User stories help you understand the needs of customers at every stage of their product experience. Here are examples of how.
•Published: Jul 20, 2021
The user’s product journey consists of various stages. And if there’s friction at any point, you might just lose your customer for good.
That’s where user stories come in. They’re an essential element of the agile methodology and help you better understand the user’s expectations by putting yourself in their shoes.
To understand your users’ needs, you need to write different user stories for every stage of their product journey—from the first time they visit your website to the point at which they’re loyal customers. By writing user stories, you can identify features and solutions for each step that will help you attract and retain users.
What Are User Stories?
User stories are a couple of short sentences that describe the product experience from the customer’s point of view based on what they’re trying to achieve. Product teams write user stories by following this format:
"As a [type of user], I want/need to [perform an action] so that [the intended result]."
They're a starting point from which you can break down a high-level concept into discrete steps. For example, let’s say that you write a user story like the one below:
"As a daily user, I want to be able to access my account without having to log in every time."
That’s the high-level goal. Then you can break it down to "increase session lengths" or enable "remember me." You can come up with user stories for every touchpoint, so a single buyer persona has multiple user stories. That way, you can identify how they interact with your product at every stage.
User Story Examples for Different Stages of the Product Journey
The user stories you create will differ based on where the customer is during the product experience. Here are examples of what these stories could look like during various stages.
Step 1: Searching for Solutions
During the discovery phase, users are searching online for a potential solution to the issues and challenges they’re frequently experiencing. They’re also comparing your product to different platforms to see which is the best fit for their needs. Writing user stories at this stage helps you identify which features you should build within your product and how to showcase them on your website.
- “As an eCommerce business owner, I need a solution that automates all the repetitive tasks that come with inventory management, so I can free up my schedule and focus on more important tasks.”
- “As a project manager at a large company, I want a platform that comes with task delegation functionality and a reporting feature, so I can track my remote team’s progress more efficiently.”
- “As a freelancer who works with clients outside my country, I need a payment solution with low transaction fees that allows me to invoice companies, so I can stop losing money on each project I complete.”
Step 2: Registering & Creating an Account
As the user is about to register and start using your product for the first time, they have a couple of expectations and objectives in mind that you must address in advance. These are often related to security, integrations, and inviting others to the platform.
- “As an eCommerce business owner, I want to easily synchronize my store with the inventory management platform during registration, so I don’t have to add all of my products manually later.”
- “As a project manager, I want to invite other team members to this project management platform, so they can help me review it and determine if it helps them be more productive.”
- “As a freelancer, I want to be able to add two-step verification to the registration process to add an extra layer of security to my login and make sure no one else besides me has access to my payments/invoices.”
Step 3: Purchasing Your Product
In order to get users to convert into paying customers, there can’t be any friction during the purchasing process. Otherwise, you’ll be left with abandoned carts and missed opportunities. User stories identify these issues in advance to find solutions in the product experience to solve them.
- “As an eCommerce business owner, I want to be reminded how many days are left in my free trial of the inventory management tool so that I know when I need to make my final decision.”
- “As a project manager, I need a custom pricing plan since I manage many people in different departments at the same time and have complex needs.”
- “As a freelancer, I want to be able to make my purchase via different methods (PayPal, credit card, bank transfer, etc.), so I can choose which one fits me the best.”
Step 4: Onboarding
The onboarding process could make or break your user retention. The goal at this stage is to get users started as quickly as possible and to direct them to the features that are most important to them.
- “As an eCommerce business owner, I want to be able to go through a product tour of the inventory management tool so that I can get a clear understanding of its key benefits.”
- “As a project manager, I want to create and delegate my first task as soon as possible (within the first 10 minutes), so I can instantly see the value that the product has to offer.”
- “As a freelancer, I want to create a sample invoice first to get an idea of what the process would be like when invoicing clients and receiving payments.”
Step 5: Retaining Users
Your product success depends on retaining customers long-term. Not only does it bring more revenue, but a high retention rate is proof that your product is meeting the needs of your target audience.
- “As an eCommerce business owner, I need an inventory management solution that’s going to help me scale, so I can set up my store for long-term growth.”
- “As a project manager, I want access to a knowledge base with resources such as webinars to better understand how my team can get the most out of the project management tool.”
- “As a freelancer, I want my invoice/payment platform to provide me with weekly content on complex accounting processes (such as budgeting, cash flow, payment safety, and more), so I can learn to better manage my billing over time.”
User Stories Are the Key to Understanding the Product Experience
Even though the specific touchpoints are unique to each business, the overall customer journey is universal. Therefore, you can use these examples as inspiration for writing your own stories for each stage of the user experience, so you can optimize their journey and deliver a product that meets their expectations.