Everything YOU Need to Know About Customer Onboarding – The Definitive Guide

Self-serve ice cream shops are getting pretty popular nowadays 🍦

The logic is easy:

  • Customers are guided within the shop via banners, labels, and sometimes even robots.
  • At checkout, the self-register guides the customer through the check-out process.
  • They’re all done! The introverts are happy, the boss is happy, and the economy is happy.

But can you imagine this system working without proper directions or help? I mean, not everyone is born knowing how to use the register.

The same applies to every business that exists, actually. Traditional businesses guide their customers with people, newer ones do it with labels, and online businesses do it with interactive guides.

They all onboard and guide their customers one way or another.

So the question is: What is Customer Onboarding?

I’m Hilal 💁‍♀️ and today, I’ve got 40 minutes of reading material gathered for you!

Here’s everything you need to know about customer onboarding and how you can make it work for YOU:

What is Customer Onboarding?

Customer Onboarding or client onboarding is a crucial step of the customer journey encompassing the entire customer lifecycle, including user onboarding. It is dedicated to guiding customers through every stage of the customer onboarding journey using marketing efforts, customer engagement strategies, customer onboarding software, onboarding content, and more. Essentially, the main goal of this customer onboarding process is to help users find value in the product and bring value to the product to make sure customer churn is avoided, and customer retention is achieved regularly.

What is customer onboarding

But what really is the purpose of customer onboarding?

Let’s find out.

What is the purpose of customer onboarding?

A successful customer onboarding process can be the number one contributor to customer loyalty and the constant positive experience of both first-time customers and your existing customer base.

Just like any other form of onboarding, customer onboarding aims to reduce friction between the customer and the product.

Sounded a bit complicated, huh?

Let me put it this way:

Customer onboarding is meant to make it easier for your customers to understand the value of your product.

Once you understand your customers’ needs and desires, you can help them understand your product and the value it offers. How and when your customer understands your product’s value is the key to your (and their) success.

The sooner and easier your customers get value from your product, the more likely your revenue will rise.

To get a better grip on the topic, here are two hypothetical examples:

👉 You have an online store where you sell your crafts. You would need to successfully catch potential customers’ attention by advertising on the correct channels.

After that, you would need a website theme that compliments your niche along with clear directions about how to find products, information, and help (For instance, a customer would expect to know the price before knowing how long the shipping would take.)

Lastly, the customer would like to be sure that their money is well spent, and they need to be ensured that they can get their money back if they can’t get the promised value. You either have to deliver the value or the refund 🤷🏻‍♀️

If you can guarantee this process will run smoothly, you are closer to a few crucial steps closer to a well-established customer onboarding.

Here’s another example:

👉 You have a B2B SaaS business that helps other businesses collect feedback, which means you will have customers and end users. The customer is the bridge between you and many end-users.

Let’s think: isn’t it important for the customer to get value from your product so that they can present it to their users?

What you want to do is to make sure that you give the customer what they need as soon as possible because 55% of people tend to return a product when they don’t understand how to use it.

They don’t seek help. They return it.

It’s your responsibility to make sure that your customers don’t give up.

What makes this example different is the fact that you have to get the end-users to adopt your product, as well as the customer.

And about that… What is really the difference between a customer and a user?

And more importantly: What is the difference between customer onboarding and user onboarding?

Let’s quickly go over it:

Customer Onboarding vs. User Onboarding – is there a difference?

A customer is a person who pays for a product or service.

A user is anyone who benefits from your services – either paid or unpaid.

Now, if your product is accessible to everyone, be it through a freemium or a free trial, both user personas and customer personas go through a user onboarding process.

But only paying customers go through the entire customer onboarding experience. 

All users are likely to promote or detract your product, but it is the customers that keep the clock ticking.

They are the ones who determine your revenue. And your revenue is what determines your future with this product or other projects.

This is why you have to make sure that the customers have the best experience of all.

Just in case you need a more in-depth comparison, here is a good article about customer onboarding vs. user onboarding.

