Top 5 Tips to Improve User Adoption

Software implementations quickly fall flat if users don’t adopt the new application. Improving user adoption starts in the planning phase. Whether you’re thinking about implementing a new practice management system, switching PDF editors, or joining Affinity Insight, keep these tips in mind: 

1. Listen

Start by listening to your users. Find out what their pain points are before you implement anything new. What’s working? What’s not working? When you know what’s challenging them, you can ensure that any forthcoming changes ease their frustrations.   

Take, for example, Affinity Insight Premium - we start each Premium membership off with a user survey. The user survey helps us understand where users are frustrated and where they have an appetite for change. We use that knowledge to put together a training plan that benefits users immediately.

2. Communicate

Use what you learned from listening to your users to frame your communication with them. Center your messaging around what’s important to your users and how the change will improve their job. Your new practice management system might improve things for your firm’s partners, but that shouldn’t be the focus of your communication with the rest of the team. 

Affinity Insight, for example, offers course managers the ability to track users’ progress through assigned courses. That’s a significant benefit to firm administrators, but not something the users engaging with Affinity Insight’s training content care about. We tailor our communications with users to focus on what they care about: how Affinity Insight will help them get their job done faster and easier. 

3. Pilot

When implementing new software, don’t underestimate the power of a pilot group. A pilot group gets access to the software early, tests it out, and makes recommendations for changes. Not only can a pilot group help improve the quality of your implementation, but they can also be your biggest cheerleaders. Get them excited for the change, and their excitement will spread like wildfire. 

Be sure to give the pilot group extra time to play around with the software. Don’t expect them to get through their normal workload and give your new software the attention it deserves. The most successful pilots are ones that set aside time each day to test things out. 

4. Train

There’s an old adage we use around Affinity: if you aren’t going to train your users, you shouldn’t implement new software. We say it because it’s true. Implementing even  the most user-friendly software in the world will flop if you don’t give your users adequate training. While training at the time of implementation is vital, providing refresher training weeks and months later will help people improve their skills and learn how to take advantage of more advanced features. 

Record training and make it available for people to watch when questions come up down the road. Provide written instructions for those who’d rather read than watch videos. Make as much training (both live and on-demand) available as you can to help your team succeed. 

5. Lead by Example

If your leaders don’t adopt the new software, it has a waterfall effect. When they don’t use your new software, it sends the message to your team that they don’t need to use it or that there is no benefit to using it. It also makes it harder for your users to use the software. Suppose leaders aren’t storing or updating data in your practice management system or document management system. That forces your users to work outside of the system and makes the new system unreliable. 

Make sure your leaders are on board before rolling out any new software. If your leaders aren’t on board, either get them on board or head back to the drawing board. 

User adoption is one of the most challenging parts of any software implementation, but by utilizing these 5 tips early in the planning process even the most complex implementation can succeed. If you’d like more tips or need a boost to help get your implementation process started, contact us at 877-676-5492 or request a consultation 


Danielle DavisRoe

Written by Danielle DavisRoe

Danielle’s many responsibilities at Affinity include training, CLE/speaking, writing, management consulting, and document automation. Prior to joining the Affinity family, Danielle practiced family law. She discovered, however, that she enjoyed making efficient use of technology more than practicing law, making her a perfect fit for consulting. Danielle describes her superpower as “herding cats,” and her favorite parts of her job are making others’ jobs and lives easier.

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