There’s a lot of talk about digital adoption — we should know, we started most of it!
But how does digital adoption work? What are the steps that users go through to get from “zero to hero”? What are the different stages users experience before they truly adopt new technology? Keep reading to find out.
Definition of digital adoption
In order to know how does digital adoption work, we need to define the term “digital adoption”. According to WalkMe’s Complete Glossary of Digital Adoption, it:
1. is when digital tools are being used as intended, and to their fullest extent.
// Digital adoption occurs when a business invests in new technology, adopts a digital mindset, and evolves processes so users can maximize proficiency on a given software or app.
2. simplifies task completion, improves productivity, and protects ROI.
// True digital adoption means the life of a user is enhanced — not overwhelmed by technology.
We’re going to answer the question, how does digital adoption work, with regards the majority of users. Studies report that only 16% of users are innovators and early adopters of technology. At least 50% are slower than average to adopt or seriously change-averse.
So when it comes to ensuring successful adoption of digital tools either for your customers or employees, it’s smart to consider the worst case scenario.
How does digital adoption work? 4 steps to work through
STEP 1: Resistance
For digital laggards, new technology is perceived as a threat rather than an opportunity.
Oftentimes, new digital tools are imposed upon their users — for example, when a bank introduces a new app for its customers, or if a change in enterprise software is introduced at work.
In these instances, users can feel any number of things about the technology; that it’s:
- A frustrating inconvenience
- A worrying sign of change, uncertain times and a sense of vulnerability
- A criticism of how things have been done previously
From these feelings comes resistance. For Digital Adoption Managers using a change management approach to technology implementation, it’s recognized that adoption is a process of change. It requires users to alter or somehow improve their digital behavior.
So, digital adoption as a process needs strategic planning, appropriate resources, clear and consistent communication of the vision and benefits, and of course, senior support.
STEP 2: Onboarding
Once users have been made aware that the digital change is coming, it’s time to prepare for onboarding.
It’s important to get it right first time — up to 90% of apps are used only once, so the onboarding process is absolutely critical in the successful engagement and retention of your users.
The onboarding process must be as simple as possible for the first time user — if the process is too complicated, they will likely experience frustration and abandon the technology.
Don’t overload your users with information, or ask for too much information from them either. You need to strike a balance between personalizing their experience through data gathering and interrupting their flow with questions.
Ideally, you want your users to understand in an instant what needs the technology can fulfill, what problems it can solve, and how it makes life easier/better/more productive. Remember, you probably won’t get a second chance.
Lengthy tutorials and user manuals are a no-no. By the time users have labored their way through them, they’ll have forgotten half of the information. Users just want to get started, so you need to find a way to train them while they’re using the tool.
STEP 3: Usage
If you’ve reached step 3, your users have successfully been onboarded and are using the new tool — congratulations! But are they using it as effectively as you need them to? What’s your ROI looking like? Could it use some improvement?
The answer is probably yes. True digital adoption is a rarity, and without specific tools and resources designed to accelerate and aid adoption, you’ll end up with mere usage.
The difference between usage and adoption is vast. It’s the difference between an employee who does the bare minimum and one who excels.
It’s like comparing an elderly lady writing an email to her granddaughter with an executive PA managing several online diaries.
STEP 4: Adoption
Let’s continue with the comparison between usage and adoption.
I could log into Salesforce right now and use it. But because I don’t use it everyday, I haven’t received training in its features, I don’t live and breathe the tool’s functions and features day in day out, my performance would be poor.
Even a seasoned Salesforce professional’s productivity would be slowed by the introduction of new features, or if the platform navigation was reorganized. True digital adoption is about getting users to the highest level of proficiency as rapidly as possible.
How to achieve true digital adoption
There’s only really one way to achieve true digital adoption. And that’s by using a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP).
The DAP allows users to login to the new digital tool and begin using it efficiently right away. No tutorials are required; instead, users receive guidance, help, and suggestions as they’re using the tool.
The DAP uses advanced machine learning, so it understands individual user behavior and is able to adapt to specific user needs, frequently performed tasks, and pre-set goals inputted during setup.
This means it can provide personalized assistance to the user, which engages them better, overcoming any resistance, and onboarding them successfully.
The DAP is all about empowering users to self-serve with contextualized, real-time guidance in-app. They never have to leave the tool to get answers to their questions.
The result is users achieving the highest level of proficiency in any technology as rapidly as possible.
Now you know, how does digital adoption work. Reaching step 4 is absolutely key to any organization’s digital transformation.
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