4 Common Barriers to Successful User Adoption & Tips to Overcome Them

Is elevating your customer’s journey with your SaaS application among one of your top goals this year? If so, you certainly will find it useful to start by taking a fresh look at user adoption. Without it, milestones like retention, expansion, and advocacy just won’t happen. It’s the foundation for all of your customer success (and frankly, business success) efforts. 

But we know that laying the groundwork for your users to quickly and easily find value in your product in order to drive adoption isn’t easy. To help break down some of the most common pain points we see, we thought it would be helpful take a look at some of the barriers your customers likely run into most often that prevent successful user adoption and share our tips for helping you navigate these barriers and develop stronger onboarding and improved user adoption rates.

User Adoption Barrier #1: “We don’t know where to begin”

Surely you can remember a time when you didn’t know how a new product or service you were using worked. The same usually happens to new users who log into your application for the first time. Providing initial guidance that’s relevant to your customers’ needs means a lot at this stage, with the effect of setting a stronger bedrock for your users’ understanding of your product and showing the value they expect to receive from using it.

What’s more, it’s the opportunity to get new users using your core features in the sequence you know is likely to work best for them. You can set up an email onboarding campaign combined with tailored in-app guided tours to provide a complete overview of your product’s functionality — allowing users to learn about your offerings and start achieving quick wins already during their first visits.

User Adoption Barrier #2: “We’re stuck and cannot find help”

While you do your best to anticipate doubts and questions, there will always be instances when users struggle and require support on the fly. That’s okay. What’s not, however, is for customer success managers or support teams to be unreachable or failing to provide adequate resources to overcome challenges faced with your product.

Make sure your customer success and support teams are always available within a few clicks, a call, or an email. You can also provide 24/7 support by creating a knowledge base that includes technical set-up instructions, webinars or videos, how-to guides, and much more. Another approach is to leverage your existing customer base and build a community of users helping each other out with strategic questions or complications (note, though, that a user community should not supplement for a great success and support team).

User Adoption Barrier #3: “We expected more from the application”

Overselling is a common business problem, but if not kept in check, it will cause your team to sign-on bad-fit customers, which will disrupt your customer onboarding experience and ultimately lead to churn. It has become so easy for disappointed SaaS users to walk away anytime, canceling subscriptions and going elsewhere or not converting to a paid plan at the end of their trial period.

For that reason, it’s crucial you keep everyone in the sales funnel and customer journey fully aligned, delivering consistent messages about your application’s functionality and informing all teams playing customer-facing roles about new features, product versions, and iterations. It’s also a good idea to create documentation around these items so everyone is clear, and that documentation can be shared with prospects and customers as well.

User Adoption Barrier #4: “We’ve got no time for this”

Time is money for your customers who assuredly have no patience for cumbersome features or a slow onboarding experience. So if you make a sluggish first impression, they may be more likely to reconsider their decision to give your application a go as well as think twice before using other solutions you offer — potentially damaging lifetime customer value and preventing advocacy. For instance, you can use usage metrics and login activity to understand how users are adopting your product and its features and trigger events to cultivate specific in-app behaviors.

So what can you do to address this issue? You may create a precise sequence of steps for new customers to follow with a milestone-based adoption process. By letting them know about the progress they’re making, users are more likely to feel encouraged to not only complete your onboarding program and acknowledge the value they receive but also try out other features, explore more of the platform, and sign up for premium plans or renew when the time comes. For instance, you can use usage metrics and login activity to understand how users are adopting your product and its features and then trigger events to cultivate specific in-app behaviors.

Think about user adoption as more than a quick session to get users up and running technically. User adoption is not just an onboarding or customer success challenge; it’s a fundamental piece of the puzzle of success for both your business and your users and sets the tone for the future of your relationship with them.

Don’t hesitate to take a look at our Customer Onboarding Guide for strategies, best practices, and more information about effective customer onboarding and its contribution to successful user adoption, or contact us today at [email protected] to find out how UserIQ can help make this process easier for you and your customers.

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