I’ll continue with our main topic:

Why Is Onboarding Customers So Important?

I can actually summarize the importance of onboarding customers with a sentence:

If your product aims for profit, it is the customers that you want to keep engaged and happy.

But of course, there is more to a successful onboarding process than customer satisfaction and engagement.

Here are just 3 reasons why you should be investing more in onboarding customers off the top of my head:

1- The happiness of the customers depends on the onboarding process: Customer Retention

First impressions matter.

And the first impression of your product is: its onboarding process.

Your customers might have gone through a user onboarding process while evaluating it, or they might be encountering it for the first time. No matter how much they know your product, customers expect special treatment.

Since you can’t serve the best wine to every single customer on a red carpet, you have to make them feel like they are on the red carpet by getting a warm, personalized welcome with a greeting message while interacting with your product.

Something like this, maybe:

cuepath onboarding welcome modal userguiding
Cuepath’s welcome modal powered by UserGuiding

And you could take that personalized experience and spread it all across the product, the sign-up process, as well as the entire customer lifecycle.

Just make sure to get your customers to realize that they are important, and have your customer onboarding reinforce this throughout the entire process. And that, folks, is the recipe for loyal customers.

And we all know what loyal customers mean:

Retention.

Moreover, a good retention rate means you work even harder toward more customers. Which means even more customer retention. Talk about a positive loop, huh?

And happy customers mean even more:

Happy customers attract more customers: Social Proof

Word-of-mouth marketing was thought to be dead for a short amount of time.

Well, the good news is, it definitely isn’t.

The bad news: it’s 2022 and no one is going to trust YOUR word-of-mouth about YOUR product.

Even better news: It’s 2022 and everyone wants to make their purchases according to recommendations and reviews.

But here’s the thing, unsatisfied customers are loud. Satisfied ones are… not really so loud.

But if you can get them to talk, they tend to be even more influential than detractors.

And check out the result: A happy customer introduces another person to your product, and your onboarding process turns them into another happy customer, who brings another person… and at the end, you have a rising revenue chart.

So what could get your product more recommended than a bunch of existing customers that fully adopted your product and are ready to promote it?

Maybe Jeff Bezos, if he’s a relative of yours. 

Otherwise you might want to make sure that your product satisfies the customers – just enough to make them talk positively about your product:

The positive reviews increase your reliability: NPS

As I mentioned before, satisfied people don’t talk about how satisfied they are unless someone asks them.

So ask them!

If you use an NPS survey to get your users’ opinions about your product, you will kill two birds with one stone: you will get positive reviews to that you can feature on social platforms, and you will show how caring you are about your customers and their feedback.

Since it’s most efficient to conduct an NPS survey after the initial onboarding process, you can guess why the two are connected.

  • A good onboarding will increase your retention and NPS scores
  • A good NPS score will bring you more customers and help you fix issues according to feedback, and 
  • More happy customers will increase your revenue and retention rate

Now, my reasoning might seem too straightforward.

But if you don’t believe me, here are some statistics to show you just how important customer onboarding is:

Customer Onboarding Statistics and Benchmarks

  • 74% of people are likely to switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult. (Salesforce)
  • Over 90% of customers say that the companies they work with could do better in terms of onboarding new customers. (Wyzowl)
  • Acquiring new customers is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. (Invesp)
  • Highly engaged customers buy 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction, and have three times the annual value compared to other customers. (Rosetta)
  • After a positive customer experience, 69% would recommend the company to others, and 50% would use the business more frequently. (New voice Media)
  • 89% of consumers begin doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. (Oracle)
  • 59% of customers value personalization over speed when it comes to customer service. (Gladly)
  • A third of internet users find voice/phone support the most annoying customer support channel (Groove)
  • Customers use help desk articles and knowledge libraries more than any other channel for self-service assistance (Forrester)
  • 91% of customers would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs. (Social Media Today)

What does a Customer Onboarding Process look like?

