A user onboarding process is a journey new customers go through to utilize your product.
The user onboarding process is considered one of the most important of their life cycle stages. It’s at the start of someone’s journey, but it establishes their entire relationship with the company and product.
User onboarding is significant because it can impact the customer’s decision to keep the product or discontinue use. When done correctly, it will lead to success by demonstrating the product’s value. Done poorly, it leaves the customer disappointed.
Here’s why the user onboarding process is important — and effective strategies to help you set up your new customers for success.
What Is a User Onboarding Process?
A user onboarding process is a journey new customers go through to utilize your product. It starts from the initial registration to activation and first-time use.
Onboarding involves teaching people how to use the product, but it also places the customer’s goals at heart. Your ultimate objective is to get someone to use your item and achieve long-term success by the end of the process.
Why the User Onboarding Process Is Important
User onboarding is crucial because it can have lasting benefits for your business and its customers. How you onboard new users sets the tone for your ongoing relationship with them. Onboarding makes people’s lives easier and makes your products readily accessible.
It allows them to move seamlessly throughout the process, which helps establish trust with your company. It also increases customer lifetime value, reduces churn and fosters loyalty.
The User Onboarding Process: Steps and Best Practices
Here are the steps and best practices of the user onboarding process — and tips to help you set your new product users up for success.
1. Registration Form Process
Many SaaS (software as a service) businesses don’t consider registering as the first step of the user journey. However, it’s a crucial first part of the onboarding process.
Although each company is different, the average conversion rate of signup forms is 3% overall for SaaS companies.
If you see a higher than average drop-off rate, then you’re asking for too much information too soon in the process.
- Maintain a short signup process: The objective is to make the signup process easy and as quick as possible. Consider how much information to ask for instead of all the essentials you need upfront. You can always request more details later.
- Make it simple by providing a signup option with a service they already use: Services might include Google, social media or an Apple account. Providing this option decreases the friction of the signup process — and users can do it with a single click.
2. Welcome Email
Once the user signs up, the next step is to send a welcome email. Il should direct them to the product so they can use it right away.
- Congratulate them and say thank you: They chose you over the other options, so it’s important to let the user know you value them.
- Share resources to guide them in the right direction: Resources can include a product tour video, a link to an FAQ page and helpful articles.
- Send them back to the product: Although resources are helpful, you must get the customer to log in to start using the product. This approach shows the value they get from it and should be the most prominent link in the welcome email.
3. Greeting Message
A greeting message shows up when they first log in to see the product in real-time. This part is where the first impression of the product begins.
During this step, you want to greet users and help them set up their accounts. This should include a guided tutorial that takes your customers through each step of the setup process.
- Avoid making the customer guess: There should be a welcome message or setup tutorial when you first greet the user. It shows people where to start so they can use your product immediately.
- Celebrate their first milestone: Make the user feel engaged by creating an “aha” moment for them. This prompt encourages them to use the product and see its value. Plus, a quick win reassures them they’re heading in the right direction.
4. Provide Technological Integration and Import Support
The user onboarding process involves more than teaching them how to use the product. It’s now become part of their technological stack. People may need help setting up integrations with other tools they use, data imports and inviting their team.
- Automate the process: Integration between other products — and importing data from one tool to another — can be challenging. Consider automating the process to make it seamless and remove the snag to product use.
- Make it an option: Some users may not need to set up integrations and other tools. Allow people to skip this step and come back to it later, if necessary.
- Offer support: When integration causes frustration, many SaaS companies offer an onboarding team to help get new users started.
5. The Product Walkthrough
Product walkthroughs involve taking the customer through the steps of completing tasks. The simplest way to help people is to show them what to do.
- Make this step optional through all or part of the walkthrough: New users may already be familiar with your product, so they should be able to skip the barrier.
- Allow customers to finish the walkthrough later: Users may not wish to complete the product walkthrough when they log in. Make this part easy for people to come back and finish later.
- Offer extra support: Some users may find they need more help if the walkthrough is not enough. Make sure they get the support they need by providing contact information.
6. Follow-up Emails
You’ll want to keep your customers engaged during the user onboarding process. After they get a welcome email, be sure to send follow-ups. You can offer tips on using the product and encourage them to log back in.
- Share resourceful information: Link to a help center, share tips on specific features and inform them with product updates. The primary objectives are to add value to each email and help them achieve their goals.
- Send short follow-ups: Sharing small pieces of information keeps your customers engaged. Plus, you can focus on one feature at a time instead of risking confusion for the user.
- Share social proof: Link to testimonials and customer quotes to validate the product’s value. This part also encourages them to log back in after reading these features.
The User Onboarding Process Creates Better Experiences
User onboarding starts with the initial interaction. You should instill value each time they encounter your product. Take time to align the primary goal of your customer so the onboarding process can set your users up for success from the beginning.