Like any successful product manager, you’ve identified an ideal customer, solicited customer input, researched the competition, and created a strategy to differentiate and deliver on customer demands. As a result, you’ve developed a killer product that perfectly fits the needs of your ideal customer. After 18-24 months, your product launch sure feels like a success.
But true success isn’t measured by product launch, but by product adoption. If buyers can’t figure out how to use your product, you have a big problem.
No customer success = No product manager success
It is critical that product managers think ahead and proactively manage the customer’s journey to their ever-evolving desired outcome. Considering and planning for customer success is the only way to ensure you’ll survive and thrive.
3 Keys to Ensuring Product Adoption and Customer Retention
- Properly Onboard Customers
Onboarding is the first impression a customer will get with your equipment or device and sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. Therefore, it's critical that it is done right. Proper onboarding provides each customer everything s/he needs to understand, operate, troubleshoot, and evaluate the results of the equipment or device for their needs.
Providing pre-launch training is a valuable investment to ensure adoption and retention. If this effort is overlooked, customers may find your equipment or device confusing, overwhelming, or worse, operate the equipment improperly and create safety and liability risk.
- Provide User-Friendly Self-Education Materials
After initial training is complete, customers will be on their own. Providing a Quick Start Guide, User Manual, Reference Guide, or Troubleshooting Guide will assist customers with finding answers to their questions or hurdles they run into using the equipment. Users want a quick answer and step-by-step process to achieve the desired outcome. So ensure whatever documentation you provide is easily accessible, indexed and searchable, and provides clear and concise direction.
- Deliver Superior Technical Support That Begets Continuous Improvement
There will inevitably come a time when regardless of all the information in the Troubleshooting Guide or online Frequently Asked Questions, the customer prefers to pick up the phone and call your customer technical support team. Besides having an easy process to successfully answer the customer’s question, the technical support team should be looking to understand the root cause for future improvements.
How often has the customer called?
How many times have I heard this question or a similar question?
What is preventing customers from finding the answer?
Is there information missing that is contributing to the knowledge gap?
Technical support is the first line of customer feedback. By enabling the technical support team to improve the customer experience, they can provide input to where customers are falling short of their desired outcome and proactively provide solutions to the customer and recommendations to product development.
For more on barriers to new product launch adoption…
Read our series of blog posts from last fall, where we shared industry and economic trends, emerging regulatory and business challenges, and best practices for overcoming those barriers.
For more on managing risk during product launch …