the first thing I check in the morning and before going to bed (yes I need more in my life). It’s fundamentally changed how we communicate as a team and as a company. When I get emails now from people I feel annoyed that it wasn’t communicated over Slack instead.
What is the primary benefit that you have received from Slack?
Quotes from the responses…
- Escape from email!
- Ubiquitous interconnectivity of everyone in the company.
- Mobile to desktop team chat with nicely integrated bots.
What type of person do you think would benefit most from Slack?
Quotes from the responses…
- Any teams but the most clear benefit are to teams that utilize multiple SaaS products and understand the idea of an API.
- Really anyone that works on projects (in any vertical) where team communication is important.
- Anyone who needs to communicate or share with a set group of individuals regardless of their location.
What’s your favorite Slack integration?
Top favorite Slack integrations…
How could Slack be improved to better meet your needs?
Quotes from the responses…
- Not sure, honestly. Seems pretty incredible the way it is.
- Better literature on how to avoid email and use Slack instead.
- Product is great; it’s the idiots I work with who are the problem.
The Slack product/market fit survey received 731 responses because of a bunch of tweets, personal emails and an email blast. The responses revealed who loves Slack, who doesn’t yet and why. Slack has product/market fit and the next steps involve optimizing the funnel so they can drastically increase the number of must-have users. To show the business benefits of the product/market fit survey, here are a few recommendations on what Slack can do based on the survey data:
Relevant learnings from must-have users
- Using Slack resulted in increased productivity for them.
- Search was not commonly mentioned as a benefit.
- The key outcome of using Slack is a reduction in email volume.
- Most must-have users mentioned integrations as a key benefit and they requested better ones.
- The top requested improvement is video conferencing.
- Almost 50% of must-have users simply described Slack as better than what they previously used.
A/B test key marketing copy and create new pages on the marketing site.
- Within the key homepage copy on slack.com, team appears 4 times, communication / communicate 3 times, search 2 times, integrations appear once and email isn’t mentioned at all. Test copy that emphasizes search less.
- Replace marketing site copy with words that must-have users use instead. Specifically, add copy about the benefits of Slack helping reduce company emails. Inspiration is found in the email focused responses from the open-ended survey questions – “Slack cuts down email, duh.”, “Kills email”, “Reduces amount of email I get.”, “It’s better than email.”, and “It has replaced email.”
- Many must-have users switched to Slack from another service. Create comparison landing pages on the marketing site for popular alternative services that people mentioned in the survey. On these pages highlight the unique benefits of Slack that must-have users mentioned. Then drive traffic to these pages.
Experiment with user onboarding and make product improvements to increase the number of must-have users.
- Have Slackbot start recommending the top integrations to people. Better yet, find more ways to personalize these recommendations beyond the existing flows.
- Learn what must-have users mean by better integrations. Then create them yourself or get other companies to create better integrations with Slack. The folks at XOXOCO can help as Slack integration consultants.
- Company adoption is the one of biggest drivers of must-have users. Start experiments by sending notifications, slackbot messages and emailing users / non-users in an organization to speed up and increase adoption within companies right when they first get started.
- Create first-class integrations with video conferencing services or just build it yourself. This would make all groups of Slack users happy.
Recommended next steps for surveying
Get more specific feedback and use the results to create A/B tests.
- Analyze the open-ended responses and create a new survey with multiple choice questions to replace the open-ended ones. This can help hone-in on the exact value proposition that resonates most with must-have users.
- Add a follow-up opt-in to the survey and have conversations with targeted survey respondents to understand more about them.
- From the new survey responses, take the multiple-choice option(s) that’s most popular with must-have users and run A/B tests on the marketing copy to increase the number of new must-have users.
Getting to product/market fit and keeping it as the market evolves is critical to creating a sustainable growing business. Doing qualitative research like the product/market fit survey can help you understand users deeply. Armed with that information, you can then optimize your product and marketing efforts to get you more people who consider your product a must-have, faster.
If you plan on doing the product/market fit survey for your own product and have questions or want help, email me. I’m happy to help!
Want more research like this? Subscribe to my SaaS weekly email newsletter.