In 2023, non-automated user onboarding is a dying art form.
And personally, I don’t have any complaints.
But hey, just for fun, here’s a hypothetical scenario for you: You hear your friends talk about a cool product, let’s say, an app like YouTube.
You have heard it’s really fun; you can log in and start watching videos uploaded from anywhere in the world, you can upload your own videos too, and you can share them with others.
You can’t wait to get in there and enjoy the product.
An e-mail hits you: they want to onboard you.
On a phone call.
“Aww, but isn’t that nice and personal? They reach out to everyone one by one and help them understand the product. That’s a customer success dream.”
No one really wants to have someone walk them through something unless it is something actually important and mind-boggling.
Like maybe, if a meteor was approaching earth and you had to learn how to use a missile control system real quick.
So, if your product is not built for rocket scientists and your target user persona is potentially capable of figuring out how your product works on their own, an onboarding call is probably overkill.
And that’s why we need automated user onboarding.
So today, let’s talk about:
- What an automated user onboarding is,
- Why it is important,
- Some good examples of an effective onboarding experience, and
- How you can do it yourself (no-code!)
What does Automated Onboarding exactly mean?
Automated onboarding is an entire process of user or customer onboarding that requires no real-time human interaction and is often supported by in-app messages and directions that are specifically designed to guarantee a positive onboarding experience and, thus, customer satisfaction. Proven to be way more effective than manual onboarding due to manual processes being too costly and not so time-efficient, an automated onboarding process has become a must-have in the SaaS industry.
So, in short, automated onboarding is the type of onboarding that doesn’t need two-way communication between the potential customer and the company representative.
It can be done using different onboarding UX patterns like an onboarding checklist, product tours, and walkthroughs and can also be triggered or scheduled to happen at a certain time.
Now the big question:
“How is it better than a manual customer onboarding process?”
Let me explain.
Why should you automate your user onboarding?
When looking at the debate of manual vs. automated onboarding, some pros and cons of the controversy are easy to agree with.
A manual customer onboarding process is personal and more in-depth.
But at the same time, it costs more and requires more time on both ends of the onboarding.
With 1:1 calls, follow-up emails, and custom roles for walking users through different business processes and manual tasks, there is no doubt that there is a good amount of effort going into traditional onboarding.
Now, automated onboarding processes tend to be quite different, even the opposite.
An automated onboarding process is not as ✨VIP✨ as a manual one, but it can be more cost-efficient and time-efficient for both the customer and the rep.
Now, these are up to interpretation depending on the variables of each’s own business.
But facts aren’t.
And talking about facts, here are some for you:
✅ 67% of users would rather go with self-service before speaking to a company representative.
✅ 81% of all customers try and solve their problems by themselves before talking to a representative.
✅ 79% of customers expect companies to provide self-service tools so that people can help themselves without talking to customer support.
It’s clear as the day: your customers can do it alone.
Of course, these are post-onboarding situations that depend more on customer support than onboarding.
But still, you might want to ask yourself these questions before you ever opt for a manual onboarding process:
👉 Is my product complex enough to require manual onboarding?
👉 What is my customer base like? Would they need in-person onboarding?
👉 How do I define a seamless onboarding experience, and how could I take this seamless experience to the next level?
👉 Would it be more cost-efficient to use onboarding software or to go with manual onboarding considering my company size?
👉 Could I use an automated user onboarding process for potential clients as my employee onboarding process as well? How would employee experience be affected if I switched to an automated onboarding process
👉 What would be the best for my customer experience?
Trouble answering these questions?
Let me tell you about some people who were able to answer them.
3 Examples of User Onboarding Automation in SaaS
If you’ve been onboarding users manually for a long time and your approach to onboarding is pretty much settled forever, customer onboarding automation might be an odd concept for you.
To make things clearer, let’s see some examples that really nailed it by turning onboarding tasks into customer retention machines.
Here we go.
A no-code customer service platform founded in 2017, Ideta was struggling with its onboarding flow, and the problem was the very thing they were trying to be a solution to:
They were sending tutorials and videos to customers via email, and the problem was that the customers would have already checked out the platform before they could see the onboarding documents.
Then they decided to give automated onboarding a shot and adopt a digital tool to help.
That’s when they adopted UserGuiding.
Now, thanks to their initiative, their onboarding flow looks like this:
And though indirectly, this little change played a number on their retention rates too.
User session durations went up by 50%, and this contributed to a 6% increase in revenue.
Just a lil’ something automated onboarding can do for your business 😎
2- Next Fit
Any gym bros here today?
Next Fit is that one software that your gym management uses to keep a record of things around the place.
And at one point, they needed serious onboarding help.
The problem was that they were doing video call onboarding as their go-to user onboarding method.
Now, as we talked about it above, it is good to be so personal with your users.
Unless it starts to take a toll on you.
And it was getting costlier and costlier for Next Fit, as predicted. So they needed to do the one thing that could not only solve their problem but also improve other parts of the business:
Automate the onboarding.
