It’s been a little over a month since that enthusiastic new customer sailed through the onboarding phase. By now, they should be implementing your product into their daily workflow and enjoying the first signs of business value.

Instead, your core metrics are telling you there’s something wrong. The customer’s usage rates are low. They’re not regularly accessing key features. Some license seats aren’t even being used on a weekly basis.

You’ve got low user adoption.

User adoption is the rate at which your customers are actively using your product, found by dividing the number of customers using the product by the total number of users. After the promise of the sale and the onboarding stage, the adoption phase is when your customer begins to integrate your product into their daily workflow. Your customers paid for your product, and if they can’t adopt it into their business practices, they are going to churn.

That’s why, today, we’re going to investigate why low user adoption occurs and how to solve it.

How to Determine Your Adoption Rate

In a customer-centered economy dominated by short-term subscriptions and customer fluidity, the only way to achieve ongoing success is to offer a product that your customers use. Your adoption rate is a measure of that fact.

You can calculate your customer adoption rate using key metrics. Capture every customer and product interaction and turns the information into visual health scores.

Using this information, you can see how your customer is adopting your product using key indicators, including:

  • License Utilization: The number of seats actively taken up within an account.
  • Product Usage: The number of active daily, weekly, or monthly logins.
  • Feature Usage: The frequency with which specific product features are accessed.
  • Time Spent in Product: The average amount of time your customer spends actively using your product.

By accessing these core metrics, you can see how well a customer is adopting your product. High adoption rates rapidly progress customers toward experiencing value. The sooner a customer experiences value, the higher their product satisfaction rates will be.

So, why do some accounts report low user adoption?

Why Do I Have Low User Adoption?

Low user adoption means your customer is not actively using your product. This can be caused by factors such as:

  • The customer doesn’t understand the product.
  • The customer doesn’t understand how to use the product.
  • Poor alignment between product and customer processes.
  • The customer doesn’t see value in the product.
  • The customer’s circumstances have changed, i.e. budget, personnel, workflow, etc.

In most cases, you could wait at least 1 week after the onboarding process is completed before investigating customer product adoption. If customer adoption is low after this interval, then it is time to act.

7 Ways to Address Low User Adoption

A customer with low adoption is not a lost cause. Rather, it is one that needs to be reintroduced to the value of your product.

The 7 tips below are practical ways you can improve customer adoption:

  • Review and Plan: Don’t be afraid to discuss the realities of low user adoption with your customer. They paid for your product; they have invested in its success. Reach out and request a meeting to review adoption rates and make a mutual plan to increase license utilization and feature usage.
  • Conduct a Training Session: If low feature usage is slowing user adoption, offer to conduct a free training session. The onboarding process may not have adequately prepared your customer to incorporate each and every potential feature into their daily workflows. The training should demonstrate how specific features relate to your customer’s business goals.
  • Start a Customer Feedback Program: Voice of Customer information can provide context to the raw adoption numbers your customer success platform captures. Initiate simple questionnaires and comment surveys, including Net Promoter Score data. Ask your customer to tell you about their workflow. There could be an unforeseen element at play, such as loss of key personnel, that direct feedback may uncover.
  • Re-Establish a Connection: Directly contact the key product champions within your customer’s organization to see if they have any insights into the low adoption rates. There may be factors beyond your control, such as newly introduced budget constraints or restructuring of departments and teams, that your contacts can reveal. Simple “how can we better serve you” messages can prompt customer dialogue.
  • Send a Post-Onboarding Welcome Email: The customer journey begins with onboarding and then moves into the adoption phase when the customer is using the product independently. You can acknowledge this key step with celebratory messaging and include a final onboarding summation that details how your product can provide practical advantages. You could include a quick reference card under the message of “here’s how our product can help” to distill matters down to simple cause and effect procedures.
  • Initiate a Progress Awareness Campaign: Establishing customer journey goals is a good way to generate momentum and a sense of progress for your customer. If things aren’t going well, these goals can be a way to begin the discussion around increasing progression. Track key targets such as weekly and monthly active usage rates and feature access, then pass on the details to your key contacts to share what is happening within the company.
  • Start Your Winback Campaign Early: The strategies used to win back lapsed customers don’t need to be held in reserve until desperation sets in. Rather, begin to re-engage customers before they have a chance to churn. Tactics such as incentivizing product usage, offering upgrade and downgrade options, implementing proactive push notifications, and offering additional support can reinvigorate a customer’s interest in your product.

Remember, your customer saw enough potential in your product to invest in it. If they’re experiencing low adoption rates, it’s time to remind them of that potential and to start delivering value.

Overcoming Low User Adoption

Your customers spend most of their time with you in the adoption phase. This should be a time of growth and ROI, even as the years progress and the customer journey winds on through upsells and renewals. If you encounter low user adoption at any time, you have to act fast. Use customer feedback and a customer success platform to uncover the cause of the problem and reinvigorate your customer’s product interest through proactive, personalized messaging.

Low user adoption isn’t a lost cause. Rather, it is an opportunity to reinvest in your customer and your mutual growth.