I just know that by now, we’re on the same page about how important it is to invest in customer onboarding. But let’s dig deeper.

A traditional customer onboarding process looks a little something like this:

what does the customer onboarding process look like

Brand awareness 

You might not realize this at first, but when you look into it, customer onboarding is a process that starts the very moment potential customers become aware of your product.

This is because although onboarding is all about value, brand awareness implies the existence of potential value customers might expect as well as some form of information about the brand/product

So we can safely say that customer onboarding might be traced back to even before sales.

First interaction with brand/product

Similar to brand awareness, when users interact with a certain brand through their website or with a specific product of the brand, say, if there is a freemium version or a free trial, we can argue that the customer onboarding process is in play as these users might become paying customers.

Welcome email

Assuming the users from the step before became paying customers, a proper welcome might be due.

A welcome email needs to be short, engaging, and personalized to start out on the right foot and set sail to a brand new relationship. Here’s a cool example from Bubble:

bubble customer onboarding welcome email

First-use in-app user onboarding

User onboarding is easily one of the most critical steps of customer onboarding and a direct contributor to customer onboarding success.

User onboarding can come in various shapes and sizes, from setup wizards to product walkthroughs or smaller product tutorials like interactive guides. Whatever it looks like, the point is to turn clueless customers into satisfied customers who have seen the value of your product as soon as possible after using your product.

Jump to the customer onboarding software part of the article to find out how you can onboard users or check out how you can create a user onboarding guide in under 5 minutes here 👈

Feature promotions

After the initial onboarding, either with your customer success team or in-app, customers might be set up to use your product perfectly.

However, this doesn’t mean they will be hooked to your product forever.

Remember: you need to constantly offer value.

So, it is important that you invest time into figuring out how else your product can be of use for your customers and introducing them to the solutions you have found in. the smoothest way possible.

It can also be beneficial to keep it discreet as not all customers enjoy promotions.

First-week check-in

A user’s feelings toward a product can change easily within the span of a week.

So, it is important to make sure your users are still enjoying their time with your brand and finding value in your product.

NPS surveys and other forms of feedback collection might come in handy at this point in the customer onboarding experience.

In-depth product use promotion

Once you are past the first-week mark, there is more space (and need) for further feature promotion and showing more value, which you can be providing the customer with.

This is also a great time to do so since you will have collected more data on what else in your product can be of use to your customers.

Updates & Check-ins

Lastly, a step that goes on until the end of the customer relationship is regular checkups as you keep updating your product.

Users might need to be introduced to new features you might add to your product with new updates, or there might be a need to check up on customers to see if the plan they are paying for is still the optimal choice for them.

This stage can then be repeated regularly unless the customer decides to cancel, and that is about it for a generally acceptable customer onboarding process.

But there might just be some fine tuning necessary.

Let’s take a look at some best practices.

How to Onboard Customers (Best Practices)

Here are some of the best practices you need to keep in mind when building your own customer onboarding process: 

#1 – Define the differences between paid and unpaid clearly

This one goes for all the businesses that offer a free and a paid program.

If you want people to pay you, you have to make sure they know why they have to pay you instead of keeping it going with the free package.

Ask yourself:

  • What are my strong cards?
  • Do I offer too much in the free version?
  • Do I offer too little in the free version?
  • Is the difference visible enough to make people pay? 

Since the emphasis of this article is on customer onboarding, I will focus only on the last point: making the difference visible.

As your users turn into customers, they will want to see the immediate effects of paying.

I paid for it - customer onboarding meme

Of course, you can’t expect a builder to build a house in a day just because you paid them. The same applies to your business.

So what you do is that you show them examples of what they will get in the end.

You show them the marvelous aspects of the paid version.

You put a bit of razzle dazzle into the introduction, not because you have to, but because people expect to see some razzle dazzle when they pay.

So don’t be afraid to put forth the advantages from the very start.

Because what if people can’t even get to the point where they have paid and are ready to enjoy the features?

What could be blocking them?

