If customer journey is the stem, branches and leaves of a tree, product adoption journey is the root of it. Yes, your product adoption strategy makes the core of your customer lifecycle. To prolong the customer lifecycle it needs distributed attention. But product adoption is the focal point upon which when you put your most efforts, the customer lifetime Value (CLV) gets strengthened from the core.
Before you even wish for the product adoption to take place at the customer’s end, you have to ensure your product success. There are many challenges companies face in making their product successful. They start with a minimum viable product (MVP) to check the public response on the core functionalities of the product. Based on the feedback from the beta users they decide whether to go ahead with building the fully equipped product or not.
There is one common challenge worth mentioning here which the product managers or owners face. They get so involved in the product development that they often lose the capability to gauge it from a new user’s viewpoint. What will be the initial features that users will get accustomed to? Does the product stick to the core functionality until the end of the development? These are few of the questions they cannot afford to overlook.
No matter how detailed you get into the design of the product. No matter how many cool features you add to your product. The customer journey of getting familiarized with the product must be kept in the mind. Hence, there has to be a proper prioritization of the features to which the customer gets accustomed. Step by step immersion into the product helps in easy adoption of it.
What comes before and after Product Adoption
Before we get into the product adoption process, let us look at a few other stages that a customer goes through before and after they start using the product.
A customer lifecycle starts from many stages before they actually start using the product. It starts when they hear about the product for the first time. Hence, the marketing team plays its role in the beginning when they bring the product to the customer’s awareness.
In this stage the customer is aware of their needs and evaluates the product based on all the preliminary research. The brand reputation plays an important role in winning the customer’s trust and leaving an impression.
Once the customer decides to know more about the product, the sales team comes into the picture. This is the stage in the customer journey when they get to clarify all their doubts about the product. They get into the discussion with sales representatives to get a more detailed picture of the product.
In few cases, especially for the enterprise customers, the customer success managers often interact with the prospective buyers. In this scenario, the customers usually want to draw their business use case with the help of CSMs. This helps them understand how they can add more value to the business by purchasing the product.
Renewals and expansion
This is the stage which obviously comes after the product adoption. The renewal of subscription totally depends upon the product adoption. If it was successful the customer would be happy to renew. And the failed adoption would naturally lead to the customer churn.
The sales team interacts with the customer again for renewals and business expansion. But other than product adoption there are many different factors too in play that help them decide whether to expand the business with your company or not. The technical support and the customer experience play a crucial role in letting the customer decide to continue using your product.
Factors affecting Product Adoption
Having looked upon the stages that surpass a product adoption journey, let us look into some basic aspects of product adoption that can help you run through this process successfully.
The journey of product adoption actually starts with customer onboarding. This is when the customer gets to try their hands on the product for the first time. A customer success team ensures that the onboarding process is as simple as possible. This is the first impression you leave on your customer. If the mental effort is too high in the initial stage itself then they would most likely get frustrated and discontinue the usage.
Time to competency
As a customer success professional, your main responsibility is to reduce the time a customer takes to become fully competent in using the product. Initially they would no doubt require the support from your technical staff to resolve their issues. But as they start using the product, you have to make sure that they soon become competent enough to maximize the value they derive from your product.
This point is quite similar to the previous one except that they become so familiar with the product that they don’t need your technical support. Every time the customers call your technical support, they are spending time, effort and money on getting their issues resolved.
The product should be so simple and easy to navigate that even the low-touchpoints are enough for them to get self-reliant. Your help content, online training tools or tutorials should be so self-explanatory that they soon can learn to resolve their usage issues all by themselves.
The product adoption cannot happen without an outstanding strategy at place. The CSM needs to identify customer goals they want to achieve by using this product. From time to time they have to ensure that the customer is reaching their milestones and is on the right track. There should be a clear mechanism of measuring goals, learning and improving the product usage.
The customer experience you provide to your buyers is always crucial in increasing the customer lifetime value. It builds upon every interaction your customer has with your company. So the relationship you build with customers is no doubt an important aspect in retaining them.
But the product adoption journey demands more than qualitative measures. It mainly depends upon the performance of your product, the customer goals and the value they derive out of it. With the right mindset and strategy companies can streamline the adoption experiences. And only when the customers have got accustomed to your product does the business expansion with them becomes more feasible.