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Best Practices for Customer Onboarding

 Effective customer onboarding helps you make a positive first impression, increase adoption, and reduce churn. However, while most businesses understand the benefits of great onboarding experiences, they don’t always know how to unlock them. 

But don’t worry; our list of customer onboarding best practices is here to change all that.

Image by Freepik

What is customer onboarding?

Customer onboarding is the process of guiding new users to adopt and integrate your product. It refers to a set of steps that include:

  • Welcoming the user

  • Setting up their account

  • Training them to use the product

  • Providing necessary support

  • Engagement and communication

When done correctly, onboarding ensures your customers:

Understand the value of your product
Know how to use it fully
Get the maximum benefits from it

Customer churn happens for a variety of reasons. Some of the biggest reasons are a lack of perceived value, unmet expectations, and low engagement. Great onboarding experiences are a solution to these issues.

10 customer onboarding best practices

Now that you know what customer onboarding is and why you need it to boost retention and revenues, it’s time to think about the 10 best practices of customer onboarding.

#1. Always send an automated welcome email

A welcome email by Usetiful.

Once a customer opens an account or buys your product, you should send them a welcome email. 

There are a few good reasons for this.

  1. It confirms that their account is active and ready to go

  2. It gives you a chance to make a positive impression and let the user know you value their custom

  3. You can also include relevant onboarding information, like next steps, articles, videos, and so on.

A welcome email is non-negotiable. Use it to put your best foot forward.

#2. Automate as much as possible

Automate the user onboarding process with Usetiful Product Tour.

Customer onboarding self-service is critical for meeting modern consumer's expectations. Users don’t want to wait around for someone to reply to an email; they want to solve their pain points as smoothly as possible.  

Customer self-service software, like Usetiful, ensures that you can provide around-the-clock onboarding that scales with you, no matter how much your business grows.

So, ensure that you automate as much of the onboarding process as possible to ensure your customers don’t wait around. What’s more, by automating your onboarding, you can save time and money and reduce human error.

For more information about how customer self-service can help your business, read this article.

#3. Reduce friction

Automating your onboarding process allows your business to get out of your user's way and help them solve their problems. But these aren’t the only roadblocks your users can encounter.

Signing up for most SaaS software requires giving out some personal information, like email, phone, payment details, and so on. Some of this data is vital but ask for what is necessary and no more. The onboarding workflow should be as smooth and frictionless as possible.

There is one exception to this rule, which we will deal with next.

#4. Personalization

Personalised onboarding experience with Usetiful targeting conditions.

Personalizing the onboarding experience can be very effective. But we don’t mean just addressing the user by their name, even if that is a nice touch. We’re talking about customizing your onboarding to the specific user, organization, or use case.

Gathering some information from your users about how they plan to use your product or what they need it for is okay on one condition: it improves the user experience. 

This onboarding tip is especially relevant for complex products that are used by different roles or industries. Personalization allows you to deliver more relevant onboarding content that focuses on each user and their immediate needs.

#5. Use an onboarding checklist

Simplify complex onboarding with Usetiful Checklist.

Great onboarding involves lots of little steps. Checklists are an excellent way to gamify the sometimes dry process of onboarding.

Your customer success checklist can include all the little things your customers need to become active users of your product. The particular steps you provide depend on your product, but you should keep each item focused on activation. 

For example, Think about the aha moment of your product. Your checklist can be a signpost that gets your user there via bite-sized tasks. Your checklist could include an interactive product tour, a setup wizard that helps customize the app for a particular use, and an invitation to use essential features and functions.

#6. Use interactive product tours

Guide users with step-by-step interactive walkthroughs to boost user experience.

Interactive product tours are a huge part of online client onboarding. They allow new users to interact with your product and learn how to use it with the support of tooltips, hotspots, onboarding checklists, and links to other educational materials.