Maybe you lack in:

#2 – Keep the payment and sign-up process smooth

When people are signing up or filling out a payment form, they are sharing sensitive information with you. And you are the 3rd party now that no one wants to share delicate information with.

So try to revise the number of questions you ask a potential customer.

Ask yourself: Do you really need to know their birth surname? Or are you being a bit paranoid?

Study shows that signup forms with 4 or fewer questions have the most signups.

Customer onboarding signup form
A bright and clear signup form means a brighter start for the customer!

If you really have to ask more, why don’t you keep it for the second page? Or maybe for a later step in the process?

Just make sure that your potential customers don’t give up right at the beginning.

After you make sure that the setup process is smooth enough, you can go back to focusing on the razzle dazzle:

#3 – Onboard to new features available to paying customers

Every good product, even the most obscure, non-SaaS ones, has some kind of onboarding.

If you are helping people with banking, you introduce them to the basics of banking. If you are taking photos, you tell them how the process will work and what poses they will give.

Long story short, no customer is born with the basic knowledge of the topic.

They pay you to help them.

So instead of expecting them to dive into the product or services and find out what’s best for them, you give them a tour.

guided tour
A product tour can be a video, an interactive tour, or a demo.

Think of it like giving them a brochure about the facilities in a hotel.

Without it, you won’t get the 5 stars you worked hard for.

#5 – Inform about the communication channels (several times)

Before, during, or after the product tour:

Do not forget to inform your customers about how to get further help, either by contacting someone or through a resource center.

Here’s a quick stat:

73% of customers want to be able to solve product/service issues on their own.

Meaning that they feel the need to be able to reach a resource center, a knowledge base, or a help center.

Imagine a world where we can access help centers in real life… I need some help about the taxes

Along with providing these features, you have to point them out clearly.

Or else, they are going to be as useless as a forgotten map on the farthest shelf.

If your product/service requires different methods of problem-solving, then you have to make sure that your customers know how to reach you. This can be a clearly visible phone number or email.

This can be a direct link to your help center on your website,

Or this can be clearly indicating your working hours through emails or onboarding UX patterns to avoid conflicts.

But if you don’t show them how to seek help, they won’t bother.

Even if they love your services, that doesn’t mean that they won’t – gradually but surely – start getting unhappy. 

Unsatisfied and uninformed customers won’t complain. They will churn.

#6 – Collect feedback after completed tasks

People love to be heard.

Instead of looking at soulless machines – or people – people prefer to talk. They prefer to express their opinions.

And they want to be heard.

People are in need of products that fit them as if it was specially tailored.

Asking for feedback is not difficult either.

You can conduct NPS surveys; you can send them personalized emails that ask for their opinions. You can even call them if you have the time, but nowadays no 2 people have free time at the same time.

NPS survey userguiding
Conduct an NPS survey, make the customer feel heard, and know what they want!

Isn’t it fascinating how easy and how simple it is to level up the game? After all, simplicity is key, and perfect is in the details.

#7 – Know your strong cards and play accordingly

Simply put: know your key features, highlight them, and make people want to pay for them.

If you make your customers wander around the whole product without highlighting the value of your actual purpose, they will lose interest. Not everyone wants to dig deep into every single product and find the value themselves.

Yours is probably not the only product/service that they considered using. No customer becomes a customer without doing thorough market research in 2021.

I have a great example for this one: Discord.

Discord is an almost fully free communication channel that only charges for 2 things: discount for boosting servers, and using gifs as emojis.

Discord hack customer onboarding
I know a lot of people who pay only for the boost feature.

And I know a lot of broke students who pay for such basic things.

Why?

Because this way, they get more popular among their community!

That’s all?

Yup.

Your strong cards are not your best or unique features. They are the ones that the people desire the most.

  • Just like being able to message on Linkedin.
  • Just like being able to take back a wrong swipe on Tinder.

You can’t expect users to feel eager to get onto the onboarding ship without the push, the desire, the glitter.

That’s why sorting your premium features is an important part of Customer Onboarding.

