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Product Thinking & Digital Adoption: Setting up Users for Success Through a Holistic Vision of User Enablement

When teams across different departments within an organization develop a product, it is not uncommon for them to work in their own silo without a holistic vision of user enablement, product adoption or user education. Isolation often leads to inefficiency and miscommunication, resulting in low product adoption rates and product value that is not properly communicated to users. User efficiency and success directly affect the enterprise’s bottom-line. Therefore, companies must align their product, technology, business and client engagement teams around the idea of how the product they create will be adopted by the market. 

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Boosting product adoption and user success in the market requires an enterprise to build an ecosystem centered around user enablement. This ecosystem includes the product itself (its design), user education and loyalty and retention programs. A complete approach to the user journey that provides immediate access to content and appropriate knowledge throughout the product lifecycle will increase the success of product adoption and prolong the longevity of user-generated revenue. Establishing such an ecosystem will involve product and design thinking, educational content expertise and post-purchase marketing strategy. 

Building A Product That Brings Value To Users 

Providing enough value for someone to engage with a product, application, software or tool involves an intimate knowledge of the audience – their needs and pains. Product thinking is a process by which the user needs, the problems they face and the technology that facilitates the solution merge. It serves as a lighthouse vision of how the product fits the market needs and guides all the processes, including the definition of requirements, setting up the agile workflows, and designing features.

Once the vision of the problem in total, within the market context, is set, design thinking takes place. It ensures that features and screens (UI/UX) address the needs of various user groups. Design thinking will question what their goal is, what problem they need to solve, and where they are getting stuck.

Designers gather qualitative and quantitative data through user interviews, testing and web analytics to enable the continuous feedback loop, where they can monitor users’ attitudes and feelings. This constant feedback allows to continuously evolve and update the product to ensure the user needs are met and the product is easy to use. 

The combination of usability and utility becomes the baseline product adoption requirement. However, the variety of user groups, differences in levels of digital proficiency and cognitive capabilities and the complexity of the modern technology products and business processes make the ease of use not always sufficient for the product adoption. This leads to the need for ongoing user education to help users understand where the value is, how the product solves their problems and how to use the product efficiently. 

Enabling User Success Through Learning

User education is a concept that ties in closely with product thinking. Vendors will often invest in a continuous model of user education perceiving it as an ongoing engagement with partners and clients that helps them adopt the product or service, learn how to use it to the fullest extent and maximize its value.

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User education starts from onboarding and accompanies users through the entire product lifespan, providing resources and support in-process as just-in-time learning and on-demand or in-advance of the moment of need. It is tied to the user roles and workflows and served in various formats – as self-service, context-based hints, self-sustainable knowledge sharing, personalized roadmaps, chatbot assistants, expert support, self-paced content, microlearning, etc.

Although businesses design products to be helpful, convenient and easy to use, user education enables the company to communicate how a customer can extract value from the product. Communication is essential to digital adoption – if users don’t know how a product works, they will never solve their problem, nor will they become loyal buyers. 

Activating User Loyalty & Retention

A core part of product thinking and adoption strategy is understanding a product lifecycle and its connection to the customer lifetime value (CLV). The longer client stays with a product, the more revenue will be generated (a prime example being the popular subscription-based model). Keeping a client long-term requires not only successful digital adoption and user education, but also a proper strategy for user loyalty and retention. 

Activating loyalty and retention is critical to success and can be accomplished through branding, user engagement, and post-purchase support and services. Additionally, acting upon analytics gathered from support tickets and customer retention optimizations (CRO) can boost user loyalty and retention.  

Community building is another critical component of this strategy, especially in industries like gaming. By positioning an ecosystem around discussion boards, rankings and reviews, businesses will ensure a product’s health and the longevity of its user base. In the same way, quickly receiving and completing user requests will enhance retention and loyalty. Again, the various techniques of digital adoption and user education will also promote all user retention efforts, such as helping clients solve their problems better and faster. 

Digital Transformation And Digital Adoption 

This last year saw massive digital transformation across many different industries, but one which experienced considerable change was education. Now, users and businesses know that it is possible to use digital products to realize an online education. Nevertheless, this rapid adoption of digital products would not have been possible without the concepts and principles that comprise product thinking and digital adoption.

Beyond the realm of education, there was a significant digital transformation in manufacturing and other huge enterprises. Many of these companies, whose employees had never had any exposure to sophisticated digital products, had to use a technology like a tablet for the first time. For an engineer accustomed to pencil and paper, having to make a change many years into their careers – was a momentous shift. For those industries going through change, utilizing product thinking and digital adoption became a critical part of the larger trend towards digital transformation.

A unified strategy – positioned around digital adoption and product thinking – with a user journey designed to deliver data-driven and interactive content that educates users and continuously upskills them for productivity will set users and partners up for long-term success.

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