Pendo, one of the most well-known product experience platforms on the market, helps software companies to achieve successful user engagement and digital adaptation. It was founded in 2013 by several product managers, including Todd Olson, Erik Troan, and Rahul Jain, from Rally, Google, Cisco, and Red Hat. Their dream was to create a tool that could collect and analyze data to understand “what really drives product success.” When they were product managers in their ex-companies, this was something they longed for. In the end, in 2013, Pendo was born to revolutionize digital adaptation and product management.
Although Pendo is a great tool, it is not the best fit for every SaaS company. In this article, I will first outline Pendo’s main features, pricing plans, and why you might need an alternative then go over the best Pendo alternatives.
Pendo’s Main Features
Pendo is a highly customizable tool that allows users to personalize the product for their needs and preferences. This means that you can easily sort the data you want to track and give orders for collection. Likewise, you can also change the visuals according to the parts you want to highlight or display. This is primarily a huge advantage because customization increases efficiency. Since you will be able to track the data you want with minimal effort and time, your teams will access data quicker and act quicker. However, a fact worth mentioning is that coding knowledge is necessary for customization.
Segmentation is one of the strongest features of Pendo. It is crucial for you to understand your audience, track demographics, and divide your users according to the filters you choose. This will help you strategize marketing and/or onboarding strategies specific to different types of users, increasing user engagement and loyalty.
Pendo is a great tool that allows segmentation for your audience and your results. You can easily track data about user behaviors and get to know your customer base better. This will give you insights into which types of users have higher LTV and how to increase important retention metrics such as MRR.
Pendo aims to close the gap between your product/service and your customers through quick and open communication. Therefore, one of the most prominent features is communications. With Pendo, you can easily create in-app customer communications, allowing you to write and publish announcements through your product just in a few minutes. Without even getting help from other tools or sources, you can start communication with your customers within your web app. This enhances user experience and user engagement, giving your customers a reason to be loyal to and trust you.
Pendo is a product team-focused tool that aims to help your teams strategize, create, and manage with minimal effort, time, and money. Therefore, Pendo has one of the most powerful support systems in the market. Pendo team understands your business goals and objectives and strives to achieve them with data-driven plans. It helps customers to access solutions for their problems within the tool. On top of this, it also offers support and guidance for the growth and continuance of your business.
Pendo offers four different price plans according to your needs and preferences, tied to your business’s scale: Free, Team, Pro, and Enterprise. The most popular price plan is Pro, offering features such as feedback, roadmap, and SAML 2.0 SSO on top of its basic features and abilities. However, to get a price offer and learn more about the plans, you need to contact a sales representative. This cannot be optimal if the price is one of the most prominent determinants for you.
Why Should You Look For A Pendo Alternative?
Poor User Experience
Even though Pendo offers a variety of features, these features are actually a double-edged sword. Since there are many things to learn and adapt to, Pendo has a steep learning curve. You need to devote your time and effort to fully understand the tools and metrics to start tracking and collecting data. Having many features might seem like a huge advantage, but without knowing how to use them, they don’t have a function. Therefore, looking for an alternative that you can easily start data collection after the purchase and smoothly adapt to might be a wiser decision.
A successful and influential onboarding process requires several different elements and aspects to work together in cohesion. Without using the features and tools that are crucial for onboarding, you cannot execute a fruitful onboarding, which in turn reflects on customer experience and loyalty. Pendo, therefore, is not a good choice for the best customer onboarding. Even though it offers some elements required for onboarding, it is not fully equipped. This might not cause problems initially, but in the long run, the limited onboarding can have detrimental effects on your growth.
Pendo has a good amount of integrations that are useful to use Pendo to its fullest potential and offer the best service to your customers. Even though the number of the integration is not a huge problem, occasional bugs at unexpected times in the integrations are pretty annoying. This could cause your service/product to slow down, leading to poor customer experience and engagement.
Pendo does not offer price plans on its website, which is a disadvantage for companies that the price is one of the main determinants. Even though there is no set price, the price plans can get up to $15,000 per year (not including the extra features you might purchase). Therefore, if you are a small company or a new start-up, Pendo is not a good fit for you. Even for a big enterprise, in which the money is not a tremendous character, Pendo’s non-transparency for its price plans can cause hardships during negotiations and purchasing processes.
#1 Pendo Alternative: HockeyStack
Unlike other tools in this list, HockeyStack is not an onboarding tool. HockeyStack is a SaaS analytics tool that unifies marketing, product, sales, and revenue data to uncover insights, such as the LTV of a campaign, or the churn rate of each marketing channel.
If you are interested in Pendo’s product analytics capabilities, then HockeyStack might be an awesome fit for your tech stack.