#8 – Make sure the customers interact with the product often enough

People don’t only pay for the exposure. They also pay to fully benefit from the product.

Though this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will spend the rest of their lives enjoying your services.

No matter how amazing your services are, customers will still need a push, an urge to benefit from what they paid, or else they will stop paying.

This is why push notifications exist on smart devices. They are a great way of kindly reminding that your services are waiting for them to take action.

If you don’t have a website or a mobile application, you should be sending them reminder emails frequently enough to keep them interested, and little enough to not be sent into the spam box.

Which brings us to our other point:

#9 – Make the process as personalized as possible

Onboarding customers require a little more attention than onboarding users, as I mentioned a few times.

The biggest reason why is that customers require personalized attention. They need the solutions that fit their needs perfectly, not almost perfectly.

Building digital help for each individual customer won’t be easy – or necessary – but personalizing the one-on-one interaction can save you a good amount of money.

After all, gaining new customers is approximately 15 times more expensive than upselling or cross-selling to the existing ones.

Meaning that you should focus on having a qualitative perspective of your customers, not a quantitative one.

Why do people who use Spotify get addicted to it?

Because the personalized playlists, shuffle lists, and insights are just perfect. Both for those who don’t want to break their taste of genre, and the ones who are trying to explore new songs that are just written for them.

spotify personalization customer onboarding
I stopped creating playlists after these.

Even such little things do matter when you want to retain a customer.

So make sure to do your research about the customer, and listen to them and their needs. Both for them, and for yourself.

And do you know what the best way to keep your customers interested is?

#10 – Map out the process and inform your customers at every step

This is the simplest most effective way to maximize the quality of your customer while minimizing the need of interaction is giving them a solid list of what you expect from them, and what they can expect from you.

Of course I’m not telling you that you should give them a manual of your services.

If you work face-to-face with them, send them a brief email about the current step and the following ones.

If you have a website or product, give them a checklist – or a progress bar that they can follow.

user onboarding software checklist
Creating a checklist is easy too!

A checklist gives you several advantages:

  • It lets the customer see the process first hand, and interact with it.
  • Completing a task on the checklist will trigger a feeling of accomplishment, which will increase the likelihood of them adopting the product/service sooner.
  • If you have a web-based product, a checklist triggered product tour will be much more effective than just overloading a big tour at the beginning.
  • If you don’t have a web-based product, and you provide your services remotely, the checklist will help them set their expectations to the right place on the timetable, giving you more space to breathe.

The Tale of the Desperate Customer 📖

Once upon a time, there was a customer that needed help with their finances, so they decided to adopt a tool that could help them.

The customer went to company A and asked for help. Company A said, ”I can help you, but it will cost you a fortune because I spent a fortune to build this!”

Then, the customer said, ”I can find someone that does it for an affordable price”

The customer went to company B and asked for help. Company B said, ”I can help you, and my prices are acceptable, but you might face some issues along the way, and you can’t always reach out to me for help, I have a lot to do!”

The customer said: ”But this isn’t a game, they are my finances! They are important!”

With the last drop of hope, the customer continued their search. Then, they found Company C and asked for help.

Company C said,”Sure! I have affordable prices, and you can get help any time even if I’m not around!”

With their eyes glowing with happiness, the customer asked, ”But how?”

Company C said: ”I have UserGuiding to help me AND you!”

UserGuiding will both help you and your customers!

Oh, you want to know the end of the story?

The customer became a loyal promoting user of company C because company C provided a good onboarding, affordable prices, and further help at any time.

So, if you want UserGuiding backing your business up with features like:

✅ Interactive guides, product tours, walkthroughs,

✅ Tooltips, hotspots, in-app messages

✅ User onboarding checklists,

✅ Resource centers,

✅NPS surveys, and more

👉Check out the free trial NOW 👈

5 Common Customer Onboarding Mistakes and Fails

#1 – Not being aware of the red flags

There are 2 kinds of red flags that might be getting in your way:

  1. The red flags you give to the potential customer.
  2. The red flags that the potential customer gives to you.

The red flags you give to your might be:

🚩 Being too technical and lacking the littlest bit of sincerity. In today’s world, where almost everyone is getting more and more robotic, the simplest bit of human emotion will make people feel pulled toward you. This is especially important during customer service needs, but making your human side show in your product is necessary for the best customer experience as well.

