A successful customer onboarding strategy is essential in ensuring that your customers are using your product, are happy with it and willing to keep using it.
Some place the responsibility on the Marketing team, some give it to the Sales Accounts or to Customer Service, and some create dedicated Product Onboarding teams. In any of these situations, the process of customer onboarding is not an easy task, so we thought to help by providing five top recommendations and best practices to create a smoother experience for your product users.
But before we list those, let’s begin with what we refer to when talking about customer onboarding.
What is customer onboarding?
User onboarding is the first introduction to how a product works. It helps users to get acquainted with it, and essentially starts defining the relationship of the customer with that particular product.
Generally, client onboarding is a proactive process flow that will help your clients engage effectively with your product or service. This includes not only the newbies but also the existing users who need training for new features or updates.
Onboarding is not only about teaching your users how to use your product – your main goal should be to make people see its value, so they become loyal customers.
The difference between customer onboarding and user onboarding
While there may be some similarities between these two concepts, there is one critical distinction to be aware of.
When it comes to client onboarding strategy, the goal is to ensure that your product’s buyers perceive the value in continuing to use and renew it. Your customer expects more from your product in return for the money they’re paying you.
When it comes to user onboarding, the goal is to make it as easy as possible for current or potential consumers to get the most out of your product. New users tend to be more adaptable because they have less at stake, but they should still be considered.
Why is it important to have a proper customer onboarding?
The way you choose to onboard your clients will set the tone for a long-term connection between you and them, so you need to make sure they get the best experience.
Having an effective onboarding in place will:
- Improve customer retention
- Create loyal users – which will recommend your product to their friends
- Improve trial conversions
- Make prospects return for a purchase
- Reduce churn rates
How to create a great onboarding experience
1. Implement a simple sign-up process
You never get a second chance to make a first impression – so the first interaction with the user is super important. Considering that, the sign-up process should be as easy as possible.
Ask for the essential information needed for set up and, if needed, request extra information at a later time.
Make it even easier to register by allowing individuals to utilize a service they currently use, such as Google or social media profiles. This option brings a huge benefit in improving sign-up rates because it takes one click to register.
Canva is a good example when showing a simple and quick sign-up process. It offers both options mentioned above and it has two different approaches based on the email domain: one for individual use and one for business or other types of use.
You will see that the email addresses with a business domain get a screen asking for information about their team like name or logo and the private email addresses can choose a profile type ( for example: teacher, student, small company etc.)
2. Have a friendly welcome email
The main goal of a welcome email is to guide consumers through the onboarding process.
Users will be more likely to interact with your product or service if they receive a nice welcome message, which, if done properly, will help increase customer retention.
Statistics have shown that the open rate for welcome emails is 50% higher, which means they are 86% more effective than the usual newsletter.
Although the welcome email is an essential step, usually a single message is not enough to obtain the best customer conversion. We recommend using a welcome series: a sequence of triggered emails, each with its own story and goal to be more effective.
Some best practices for welcome emails
- Personalize the message – personalization may improve your client’s experience by increasing open and click-through rates
- Say “Thank you” – let your users know you appreciate the trust they had in you and the time they have taken to sign up
- Make your welcome email easy to read, clear, and visually appealing – Create a distinctive and authentic brand identity.
- Use a call to action – think about your overall objective. What actions do you want users to take? Do you want them to go back to your product? Or follow you on social media? Capture their attention!
- Give useful advice – show them how to use your product (you can use a product tour video) and what are its benefits
Here are some welcome email examples we liked:
Rytr’s welcome email is friendly and personal, easy to read and it has a creative call to action.
Later’s welcome email is visually appealing, has nice calls to action and it gives useful advice.
Pitch created an easy to read with an eye-catching design welcome email
3. Helpful first log-in
Users may have seen a demo of your product or navigated through your website, but they won’t get the real impression of your product until they log in for the first time.
Don’t leave it up to your consumer to figure it out!
Your new user shouldn’t be greeted with a blank screen when they first log in.
Instead, make sure to:
- Have a strategy to show your users around
- Help them get acquainted with your product
- Choose whether to use a welcome pop-up or a guided tour.
For ClearBrain, first log-in includes mapping out a plan for a successful trial from the start and setting realistic expectations early on. For new customers, the onboarding process flow begins with a walkthrough of the setup procedure. This is done through an attractive pop-up window.
4. Add Interactive First Use Product Tour in your user onboarding process
Put yourself in the position of the consumer. When someone first uses your product, they’ll be a little lost as they try to get used to the new app’s UI. Chances are that they will be clicking here and there looking for clues to help them.
In-app product tours are online tutorials that take users across various features of software or through specific steps with a given sequencing. Also known as product walkthroughs, it helps businesses to speed up the user onboarding process.
Bytes Route is a tool to help you improve the onboarding process and make customers more product-aware. The “Onboarding Tour” can help you show your users how to use your product in an engaging and interactive way making it more efficient.
This kind of onboarding tours are helpful for:
- New features or updates
- Redesign of webpages, web product interface
- Presenting a step-by-step process like purchasing process for e-commerce, account creation, UX-related processes
- Web Product demos
- Sales discussion follow-ups
Here’s how you can make a simple tour with Bytes Route:
Creating Successful Interactive Guided Tours
- Give your users the option to skip the tour. It’s possible that your new customer is already familiar with your product and a mandatory tour might be a barrier for clients who appear to be new but aren’t.
- Allow users to rewatch the tour later. When customers initially log in, not everyone wants to go through a product tour. Taking this into consideration, they should be able to watch it later either because they skipped it the first time, or because they need to watch it again.
- Let users know where to find extra support if needed. Maybe the tour is not enough for some customers to be ready to use your product and they need more assistance. Make it visible or clear where they can ask for support or point to the live chat support if you have this feature.
- Always end the tour with a clear call to action that helps users take their next step. For example, link to further documentation or show them some important features.
5. Efficient follow-up emails
The objective of your onboarding process is to keep your consumers engaged once they’ve signed in for the first time.
You may wish to send further follow-up emails after your welcome email, providing tips and recommendations to assist your customers when using your product and reminding them to log back in.
Best practices for follow-up emails
- Start with value. It’s tempting to go right into the pitch as soon as a new lead enters your pipeline, but you should offer as much value as possible right now. New leads are hesitant to trust you at first, but by mentoring them and acting as an advisor, you’ll increase your chances of gaining the trust necessary to complete the sale.
- Share frequently and in little doses. Sending brief follow-up emails to your customers more frequently keeps them engaged with your product and content. It also means you can concentrate on one feature or use case in each email, rather than trying to cover many topics at once and create confusion.
- Consider sharing data and insights. Everything you say should be backed up with third-party facts and stories from industry experts. You could also include testimonials and case studies that demonstrate the achievements you’ve generated for similar clients.
We loved Canva’s follow-up emails.
The user onboarding process is much more than just assisting consumers in getting started with your product. The main goal is to create a long-term successful connection with your users from the beginning.
That contributes to customer retention which directly influences sales revenue.
Let us know if our recommendations helped you and which one you have used.