product adoption

Customer Adoption Can Feel Like Herding Cats

You defined the customer journey.  You onboard & train new users. You make support and knowledge resources available. And still, users don’t adopt your products in the timeframe and manner that you want.

To be great at driving adoption, we have to recognize that there’s no singular user journey.  Rather, there are many.  Get ready to herd some cats.

Back during the dot-com bubble, EDS made a funny TV commercial about herding cats.  Feel free to have a laugh.  We’ll wait.

But the analogy is apt.  Some users follow our lead and adopt our products as we expect.  They’re following the path we’ve designed as the customer journey.

However, many users will stray from that path at some point.  

Sensing the strays

The first step is to sense when a user begins to deviate from the ideal path.

To make it simple to detect when customers fall off the path, define some milestones that a user should hit:

First 7 days (from provisioning)

  • Features: which ones should be used by now?
  • Frequency: how frequently should a user engage with your product?

First 30 days

  • Features: which ones should be used by now?
  • Frequency: how frequently should a user engage with your product?

First 60 days

  • Features: which ones should be used by now?
  • Frequency: how frequently should a user engage with your product?

Sustained usage:

  • Features: which ones should be used regularly?
  • Frequency: how frequently should a user engage with your product?

Herding users with interventions

Now that you can sense when users fall off the path, you can trigger an intervention.  The intervention is designed to get the user back on the path that you know will lead to retention, loyalty, and growth.

There are many interventions you can employ:

  • Email campaigns
  • 1:1 emails
  • Phone calls
  • Calls to key contacts
  • Office hours
  • Recorded training
  • Live group training
  • 1:1 training
  • Etc.

Which intervention is the right one?  

That’s up to you.  You’ll need to know which ones work best for your product and user base.  You’ll also need to know which types of users merit a team member’s personal involvement (for high-value customers) versus those who should be serviced through automation.

Tiering and segmentation can be useful tools to figure out which interventions make sense based on which tier a customer is in.  To learn more about tiering and segmentation best practices have a look at this collection of content.  

Users don’t follow your customer journey without your involvement. Sense when they stray and trigger interventions that bring them back on the path. You’ll be amazed at the effect in adoption and retention.

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Don MacLennan

Don is passionate about analytics and insights that lead to great products. He has held leadership roles in several subscription-based businesses, where he came to understand the importance of customer engagement and loyalty. He started Bluenose with the desire to help other vendors build great products and delight their customers.

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