When it comes to enterprise applications nowadays, product adoption is a challenge that is constantly overlooked by businesses that buy them. They may get the application to solve a particular problem in their organization, but they often miss the fact that if the adoption of the application is not driven well, then its likely that the implementation ends up as a failure. Such anticlimactic scenarios lead to loss of money, time, and impacts the effectiveness of your employees. Tackling this challenge head-on, in this article, we’ll show you a widely used methodology called In-app User Assistance and how it can effectively increase your end-users product adoption.
To ease your understanding, let’s tie up how In-app User Assistance works across the different stages of a user’s lifecycle on a web application.
Traditionally, users are introduced to new applications with the help of traditional classroom training, instructor-led workshops, etc. followed by more static learning material like user manuals, tutorial videos, ebooks, and white papers.
However, learning to use a software application through these methods takes significant time and effort which in turn results in lower knowledge retention. This gap in knowledge retention could negatively impact how users engage with your application right from their initial interactions.
On the other hand, with in-app user assistance, you can provide your users with all the required information while they are engaging with the application. In such a scenario, users are learning by doing, and consequently, knowledge retention is much more effective and long-lasting.
Now, the question is, how exactly can we use in-app user assistance for a successful user onboarding?
Let’s check out the different forms of in-app assistance commonly used to ease the user onboarding process.
Product tour is a way of providing in-app assistance, wherein you can engage your users and help them realize the core value of your application by providing a first-hand experience. With a product tour, you can kickstart your product adoption process by highlighting specific elements within your application and prompting users to take action.
For instance, here’s how Intercom uses product tours to show users what the application can do and how to implement them. The product tour shown below introduces users to Intercom’s self-service support and how it can be used to publish, measure, and improve help content.
You can welcome your users effectively with in-app assistance in the form of pop-ups. Pop-ups can include CTAs, media links, product tours or just a simple message that guides your users on how to proceed further within the application.
Pop-ups are also a great way to bring your user’s attention towards new features of your application, scheduled maintenance notification, and/or any other important alert that you want to make sure your users pay attention to.
For example, the lead generation software, OptinMonster, welcomes new users with a pop-up that gives users the option to choose from two CTAs. According to the user’s preference, they are either taken to a pricing page or to a knowledge base.
Gamifying in-app user assistance is an effective way to onboard users. It is similar to how a player progress in a game by completing levels vis-a-vis its increasing complexity. The whole concept of gamified user assistance revolves around motivating users by giving them incentives as they make progress.
Let us consider Salesforce Trailhead, which is the gamified learning and training environment created by Salesforce to empower users to adopt the CRM effectively.
Users can utilize a plethora of modules which is catered to their role. Each module consists of interactive content like quizzes, live simulation, etc., that allows users to gain points and subsequently Trailhead badges.
This keeps users motivated to engage with the application and also helps them to keep track of their progress.
Once users have been successfully introduced to your application, the next milestone is to convert them into expert users through training.
Creating a great user onboarding process is just the start. The goal here is just to make sure that your user understands the basics of your application. Post the onboarding process, it would be best if you devise a fully-fledged training plan that takes your user from newbie to an expert. For this to happen, users have to be consistently and continuously trained on the application.
The best way to do that would be via in-app user assistance. How so?
With in-app user assistance, your users can learn while doing which helps them to retain information better and more effectively. Additionally, as users apply concepts in real-time and experience your application hands-on, it improves how users engage with the application as well.
Here are some ways to train users with in-app user assistance.
Commonly, training users online involve the use of a learning management system (LMS). With the LMS, you can provide your users with the apt resources and help them learn at their own pace.
But what if you could provide the same for your users, without them leaving your application?
Digital adoption platforms like Whatfix allows you to do that by helping you create a task-based micro LMS right within your web application. With their specialized widget called Task-List, training can be carried out in a modular approach with omnichannel content like interactive walkthroughs, videos, PDFs, etc. The widget also records the users’ progress and helps them track it while they are learning.
Blended Learning involves a mix of traditional methods such as classroom training, workshops, instructor-training, and modern methods such as web-based training and e-learning.
By combining the traditional classroom model with the in-app assistance forms, you can deliver users with the benefits derived from each of these approaches. Blended Learning allows users to take their time to master concepts and helps them to experience hands-on learning which is extremely important for effective knowledge retention.
When training users, you need to remember that they can quickly lose attention, especially when plied with a vast amount of information. Instead of boring users with incredibly long content, you can simply break down the content to be consumed into bite-sized modules and deliver it within the application. This approach is called in-app microlearning.
The advantage of microlearning is that users are provided with just the right amount of information that can be processed within the user’s attention span.
As a result, users are able to comprehend the available information better and use it more effectively. In-app microlearning can be delivered in the form of training simulations or instructional videos, both of which can be embedded within an application in the form of in-app user assistance.
In training simulations, users are confronted with real-life scenarios to which they have to find the appropriate solutions. If users are unable to do so, they are corrected until they take the right decision.
With instructional videos, users are guided through the complexities of handling a task with the help of visual aids in an effective and engaging manner.
All users, at some point during their interaction with an application, are likely to require some form of support.
Usually, when talking about support, the first thing that would come to your mind is to get in touch with a support agent or raise a support ticket. But several times, you may have come across situations where resolving a query involves being put on hold, waiting in a queue or receiving an unsatisfactory response. Not to mention the fact that support teams frequently find it challenging to effectively solve a large number of support queries being raised by the minute.
The catch here is that most support queries are quite basic and can be solved by users themselves provided they are given the adequate resources.
The best way to equip users in such a scenario would be to provide them with support right within the app using in-app user assistance. This kind of in-app support can be implemented within the application with popular in-app assistance methodologies like performance support systems and chatbots.
Performance support systems are an effective way of providing concise and relevant information to users right when and where they need it and it can be embedded within an application through the use of in-app user assistance. The advantage with on-demand in-app assistance is that help is easily available to users to complete the task at hand. As a result, the time spent in searching for information is reduced since help is now readily available and tasks can be completed more efficiently. Consequently, user performance improves.
Implementing chatbots within your application can alleviate the burden on support teams. For users, the most prominent advantage is that with chatbots with this type of in-app user assistance is that there is little or no wait time when it comes to the resolution of queries.
Additionally, chatbots are capable of collecting relevant customer information and quickly routing it to the appropriate agents so that customers receive expedited resolution of their queries. This improves customer satisfaction.
Increasing technological disruption has led to customer demands changing at a phenomenal pace. To keep up with customer demands and to outmaneuver competition, software vendors need to perpetually look for better and more efficient ways to deliver solutions.
However, even the best software applications fail when users are not able to quickly adopt and engage with them effectively. In addition to delivering software solutions, vendors now need to look for ways to improve product adoption.
In-app assistance through its variable models of delivery is quickly gaining momentum to replace the traditional ways of training and support. This paradigm shift is likely to change the way Product adoption is done for good, in the near future. It’s time you take a call and move on from the traditional methodology to such dyanamic, newer technologies.
Know of more In-app User Assistance forms? Let us know in the comments!
Implement In-assistance types like Product Tour, Interactive Walkthroughs, Pop-ups, Self-serving help, etc. in a jiffy.