Product tours are engaging and provide hands-on learning. What’s more, you can mix in various bits of media, like video or images. Overall, product tours help drive user retention because they are focused on showing users why your product is valuable and guiding them to engage with your product in a way that will solve their problems.

#7. Provide in-app help

Enable customer self-service with Usetiful Assistant for instant support.

No matter how comprehensive you make your onboarding, your users will still need help from time to time. A customer onboarding widget allows you to offer in-app support by providing a portal for online documentation, tutorials, product tours, FAQs, and more.

A user onboarding platform like Usetiful allows you to build an in-app widget even if you don’t have coding skills. You can also customize the widget to match the look and feel of your branding and provide a seamless user experience. 

One of the biggest plus sides here is that you reduce the number of support tickets you receive while ensuring your customers have round-the-clock support to resolve any problems they have.

#8. Offer training

Designing an intuitive product and using a digital adoption platform (DAP) should cover most of your bases. However, some customers will still need help to either implement your product or get the very most from particular features and functions. 

Offering customer support onboarding means that you can provide 1-to-1 guidance and training to help users really understand the value and potential of your product. What’s more, it’s a strong selling point for your service that can help you stand out against your competitors.

#9. Get feedback

Collect user feedback with an in-app survey.

Automating onboarding and customer support helps you deliver quick, high-quality support to your users. That’s critical if you want to keep your customers happy. However, there is an extra step that you can take to ensure you know exactly how your users feel about your product: getting feedback.

Feedback is a precious commodity. Gathering these useful insights helps you improve your product and your customer service. It can also help you identify individual customers or particular segments that are unhappy and allow you to intervene before they churn.

Of course, getting feedback isn’t always easy. You can email your users and ask them to complete product surveys, but there is no guarantee that the participation rates will be high enough to get statistically significant results. 

In-app surveys are an excellent way to capture user sentiment. They make it simple for your users to answer NPS, CSAT, and CES questionnaires without leaving the app. Usetiful allows you to create the branded in-app surveys you need to understand what your product does well and where it can improve.

#10. Measure and optimize

Track user engagement and revise to improve user satisfaction.

Building great onboarding content is an ongoing process. Alongside collecting user feedback, you also need to measure and constantly adjust your strategy.

In the last steps, we talked about collecting NPS, CAST, and CES surveys. These are excellent ways to gather customer-focused metrics. However, there are several other KPIs that you can measure, including:

  • Activation Rate: The percentage of customers that complete onboarding

  • Time to First Value: The time it takes your users to benefit from your product

  • User Engagement: How often each user engages with or uses your product

  • Onboarding churn rate: The percentage of users who cancel during onboarding

  • Retention rate: Overall retention can indicate the quality of your onboarding.

These are just a few KPIs you can collect to implement a constantly improving customer onboarding experience.

YSoft Clerbo Customer onboarding software case study

YSoft Clerbo is an automated HR onboarding tool. They wanted to find a way to deliver a better user onboarding experience for their clients in different languages and reduce the number of help and support tickets their customer success teams needed to answer.

The team knew that interactive product tours were the answer to their problem and went looking for a solution. However, they found most options on the market “lacked the necessary features, simplicity, or were just too expensive.” Then, they found Usetiful.

Since implementing our digital adoption platform, Clerbo has:

  • Reduced support tickets by 50%

  • Saved 10s of hours each month on online training

  • Received positive feedback from the customers about a pleasant onboarding experience.

Read more about the Clerbo case study here.

Final thoughts

Now that you understand the onboarding automation best practices, it’s time to think about how you can deliver them. 

Usetiful has been recognized as a Momentum Leader and High Performer in Customer Self-service software in the prestigious G2 Market Report. We’ve also been named as the best Product Adoption Software by Geekflare.

We offer a free user onboarding software solution that helps you onboard and retain users and achieve high levels of customer success. Getting started is as simple as signing up and making an account. 

Register here to start improving your customer onboarding today.

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