The software applications you develop are, fundamentally, meant to be used. Your products will have little value to your B2B clients if their employees don’t use them. Consequently, your contributions to a user adoption strategy will not only help your customers get the most out of your software applications, but also benefit you through greater customer satisfaction and retention.
Here’s a 7-step adoption strategy that will result in a higher level of user buy-in, more likelihood that users will take advantage of all software features, and increased value to your customers.
7-Step User Adoption Strategy
1. Establish a Knowledge Base
New software application users will have questions — you need to anticipate them and provide the answers. Include guidance within the application that can help them navigate and use it efficiently. You may also want to create an online user guide that your customers and their employees can turn to for information. Continually improve your knowledge base by using the data and feedback you collect from users.
2. Provide Expert Technical Support
For answers to questions users can’t find on their own, train resources who are ready to provide expert technical support by phone, IM, or email. Users will be far less likely to resort to workarounds or abandon your solution completely if the help and guidance they need is easily accessible.
3. Meet with Your Client’s Management Team
Part of the sales process is understanding your client’s pain points and business goals and showing them how your application can solve them. During implementation, use this information, as well as additional input from the client, to train them on your software will help them meet their objectives.
4. Identify Key Personnel
Throughout software implementation, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open, so assign a contact person from your team to work with a designated member of your client’s staff responsible for implementation and user adoption. Stay alert to indications that your client is running into difficulties so you can intervene quickly.
5. Set a Realistic Timeline
Be transparent with your client about how long implementation and training will take. It’s great to be able to promote your application by saying it takes minutes to implement and learn, but if that’s not the case, it’s better to be realistic rather than to frustrate your client and possibly discourage user adoption.
Give your client an honest estimate of the time it will take to upload data, phase out old processes, and train users. Also remind clients to time implementation around peak seasons, tax filing, or other busy times, to minimize disruption. Work with your client to set a schedule that works best for them and their employees and stick to it to instill confidence.
6. Client-Specific Training
People learn in different ways, so to promote user adoption, provide hands-on learning opportunities as well as written resource materials. Whether you arrange for guided online training or a seminar on-site, training will be most effective if users can use their own data in realistic situations. Through training, stress how your application will make work easier and help them to be more successful at their jobs. Also listen to users or take note of their feedback so you can address their questions and concerns.
7. Monitor Adoption
Cloud application providers have the ability to monitor how often users are logging in and the features they use the most. You can provide this information to your client so they can accurately assess user adoption. If you see that application use or productivity are low, work with your client to make adjustments to improve user adoption.
Leave No Doubt
Your professionalism throughout the implementation process, your response to client concerns and employee feedback, and your support as users learn and use your application will help eliminate confusion and increase the rate of adoption.
Developing and consistently following a clear user adoption strategy will help instill confidence in your application and its benefits and set the stage for your clients and their employees to do what they’re supposed to: use it.