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How to Drive Adoption and Retention with Digital User Journeys

In the current market, a company’s future is increasingly being determined by its existing customers. As new business growth slows down, companies that retain and expand their customer base are poised to survive and beat the downturn. This means you need to prioritize customer experience and value so your customers continue to do business with you. So, how do you ensure you’re delivering on both, especially with limited resources?

This is where digital user journeys come into play.

When you think about your customers’ and users’ digital journey, many touch points probably come to mind. You might send automated emails, have a welcome video play in-app, or guide users through activating certain features in-product via step-by-step walkthroughs. 

Most organizations have elements of these journeys but lack a cohesive way to orchestrate—and measure the impact of—their digital efforts. Having a cohesive and measurable digital program as part of your customer’s product experience is critical. Suppose you don’t know when users will navigate to certain features or what in-app touch points are actually moving the needle on adoption. In that case, you’ll have no way of guiding your users successfully to value—a critical need for product teams, customer-facing teams, and overall SaaS business success. 

The good news is, cohesive and product-driven digital journeys are easier to curate than you might think, and there are a few key ways you can ensure these journeys align with retention and adoption improvements.

Using Digital Journeys to Drive Adoption

Whether your business is high touch, low touch, or somewhere in between, it’s just not feasible to scale guiding users to adopt key features when these efforts are all manual. Expecting your CS team to effectively support all customers and intervene when they are dropping off in adoption flows isn’t realistic. 

Digital adoption journeys, especially when based on product usage, let you curate 1:many content in a way that provides all customers with a cohesive experience and scales your manual efforts. The best user journeys should:

  • Be based on usage. Trigger in-app content that guides users to the content they need to reach value based on their sign-up date, feature activation, or user parameters. 
  • Prioritize high-value feature activation. When helping users reach value quickly, it can be overwhelming to promote all feature/functionality. First, guide users to adopt tools in your product with the most value-add to reach fast time to value (TTV).
  • Showcase curated content via an accessible checklist. With a knowledge bot embedded in your product, you can organize and launch in-app guides to specific, stage-based milestones. For example, you may surface an onboarding checklist or an adoption one to users as they get deeper into your product. Using an embedded checklist also helps users relaunch guides if they want to review specific content. 
  • Change over time. The best journeys are continually evolving as user feedback is collected and acted upon. Review the impact of your in-app content on feature adoption and use in-app surveys to ask for user feedback to collect information, such as Customer Effort Score, to fine-tune how you guide users to value.

Influencing Retention via Digital Journeys

Both user and overall customer account retention are essential in SaaS, and ensuring your digital user journey content promotes sticky experiences that lead to retention is key. A few ways to lean on the digital journey to drive retention are to:

  • Promote features that correlate with retention. You may think you know what features add the most value for your users. Still, it’s essential to do regular Retention Analysis to understand what features are strongly correlated with retained users. These are the features that should be promoted via user journey flows to increase overall retention.
  • Address user friction points. By reviewing where users get stuck or encounter challenges when using your product, you can proactively address user needs via in-app guides that help them navigate around key challenges as well as use data-driven analysis to make future roadmap priorities to address these challenges long-term. 
  • Ask for in-app input on leading indicators like NPS. By incorporating rolling NPS programs into your in-app digital content, you can get a better measure of the likelihood of customers to renew. Asking for NPS in-app instead of via email or in person has a dramatic impact on response rate, with some Gainsight customers seeing increases of 3,900% and 2,700% in NPS responses, just by moving from email to in-app. 
  • Automate renewals via digital touch points. When renewals are highly manual, customers take longer to renew and have more opportunities to discontinue their services. Consider making renewals a part of your in-app and email programs, to simplify the renewal conversation and automate renewal outreach. 
  • Encourage users to dive deeper into your product. Whether it’s via a thriving community of peers sharing new use cases, or by promoting deeper feature usage for more proficient users, guiding users to more deeply engage with your product will build stickier experiences making renewal a no-brainer. 

Digital user journeys are key to effective user experiences, and aligning your journey with adoption and retention is critical to overall business success. When journeys are mapped to user needs and guide users to key value, product experiences, and overall digital touch points can drive adoption rates, reduce churn, and drive overall NRR. 

Now that you learned all about Digital User Journeys, make sure you understand the difference between this and a Digital Customer Journey.