The right customer adoption strategy can improve the customer experience, reduce churn, boost retention, and do wonders for bottom-line profits.
A sophisticated adoption strategy begins with understanding the journey that customers go through when discovering and adopting new products.
Map the customer adoption journey to find the treasure
A customer journey map outlines the path that customers take before, during, and after purchasing your product or service.
An adoption journey map, emphasizes the journey customers take when implementing and making use of that product or service.
But the adoption journey really takes place over several stages, including:
Marketing and sales
Marketing models often focus on the pathway to purchase.
During these phases of the journey, as they navigate towards a purchase decision, customers will discover the roots of their problem, potential solutions, and solution providers.
Though marketing may seem far removed from product adoption, these stages represent the first engagements a customer will have with a brand or service, and the quality of those interactions will sculpt the future of their brand and product experience.
Customer onboarding refers to the period when customers first begin using a product or service.
During this stage, they are introduced to the product through demos, product tours, walkthroughs, and other techniques designed to quickly acclimate customers to their new environment.
Customer service staff, such as account representatives, may also provide hands-on support and training, depending on the nature and complexity of the product.
Certain products, such as sophisticated B2B SaaS platforms, can be quite difficult to use and may require continuous training. In many cases, the quality of that training will directly affect how much value customers pull from your product.
Although some companies may provide a bit of hands-on training, human instruction is simply not scalable, nor is it affordable.
To overcome these challenges, many organizations are using more modern training solutions, such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs), which provide contextual, in-app guidance. When added to a training mix, these platforms can enhance metrics across the board, from customer engagement to retention to lifetime value.
Ongoing support, including both technical support and customer support, is crucial to maintaining healthy, profitable customer relationships.
Support also directly impacts the user experience (UX), which, in turn, influences customer longevity and value. A single bad experience, for example, can drive a customer away from a brand permanently, as we’ll see below.
The influence of UX on customer adoption
The journey map outlined above is only one of several possible models that can be used to describe the customer’s adventure through product research, selection, purchase, and adoption.
While some may focus more heavily on other aspects of adoption, such as the standard of the training, UX quality plays an equally critical role.
Customers are 2.4 times more likely to stay with a company that can solve their problems faster—and they are 2.7 times more likely to spend more when companies communicate clearly.
These discoveries complement those from a survey conducted a few years ago by PwC, which found that bad customer experiences can be very detrimental to customer retention.
Among their findings:
- 59% of customers in the United States will leave a brand they love after a few bad experiences
- 32% of global customers would leave a brand they loved after a single bad experience
- 73% of customers pointed to experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions
- 43% would pay more for greater convenience
In short, customer experience has an enormous impact on customer relationships. That experience doesn’t start once a customer makes their initial purchase. It begins early on with the very first interactions.
Customer adoption strategies should therefore cover the entire journey map.
How to create an effective customer adoption strategy
Every business is different, but customer adoption strategies should share a few common characteristics.
Here are tips for creating a customer adoption strategy:
- Set clear goals. Strategies should be built around objectives. In the case of a customer adoption strategy, targets should naturally revolve around maximizing adoption—but it is important to actually define what “adoption” means for your organization, ideally using quantifiable metrics. Only then will it be possible to create KPIs and a data-driven method for maximizing adoption.
- Define a means of achieving those goals. The exact mechanisms used to achieve adoption will vary depending on the circumstances. A software company, for instance, could use tools such as DAPs to enhance customer adoption. A company selling physical products, however, would use another mix of training tactics.
- Understand and follow best practices. The concepts contained in this article will help to set you up for successful customer adoption. For more ideas and best practices, review these posts on how to drive business value through UX and creating a customer experience strategy.
- Keep up with industry trends. The global economy and customer sentiments change rapidly. Customer expectations evolve, digital technology advances, and best practices change.
No customer adoption strategy will be perfect right out of the gate. It will be necessary to continue optimizing and refining that strategy over time. For that reason, it is crucial to take an agile approach to customer adoption, which would aim to stay responsive, customer-centered, and data-driven—traits that are essential in an era where the tides of customer sentiment shift with the winds of the world.