7 common blockers to digital adoption (and how to eliminate them)

Published Feb 16, 2024
Don't let your shiny new tech gather dust.

Digital transformation initiatives hold immense promise. Think streamlined workflows, enhanced efficiency, and a competitive edge. However, the road to digital nirvana can be fraught with unexpected detours. McKinsey reports a staggering 70% of digital transformation projects fail to deliver their promised benefits. One of the most common reasons? Poor user adoption. . Below, we’ll dig into seven common blockers to digital adoption and actionable strategies to smash through them. 

Blocker #1: Lack of user understanding

Many new apps come packed with features, some of which contain complex functionalities. An onboarding process consisting of a lengthy user manual (in PDF format, say) will overwhelm new users and leaving them unsure how to leverage an app’s full potential. Users became confused and frustrated, leading to a surge in support requests and many users abandoning the app altogether.

How to overcome it: Prioritize user education, but don’t rely on massive user manuals to do the trick. Develop clear, concise in-app guidance to walk users through key features and functionalities on demand. Leverage walkthroughs, tooltips, and contextual nudges to provide step-by-step assistance right within the app. Pendo’s in-app guidance capabilities allow you to create user flows that guide users through specific workflows, ensuring they understand how to get the most out of your app.

Blocker #2: Poor user experience (UX)

Plenty of digital products suffer from a clunky interface and an unintuitive navigation. Common tasks may require excessive clicks and buried menus, further frustrating users and hindering their ability to complete desired actions. This leads to low task completion rates, user dissatisfaction, and eventually negative brand perception.

How to overcome it: Focus on user-centered design — which doesn’t mean what you think users want or how you think they will use the app. Conduct usability testing to identify and rectify pain points within the user interface before finalizing its design. Also, don’t clutter the app with features few users will ever use — ask them to help you prioritize those features before moving forward. Prioritize a clean, intuitive design that facilitates ease of use and encourages exploration. 

Pendo’s comprehensive feedback collection and management capabilities let you to gather real-time user insights on your existing and new apps, pinpointing frequently used features and areas of difficulty within the user interface. This data empowers you to identify and address usability issues before they become roadblocks to adoption and prioritize fixes and new features for the next release.

Blocker #3: Resistance to change

Before the introduction of a new app, users usually have existing methods for getting their work done, even if the older, established processes are painful and manual.  A lack of clear communication regarding a new app or procees’s benefits (and how to use it) will hinder user buy-in, slowing or stopping adoption and hindering the overall success of the digital transformation initiative.

How to overcome it: Effective change management strategies are the enemy of this blocker. Communicate the “why” behind the change, highlighting the benefits the new technology offers both users and the organization. Encourage user participation through training sessions and open communication and feedback channels. To assist, Pendo integrates seamlessly with popular change management methodologies. For example, Pendo’s user feedback features can foster user buy-in by allowing employees (or customers) to voice their concerns and suggestions throughout the adoption process.

Blocker #4: Inadequate onboarding, training and support

Minimal live training sessions leave employees feeling unsure of how to navigate the app’s functionalities. The lack of a dedicated support system further discourages users, leading to low adoption rates and abandonment.

How to overcome it: Provide comprehensive training delivered in a variety of formats to cater to diverse learning styles. Opt for concise, user-friendly resources like in-app tutorials and context-sensitive guidance instead of lengthy user manuals. Implement a robust support system, like a knowledge base or live chat options, to promptly address user queries and troubleshoot issues.

Pendo’s data-driven digital adoption platform allows you to create in-app guides that provide just the right amount of assistance when users need it. Further, Pendo Analytics provides valuable insights into user behavior within the app, allowing you to identify areas where users struggle and tailor training materials and support resources accordingly.

Blocker #5: Lack of change management strategy

Many project managers and company leaders overlook the need for a clear change management strategy. Project and change management are not the same, as the latter focuses on people, not technology implementation. When you fail to consider the human aspect of change, you overlook the need to prepare users for the transition and address potential anxieties they may have. The result is user resistance, confusion, and, ultimately, a stalled digital transformation project.

How to overcome it: Implement a structured change management strategy. Consider the “why” behind the change, the user experience, and communication strategies, then determine which change management model is appropriate for your initiative. As mentioned earlier, Pendo integrates with various change management methodologies, and you can tailor its features (like user onboarding and in-app guidance) to support the specific stages outlined in your chosen change management model.

Blocker #6: Inconsistent measurement and tracking

If you can’t track and report on user interactions with your app — whether existing or new — how will you know if the change you implemented is successful? Without meaningful data on user behavior, it is impossible to identify areas of difficulty or gauge the overall effectiveness of the app. This will lead to a subpar user experience and continued low adoption rates.

How to overcome it: Before jumping into design and implementation (much less deployment), establish key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to track user engagement and how you’ll collect data to calculate them. Monitor metrics such as feature usage, task completion rates, and time spent within the app. Utilize user feedback data to gain qualitative insights into user experiences. Pendo’s comprehensive analytics empowers you to track a wide range of KPIs and user behavior metrics, which provide valuable insights into user adoption and areas for potential improvement.

Blocker #7: Lack of user feedback loop

Having no mechanism for gathering quantitative and qualitative user feedback about a app quickly becomes a problem. Companies remain unaware of specific user frustrations and pain points, hindering their ability to address critical issues and improve the app’s usability. This inevitably results in a stagnant app failing to adapt to user needs, leading to continued dissatisfaction and, ultimately, app abandonment.

How to overcome it: Create a feedback loop to capture user input. Implement surveys, in-app feedback mechanisms, and user testing sessions to gather user insights. Utilize this feedback to improve the app and continuously enhance the user experience. Pendo can help — its user feedback features allow users to provide feedback directly within the app. This real-time feedback loop empowers you to capture user sentiment and identify areas for improvement before they become major roadblocks to adoption.

All these common blockers to digital adoption have strategies you can use to render them powerless. Understanding and implementing these strategies can significantly increase your chances of success in digital adoption.

Want to learn more about how Pendo helps drive digital adoption? Get a custom demo here