Skip to main content

How Customer Success Can Grow User Adoption on New Releases

grow user adoption

If you’re looking to grow user adoption on your products, a few more tools in your arsenal beyond traditional release announcements and in-product reminders will help your cause. 

Put yourself in the shoes of your users. They’re short-handed, carrying heavier workloads, and they’re overwhelmed with the amount of information coming at them from every direction, both internally and externally. The typical new release announcements alone probably won’t command the level of attention necessary to drive adoption at the level you need.

If you’re a customer success manager, this is a great opportunity for a win-win scenario. You’ll have a good reason to get closer to your customers and your company gets higher product adoption (and possibly revenue) at the same time.

The Biggest Reason for Poor Adoption of New Features

The lack of user context is the biggest culprit in poor adoption of new features. 

Think about the communications you get from companies when they release updates to the products you use. For the most part, they tell you what the new features are, how those features work, and the change from the previous version.

Rarely, do they lead with value themes (this release will improve your ability to…) or reference specific job tasks you’re performing with the product in their communications.

Bottom line, most product release communications don’t speak from the user’s perspective and how the new features make them better at their job.

Strengthening Your Partnership With Product Management

Customer success managers and product managers typically engage in regular conversations because many customer issues are product related. Feature-rich releases present an opportunity for both disciplines to take the relationship up a level and play offense instead of always reacting to unhappy customers.

Assuming product management had clear value targets right up front, when you roll out a feature-rich release, the communication should be pretty straight forward.

  • The new features target specific user job tasks that need improvement.
  • You understand why they need improvement.
  • You understand the outcomes they want.
  • You understand the problems or issues they faced getting those outcomes.
  • And you’ve created features to eliminate the issues. 

If the word “story” comes to mind, your thought process is spot on. 

My point is, there’s a better way to communicate the value of new releases. It’s a series of short stories that cover the bases listed above with one or more overarching value themes. You’re telling customers why the release will be valuable to them with supporting stories for improving specific user job tasks. 

Product management and customer success would both benefit if they teamed up and figured out the best format for communicating the value of new releases. A document, a narrated demo video, something else, all the above? 

Be more explicit in telling customers WHY they should adopt new features, just make sure you’re speaking their language!

The Power of 3 to Improve Adoption

I’m not sure where it originated, but I once heard that you have to communicate something at least three times if you want your audience to hear it. Communicating the value of a new product release certainly applies. You’re already doing one or two of these. 

Customer Success Managers, you’re the third link in the communication chain.

  1. Product teams should continue to publish release notes but change the format to user scenarios as outlined above and lead with a value theme that resonates with your users.
  2. Continue to embed communications into your products, but if you’re not already doing it, give customers a new landing page following a release that communicates the update in user scenario/story format.
  3. Customer Success Managers, if you need a reason to get a meeting with customers, telling them how you’re going to make their life easier in context of WHAT they do and WHY, is a good hook. If you’re already having regular meetings with your key accounts, add one more thing to the agenda. Reviewing the stories in the new release in a live conversationis still one of the most effective ways to focus them on adopting new features.

Customer Success Managers are the one discipline that has regular face-to-face communications with customers. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of spoon feeding them with something you know they’d value. Then they’ll use it.

Click here if you want to experience the easiest way to learn product management, product marketing, pre-sales demos and customer success with our unique hands-on learning format. Be sure to check out our Product Management Framework that simplifies everything by making customer outcomes the starting point for building, marketing, selling and delivering strategic value.

Subscribe to The Product Vibe Monthly to have our best-practice publications sent directly to your inbox.

You might also like:

by John Mansour on March 14, 2024.