Using HockeyStack, you can build any dashboard you need with metrics from different departments. Custom dashboards allow you to connect the dots to better understand what drives revenue for your SaaS.
For example, you can build a churn by the blog post user signed up report:
A trial to expansion funnel:
An engagement by feature report:
Or active users report:
On top of custom dashboards, HockeyStack has other features too, such as
- Step-by-step user journey
- Funnels & goals
- Revenue Attribution
HockeyStack has a free forever plan and 3 paid plans. Paid plans have a 14-day trial with a 30-day refund guarantee.
You can check out the pricing page here.
#2 Pendo Alternative: Appcues
Appcues is a customer onboarding and digital adaptation tool founded by Jonathan Kim and Jackson Noel in 2013. Their goal is to make it easier for software businesses to onboard customers, strategize effectivel onboarding plans, and improve product adaptation. Appcues serves as a catalyst between your product and your customers, helping your customers to learn and adapt to your product. This builds the basis of successful customer relationships and gives your customers a reason to stay.
Appcues divides into eight categories:
- UI Patterns
- Account Security
Appcues offers three different price plans according to your business goals: Essentials, Growth, and Enterprise. Even though there is a fixed price for the first two plans, they are also dynamic, meaning each plan’s price increases as your monthly active users increase. For the Enterprise, on the other hand, you need to contact a sales representative to learn more about the plan.
- Simple and Effective UI: Even though Appcues is a comprehensive tool with various features, it is user-friendly. Since it prioritizes simplicity and effectivity over complexity, its UI allows you to get the best of the Appcues with minimal effort and time. Therefore, your SaaS marketing team can easily learn and adapt to the tool and quickly start collecting data.
- Robust Customer Support: Appcues offers different support systems to help you in each step of customer experience. Its help center is well mapped out and easy to understand. You can also easily and quickly communicate with a representative to ask your questions.
- No Coding Knowledge Is Required: One of the main features of Appcues is that most of the features, such as tracking and building, do not require coding knowledge. Therefore, you don’t need to train special developers and coders just for using Appcues. This allows you to minimize the costs and time.
- Limited Configurability and Customization: Businesses need to change the tools for their customers’ needs and preferences. However, with the limited ability to customize and configure, you cannot track and collect data or set up processes in favor of your product/service.
- Pricing: Even though Appcues offers several different plans according to your business scale and/or preferences, each plan is more expensive than most of the products in the market. In fact, Appcues is considered one of the most costly customer onboarding tools. Therefore, before purchasing it, you need to consider whether the price is worth it.
- Poor Scaling: Most users mention that they want to see more features for team collaboration and the ability to communicate between the teams. Therefore, it is hard to scale your product to use it with different integrations and manage it through various teams.
If you are considering Userlane, check out our Appcues vs Userlane article!
#3 Pendo Alternative: Userpilot
Userpilot is a user adaptation tool that helps you understand customer behaviors, patterns, and demographics. In addition to these, it also analyzes the reason behind certain customer behaviors to make user adaptation more efficient and more manageable.
With Userpilot, you can easily track customer lifecycles and guide your customers through their journeys. By providing valuable insights into your customer base, you can easily track signups, cancellations, etc.
The six major categories of Userpilot are:
- People & Tracking
- Growth Insights
- Engagement Layer
- User Sentiment
- Reporting, Targeting & Customization
- Support & Services
Userpilot offers two different plans according to monthly active users: Growth and Enterprise. Both provide the basic features; however, Enterprise is a more comprehensive plan with advanced tools.
- Excellent UI: Userpilot is a user-friendly tool that you can easily learn and adapt. It is also extremely easy to set up and set commands.
- Improvements: Userpilot team is constantly working to enhance their tools and is responsive to requests and suggestions. They listen to their users and introduce features/tools according to their users’ needs and preferences.
- Personalized Experience for New Users: Userpilot is a great tool to create a personalized experience for different types of users, especially for newbies. It can reach newly acquired customers easily and help them start their onboarding process.
- Poor Analytics: One of the downsides of Userpilot is it lacks some critical features for data analysis. Even though it provides you with basic analytics, the poor analytics page can give you a hard time understanding what you are tracking and how you can use that data.
- NPS Survey Customization: NPS surveys are essential aspects of SaaS businesses. Therefore, customization is crucial to get the best out of them. However, Userpilot cannot customize NPS Surveys, causing difficulties if you want to route users with different scores to different destinations.
- Integrations: Right now, Userpilot is lacking some basic integrations. Therefore, it is hard to implement your product with other software and get the best out of your experience.
