The problem with assuming you know what your users need…


Every company and every set of users is unique. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ method for engaging users and driving adoption. And one of the worst mistakes you can make is assuming you know too much. Adoption starts with understanding your users–what they struggle with, what they don’t understand, what annoys them and what drives them crazy. Your generalized knowledge of SharePoint, Office 365 and user adoption can’t supplant the need to talk to and understand your users.

To prove the point, let’s take a look at two famous user adoption failures:

new cokeIn 1985, Coca-Cola announced the release of a new formula for Coke. The consumer response was immediate. Complaints poured in, people started hoarding cases of “Classic Coke” and protest groups sprang up around the United States. Within a few months, Coca-Cola announced a return to their classic recipe.

In a move that delved into the truly bizarre, Colgate launched a line of entrees in 1982. While Colgate may have thought consumers would easily make the leap from brushing with Colgate to eating with Colgate, customers clearly didn’t agree. Colgate entrees were pulled from the shelves quickly.

What do these user adoption failure stories have in common? They assumed an answer without first asking a question. Coca-Cola and Colgate failed to ask their customers what they wanted—they assumed they knew what their customers would buy. A critical lapse in judgment.

Great adoption campaigns are designed to suit the unique needs of the users they serve. Before you start designing your adoption program, invest in learning what your users want and need. There are myriad options for gathering this user data, from focus groups to surveys, user interviews and innovation games. How you go about getting the user feedback isn’t important. The key is to use what you learn as the basis for your user-centric adoption campaign.


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