Rethink Commerce Blog

8 Ways to Maximize User Adoption

Posted on April 4th, 2016 by

There’s no question about it: Change is hard. This poses a unique challenge to online companies trying to market their products to businesses that may be resistant to new workflows and an ever-proliferating number of dashboards. Decision makers know that while enterprise software holds the potential to increase revenue and growth, poor implementation of new systems decreases employee productivity. Enterprise software is a good investment only if employees use the software, and when they adopt it in the way designers and developers intended.

High adoption rates occur when the user experience is considered throughout each stage of software implementation. Here are eight ways to maximize user adoption throughout the implementation stage.

1. Set realistic expectations

This applies to both the product itself and its implementation. If your product has a lot of powerful features, say so—but make sure it’s also clear what kind of time and effort it will take to get value out of those features. If it usually takes your users a week or two to really understand your product, build that expectation into your sales conversations. User disappointment translates to poor adoption and churn.

2. Emphasize what works best

Highlight the software’s most used and most intuitive features with in-app pop-ups or tutorials . Founder and CEO of Optimove, Pini Yakuel, calls this tactic a “quick win.” Since adoption curves can be steep, and the journey to full adoption can be a long one, it is necessary to hook users with positive, immediately valuable results. Mastering small tasks and then building on the quick wins is one method of increasing user adoption rates. Over time, this strategy encourages greater understanding and use of the software’s more complex features.

3. Offer help

Don’t wait for users to come to you with questions—answer them pre-emptively. As soon as a new user signs up, send an email with FAQs, links to helpful blog posts, or an invitation to a webinar that goes over the basics of your platform.

4. Minimize overload

Your user interface developers and user experience designers should have a healthy appreciation for minimalism. We live in a world full of information and visual stimulus, and more is not necessarily better. When faced with a new dashboard of features, users might be overwhelmed. Design user interfaces with customized features that only appear when needed, and only to those individuals who need them .

5. Split test

In designing those user interfaces, split test to see which ones garner more engagement from users . Which version gets longer login sessions or more frequent sessions? Which is associated with higher churn rates?

6. Identify and eliminate bottlenecks

Track usage patterns and determine what is holding users back from full adoption. Do certain settings seem to trip them up more than others? That means there’s a product problem, an interface problem, or an education problem. Use usage data to identify those stumbling blocks, and then talk to customers about how they think you should fix them.

7. Demonstrate value

In the first few weeks of a subscription, show users concrete data about the value you’re bringing them, whether that’s in an email or within the platform. Whatever your measure of engagement—tasks completed, time logged, product delivered—show them what they’ve gotten out of your solution so far to make them feel more invested in continuing.

8. Encourage systemic adoption

Focus on educating management teams and integrating the system into their workflow, because that will encourage more employees to fully adopt the technology as well. Additionally, communication between the parties improves when their expectations match.

Not only that, but offering mini training sessions to a cross-section of managers can help relieve some C-level concerns about the investment. VentureBeat reports “average CIO tenure to be about 4-5 years.” When the CIO leaves the organization, investments in new technology may disappear as well, unless other management-level team members have experience with that technology. Educating users throughout management ensures that veteran employees will continue using the system even through personnel changes.

Maximizing user adoption is a huge concern for any online company, because the more engaged users are at the beginning of a relationship with a piece of software, the longer they are likely to use that software. It will be an ongoing process of discovering what works best and honing your onboarding process, but you’ll see long-term payoff in the form of lower churn.

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Raj Badarinath

VP, WW Product Marketing and Alliances

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