If long-term customer retention is your dream, then product adoption is the first step towards it. Any new customer has a bit of inertia towards trying a new product. They need to pass through the initial stages of getting aware of your product, generating an interest in it, starting to use it and finally becoming habituated to it. While building a great product is the foremost step towards product adoption, it is not the only step you need. You have to have a great product adoption strategy if you want to work towards gaining customer loyalty.
You need to start from the level zero when the customer’s business was running quite smoothly without your product. From thereon, you have to make sure that, through your product adoption strategy, customer reaches a point where they can’t do without your product. They have to incorporate the product into their daily routine and that cannot happen until they realize the value of it. Only when your product value outweighs their cost and effort in using it, would the product adoption take place.
Product adoption is not just limited to the new users, though it is majorly concerned with them. But it is an ongoing process that you need to continue for your existing customers too. Your product must always be in the process of upgrading by incorporating the latest features to stay ahead of your competitors. So, the existing customers must also keep up with the new changes in the product. This is a more refined form of product adoption that you need to take care.
That being said, how do you ensure that your customers are responding to all that you have to offer through your product. You need a product adoption plan for them to pass through all stages of product adoption and finally become loyal to your brand. So, let’s discuss how you can achieve that in the below sections.
For product adoption, you don’t have to wait for the customer to pass through all the initial stages and then begin engaging with them. No. It is something that must extend to all the stages of the customer journey. It must begin from the first time they hear about your product. How so?
Let’s see what stages does a customer pass through until they become a regular user. It all starts with marketing, then sales, then onboarding, and only after these, they become an independent user.
One interesting point to note here is that you are getting many chances to show your product to the customer. What you need to do is to identify the most basic features of the product that you want them to adopt first. Those features could be anything from your dashboard to your north star metric. Then in every interaction, right from marketing to sales to training during onboarding, keep using the same features to give demos.
What you are trying to do here is making them habituated to the first set of features through reiteration. And by the time they start using the product on their own, they would have got comfortable with the frequently used features. This is a good entry-point for them and you must include it in your product adoption plan.
Understand customer challenges
You cannot offer a solution until you have a clear understanding of the problem. Clients have their own pain-points and challenges for which they came to you for the solutions. They have clear expectations from the product they are purchasing.
Hence, it is crucial for Customer Success Managers to first meet the clients where they already are. They should do a detailed analysis of the problems a customer is facing currently. If possible, they must draw business use cases during the onboarding phase itself and identify all the possible scenarios where the product can add value.
Only by first finding the gaps can you give solutions to fill them. It should be as specific as possible. There should be one to one mapping of the problems with the solutions from your product. This is the most direct way of helping the customer realize the value of your product.
This detailed analysis will always help you in the longer run. It will act as a list of problems the customer would face should they decide to stop using the product.
The way you engage with customers must make them feel you are already a part of their business ecosystem. It would be harder for them to take out time if you engage with them from a totally different context. The highest goal for the customer success function in your organization is to help customers achieve their goals.
So, your regular interactions with them must shape your image as their business partner rather than an outside vendor. You need to align your vision with theirs and provide every support that can help them proceed.
The best way to engage meaningfully with them is by monitoring their usage data. Through this, you can identify what features they are missing in getting the most out of the product. This information would help you add value to their usage pattern and enhance their product experience.
Your customer doesn’t have the time to go through self-help documents to resolve their product related issues. You must be always available to them for any ad hoc service they need. Make sure you have a thorough customer profiling in your database to give them customized support. There is nothing more frustrating than already facing an issue and going through a long process of giving all the information about their profile before you can finally get to the solution.
In-app messaging is a very efficient feature to include in your product adoption plan. This would help them reach you without even leaving the product. This makes them comfortable with the prompt responses they get from you because that eliminates their waiting time.
Your product performance is no doubt the most important aspect of the product adoption strategy. Every other experience you give to a customer builds upon that. So, make sure you always stay ahead of the curve with respect to your solution. The confidence you have on your product reflects in the interactions with customers. When you feel from within that the best solution for their problem can only be offered by your product, it would make your job easier.
Product adoption is a journey that you need to take your customer into. The kind of service you give them, the participation you show in their success, all add up in building a life-long relationship with them. You must leverage the customer success philosophy in making them realize that you really care for their goals.
Apart from the tangible output they are getting from the product, it is the relationship management as well that should be a part of your product adoption strategy. Remember, product adoption is more of a “brand adoption” when you include the service element to it. And that must always exceed the customer’s expectations.