#4 Pendo Alternative: WalkMe
WalkMe is a digital adaptation platform that aims to increase efficiency and productivity by combining insights, engagement, guidance, and automation capabilities. It was founded by Dan Dika, Rafael Sweary, Eyal Cohen, and Yuval Shalom Ozanna in 2011 with the vision of transforming product management and enhancing the tools that measured it.
WalkMe is a code-free tool that helps product teams better understand customer behaviors. It is not just only provides reports about these behaviors but also analyzes the reasons behind them. While increasing productivity and efficiency, this also makes everything simpler and quicker for your product teams.
WalkMe offers solutions in four major categories:
WalkMe offers two price plans, which can be customized according to your needs. Therefore, you need to contact a sales representative to learn more about what each plan provides and the cost.
- Detailed reports and Abundance of Employee Metrics: WalkMe focuses on the relationship between the product and product teams. Therefore, you can find many features and metrics that could increase your teams’ productivity and efficiency. With helpful and insightful reports, you can also understand what drives your customers to act in certain ways and how you can improve the quality they are getting out of your product/service.
- Advanced Automation: WalkMe offers guidance in every step of the automation process. You can eaisly set up automated processes and minimize the time you are expensing. This gives WalkMe a huge advantage over its competitors because users prefer a simple and easy-to-understand user interface.
- Variety of Solutions: WalkMe is an advanced tool that can look at a problem from different perspectives. This allows it to find multiple solutions to a single issue. This also enables its customers to choose according to their business objectives and goals.
- Training: Since WalkMe is not a single-page application and offers a variety of tools, it is not easy to learn and adapt. Also, implementing other features into WalkMe requires time and effort. Therefore, your teams might have a training process to get the hang of the tools and start collecting data according to your product’s needs.
- Problems in Cancellations: Subscriptions termination step is one of the most complained processes of WalkMe. Users indicate that the WalkMe team ignored their cancellation request and stopped communicating. This is a huge drawback for customer relationship and support systems.
- Pricing: WalkMe offers two price plans: Basic Plan and Custome Plan. Even though the Basic Plan is free, Custome Plan can get to high prices since it depends on the product/service. Therefore, if you are a small or medium business, WalkMe can be heavy on your budget.
#5 Pendo Alternative: UserGuiding
Userpilot is another digital adaptation and customer onboarding tool that enhances your customer onboarding process by providing better in-app experiences. It is a no-code tool, allowing its users to build interactive user onboarding flows to increase production adaptation rates.
With UserGuiding, you can easily create product walkthroughs that clarify anything hard to understand and give your customers a basis to learn the product. By making it easier for a customer to adapt to your product, UserGuiding attracts customers and successfully completes customer onboarding.
We can analyze UserGuiding in six categories:
- Product Engagement
- Feedback Collection
- Reporting and Targeting
- Account Details
UserGuiding offers three different price plans: Basic Plan, Professional Plan, and Corporate Plan. The plans change according to the size of the business, which also affects the variety of features and metrics. However, you can also try the tool for free.
- Excellent Customer Service: Through its great support systems, UserGuiding supports you in every step of your journey. You can easily contact the UserGuiding team, ask your questions, and receive helpful information. They always put you, your team, and your product first, which helps you quickly solve any problem and dedicate your time and effort to important things.
- Easy to Set Up: UserGuiding is an intuitive tool that you can quickly get used to. Setting up processes works without bugs and the team always supports you to get the best out of your experience. With UserGuiding, you can quickly start tracking and acting according to the data.
- Features: With various UserGuiding features, you can effortlessly create content and track data. You can easily combine different tools and metrics to build the best customer onboarding experience.
- Lack of Basic Features: Even though you can do many things with UserGuiding, some basic and essential features are still lacking. For example, you cannot change the background color for different tiles or select a position of the step on the screen. These inabilities make some basic processes take time or even not work.
- Elementary Analytics: UserGuiding lacks some advanced features that enable you to analyze your data in-depth. Therefore, you cannot analyze data comprehensively and get reports that better understand your product.
- Segmentation: Even though UserGuiding’s UI is pretty simple, segmentation is unclear intuitive. You need to devote extra time and effort to segment large audiences.
Customer onboarding and digital adaptations are important aspects to consider for your product’s success and growth. Even though Pendo is a great tool with various features, it has some disadvantages that can give you hard time. Therefore, it is wise to consider other alternatives. At the end of the day, there is no answer to what the best tool is. You need to choose a tool based on your needs and preferences, keeping who your customers are and what your product is in your mind.
Yes, it does offer a free plan. However, it is the most basic price plan. Therefore, it doesn’t include the most helpful and well-known features that Pendo is famous for.
Pendo does not offer fixed-price plans. Therefore, without contacting a sales representative, you cannot learn which price plans will cost you how much. Most of the time, the cost depends on how big your company is, how many customers you are hosting, and the traffic itself.