Using UserGuiding, they came up with an entire educational onboarding flow that had different interactive guides in it, in a matter of two days.
That is the time they would have to spend onboarding two users.
Though they have not yet abolished video calls completely, they have gotten amazing results with their automated onboarding flow.
👉 First, the number of video calls was reduced by almost 80%. Now they only do video calls with only 20% of the user base.
👉 They reduced support ticket numbers by 50%.
They doubled their customer base while successfully dropping the ticket count to a shocking 15%.
3- Autorola’s Indicata
Autorola, a big online remarketing and automotive IT solutions leader, was looking for an onboarding solution for their used vehicle inventory management tool for car dealers, Indicata.
I know, I know, remember that they needed better onboarding.
Being a super big company with users in 13 different markets around the globe, obviously, they couldn’t call customers one by one.
User manuals and emailing were off the table.
They were also suspicious that some users on the platform weren’t using it to the fullest, and some new features weren’t even properly announced.
Thankfully all that could be resolved with UserGuiding.
Take a look at how Indicata’s new feature announcement hotspot looks and how they embedded a video within the onboarding flow 👇
Getting results didn’t take long.
Right after implementing the onboarding, the employee feedback was positive.
Then, within 7 days of implementation, the metrics arrived.
47% of users that week had interacted with the new feature tour, and 34% of them had interacted with the hotspot.
Well, I bet now we are on the same page about automated onboarding being the best thing you can do for your business.
What we are not on the same page about is, however, how YOU can do what these businesses managed to do with UserGuiding.
And, of course, it is my duty to explain how.
How to Create and Automate User Onboarding Flows with UserGuiding, in 3 Steps
Let me clear something up before I start.
If you’re thinking, “do I really need to use UserGuiding like all those other businesses for an automated onboarding process?“
The answer is: No, you don’t.
Unless, of course, you have the time to code and maintain the automation yourself.
If you want to do it no-code, no struggle, high ease of setup, ease of use, and customization, you might wanna go for UserGuiding or a similar product that may or may not be better (you are the judge of that 🤓)
You’ll get why in a minute.
Now, normally preparing an onboarding flow takes time.
But with UserGuiding, you can set up a simple or sophisticated one in a matter of minutes in three simple steps.
1- Create a guide
A simple guide can serve as an onboarding flow as well as an interactive one with different UX elements.
So, first things first, open UserGuiding.
Go to the “Guides” tab and click on the “New Guide” button.
You will be asked to enter the URL of the website you want to use UserGuiding on.
Once you type it in, a new tab will open up where you can use the UserGuiding sidebar.
On the sidebar that appears on the website, click on “+Guide” on the upper-right corner to start.
2- Customize and automate
It is important to name guides so that we can find them easily later on if we want to create a holistic, automated user onboarding process.
Name your guide and click on the “+Step” button to pick a UX element for your onboarding processes, like onboarding checklists, a greeting message, or simple tooltips.
Click on the “Modal” button and pick the UX element you want to use on your website. Add your content, pick your colors and add elements.
You can easily add more steps to your guide to make your onboarding flow more educational and digestible.
Pick the modal placement, save your progress, and preview it by hitting the play button.
Once you are done, you can go back to the UserGuiding dashboard.
Find your new guide and click on the “Settings” button to add your container code, this way, you will be able to activate your modal.
Next up is automation.
Now, once your settings are done, and you save your onboarding, it is already automated.
But to spice it up, you can try other automation options like:
👉 Custom page targeting,
👉 Audience segmentation,
👉 Auto-triggers or custom triggers,
👉 Or you can schedule an onboarding flow.
It is all up to you to decide according to the needs of your user base.
3- Save and publish
Lastly, turn your guide into active, save it, and publish changes. And so, your automated onboarding is ready.
To Wrap Up
All in all, the point is clear.
If you don’t have only a bunch of high-profile customers, automated onboarding is always a wiser option.
It saves you not only time but also money and precious developer workload stacks that can be used to improve your product rather than coding an onboarding flow that requires constant maintenance.
Plus, an automated client onboarding process can be used to enhance the employee onboarding experience and good onboarding automation software can be used to create employee onboarding automations.
Do the right thing, automate your onboarding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is automated onboarding?
Automated onboarding is a process that was designed and scripted before for the users to go through. Though the word automated might sound otherwise, an automated onboarding process can be highly personalized and can still decrease costs and save time in the process.
How do you automate user onboarding process?
To automate the user onboarding process, you can choose to either code the process yourself, which can be time-consuming and costly in the long term since there will be a need for maintenance, or you can choose to go with an onboarding automation tool like UserGuiding to do it code-free and with ease.
Why automate onboarding process?
An automated onboarding process might not be the best onboarding method for any business. But for most SaaS businesses with over a few users that are not necessarily high-profile, a user onboarding automation can save time, money, and employee effort, as well as customer effort and cognitive load.