Prefect provides a workflow orchestration platform for data and AI engineers, in order to help them build reliable, observable applications and data pipelines.
Prefect adopted LogRocket for use by a variety of teams, including product, engineering, and marketing. Before LogRocket, Prefect struggled to understand where and why users dropped off in the onboarding process. Prefect’s Head of Growth, Chris Reuter, started using LogRocket to figure out how their onboarding experience could better meet the needs of their customers.
LogRocket helped Prefect gain a deeper understanding of where customers run into issues, why those issues occurred, and how to resolve them, whether through more customer training or with focused updates to their platform.
Since deploying LogRocket, Prefect has increased their understanding of customer activation, resulting in sustained increases in their weekly deployed workspaces count, an internal metric that indicates a rise in dedicated, successful users.
When invisible problems affect customer data
Prefect lets customers configure and observe all their different data workflows. “One common example of a workflow is data pipelines,” Chris explained.
“We help build people’s trust in their data. If you've ever used a dashboard and the data was incorrect, you know how it feels when you present that to your boss. We help you avoid that by providing you observability when something has failed.”
After implementing growth experiments and seeing a surge in customer signups, Prefect saw a significant drop in cohort activation rates. Chris, whose team is responsible for user activation and onboarding, quickly felt a painful gap in their customer data.
“We were just using high-level product funnel and aggregated analytics metrics,” Chris said. This wasn’t enough. “We could identify that our overall adoption rates fell for that cohort, but we kept thinking, ‘Hey, it'd be nice to know why this is happening.’”
Chris knew that the senior engineering manager for Prefect’s UI team was installing LogRocket, which she had used at a previous company. He jumped aboard her trial.
Chris’ concerns dovetailed nicely with the product team’s. “From engineering to product, we were all seeing the same challenges, and we wanted to fix the same specific features,” Chris said.
Refining onboarding to boost conversion
After implementing LogRocket, Chris dove into solving Prefect’s activation and onboarding problems. Immediately, LogRocket helped the team surface a drop-off in the middle of their onboarding flow, during billing.
Previously, the sensitive customer information involved in this step had prevented Prefect from seeing this problem. Without a visual, they were stuck wondering why their users abandoned the process right at the point they were supposed to fill out their billing information.
“I wanted to see what those people were doing, how they got there, and then why they didn't,” Chris explained. “That's of great interest to us.”
Using LogRocket’s data privacy capabilities, Prefect was able to obfuscate sensitive fields, allowing them to watch user sessions during the billing process without viewing any personal information. This met their needs because all excluded text, image, and other data inputs are never sent to LogRocket servers once marked “data-private.”
They noticed a cohort of users who dead-clicked the Save button after entering their billing information but couldn’t view the fields to enter their credit card or email information. “We were able to see if customers managed to enter billing information, but didn't end up creating a subscription, and then take the appropriate action.”
LogRocket gave Prefect the context they needed to figure out what was going on and fix it, all while protecting their customers’ personal and proprietary data. With easier bug identification based on individual session replays, Prefect is able to deliver improved customer service and support, as well as a smoother onboarding process within the platform.
Doubling customer activation scores
Another mystery was understanding what customers did after successfully creating accounts and entering their billing information. Prefect users spend a lot of time writing code in a terminal, leading to long periods of perceived inactivity in their legacy customer data platforms. Chris and his team wanted to get visibility into these identified periods of inactivity to see what was really happening.
With no data at hand to see what users were doing, they worried the inactivity indicated a lack of usability. But Chris had a hunch there was more going on than the team could see.
Prefect is a highly customizable platform. Most users connect to Prefect Cloud and write code to orchestrate their workflows before anything else. “Prefect is a developer tool,” Chris explained. “Devs interact with Prefect using their terminal and orchestrate their code with Prefect, after which they use the Prefect UI to observe that their code is running as they expect it to.”
Using LogRocket, Chris was able to verify his hunch: inactive users were in fact not inactive. They were building workflows in terminals that were not tracked by any of their legacy tools.
“I think a lot of our sessions showed a lot of skipped time because the coding time was viewed as inactivity,” he explained.
Though LogRocket is able to skip over periods of inactivity in session replay recordings, the more Chris watched user sessions, he saw each user’s changes appear in the Prefect UI, indicating that their internal “inactive” label was misleading.
With this information, Chris was able to redefine their customer activation metric to include a count of weekly deployed workspaces — another internal metric that indicates how many workflows users created within a week.
This clearer picture of their true inactive user count helped Prefect tailor their customer support efforts to serve those who need help. Understanding this issue, and how users work within Prefect, has also improved the quality and reliability of their customer activation score, which has nearly doubled over the past year.
Prefect plans to bring more users deeper into the UI, and has begun outlining ways to flag this kind of behavior within LogRocket to better weed out users who are working outside the platform and those who are simply confused and need help.
Deepening customer relationships, one user at a time
Prefect’s customers often deal with sensitive customer data, or proprietary data that they can’t expose to any vendors. Prefect’s hybrid model means that user code is never accessible by Prefect.
LogRocket fits nicely with this model, as all sensitive information such as logs, billing information, and metadata is automatically hidden and not accessible.
Insight into potential user upgrades was an unexpected boon borne of LogRocket session data. With LogRocket dashboards, Prefect can see patterns in user behavior and usage time that help them identify users who are struggling with the platform.
“We’re better able to see when we need to proactively reach out to discuss upgrades, further training, or increasing user seats,” Chris said. With better information, Prefect can provide smoother customer experiences with their leaner, startup employee count.
“LogRocket is an empathy-building tool between Prefect and our customers.”
Furthermore, this insight has opened the door for greater and more informed participation from Prefect leaders in conversations about where the product will go in the future and how to prioritize work according to customer needs.
“We’re able to have really informed discussions right away,” Chris said. “Instead of spending time briefing people on the basics, we can watch relevant sessions together and dive right into problem-solving.”
Looking to a more organized future
After doubling customer activation since adopting LogRocket, Prefect aims to build a stronger and more resilient customer service experience to better serve their users. Part of this plan includes revamping their customer data platform to use LogRocket data as a source of customer information to better serve each customer’s needs.
“We want to use LogRocket session recordings to monitor user behavior so that we can trigger banners at certain touchpoints throughout the flow they’re in to make onboarding easier and more intuitive,” Chris explained.
As they work on building that tooling internally, Prefect remains focused on all that LogRocket can provide: “the right touch, at the right time, for the right person.”