🚩 Being too closed up and not sharing enough information pre-signup. Acting mysterious won’t make people wonder what’s inside. On the contrary, it will make people suspect your reliability. So, be it product features, pricing, or even whether you want credit card info for the trial, sharing information beforehand can help create a more positive and seamless experience for the customers.

🚩 Being too open and giving away too much information that bores potential customers. In other words, talking too much. Everyone knows how to talk, but those who know to listen are valued. Don’t fill up your website with too much irrelevant copy just because you need to share more with the customers. Try to listen to your customers and personalize your offers accordingly. 

And the red flags you should look out for are:

🚩 People who don’t seem to care about anything but the price of the product. They might waste your time since they probably didn’t do enough research about your product/services or your competitors. They would be more likely to complain and be detractors unless shown the real value of your product immediately, so a low-touch model of onboarding might not be the best for them.

🚩 People who talk over and over again about their unmeetable expectations. You are human, after all, and you are the one to set the limits of your product/services. No one can expect a cab to shine like a limo or a limo to cost as little as a cab.

As you may have noticed, almost all the red flags can be determined and solved via clear communication. So why are you:

#2 – Stopping follow-ups after purchase

Here I am, telling this again:

Do. Not. Stop. Communication. At. Any. Cost.

As I said before, people do need a push to put your services up to their priorities.

If you stop caring about how your customer is doing as soon as they pay you, you won’t see that money again soon.

Here’s a good example of a customer onboarding follow-up email from Groove:

Groove HQ follow up email example

The tone is sincere, the paragraphs are short, and the message is clear.

So instead of full silence or constant nagging emails, structure a few follow-ups to keep the conversation going without any party getting bored.

Which brings us to our other point:

#3 – Thinking you know better than the customers

Yet another common mistake: assuming that you perfectly understand the customers’ needs without listening to them.

If your rates are going down, if you are not making progress in terms of new customer acquisition, if you can’t attract new people, there could be something wrong with your existing onboarding process.

It might be your reputation, or it might be your customer support.

Assuming that everything will be smooth right after finishing a project or launching a product is a dangerous delusion.

Try to observe your customers, talk to them, get their opinions, and make changes accordingly. Try to be a bit more customer-centric rather than ‘’self-centric’’.

There are several different types of customer personas in SaaS if you need foresight about what to expect when you insist on having former knowledge about them.

Still, what’s something you need to try not doing is…

#4 – Overloading different types of information at once

The introduction. The steps. The niche. The value. The budget. The expectations. The names, terms, numbers, features, colors…

Too much information to take in at once.

Doesn’t matter what your product/service is about; there is always something new to the customer. That’s usually why they pay you.

Think of yourself as a painter. The customer asks for a portrait. Do you tell them all the techniques and palettes you will use at once?

Or do you go step by step, telling them how to pose and when to give breaks as the first step?

If I was a customer, I would prefer the second.

During the onboarding process, the customer is hungry for information, but they’re not experts on the topic, which can cause them to need a bit more time to digest all the new information.

Even if you have a web-based system, people would need time to recognize the functions of buttons.

This is why you might consider using an interactive product tour.

Zakeke product tour
Zakeke’s product tour, powered by UserGuiding

An interactive product tour can help:

  • Reduce friction between the customer and the product,
  • Increase the quality of the given information,
  • Help you visualize the process – which makes it both easier and more memorable.

So what do you do after the product tour?

You definitely shouldn’t be…

#5 – Leaving the customer alone for too long

Just like an employee who doesn’t get enough attention from the boss, a forgotten customer will seek a way out of the current situation.

Did you know that almost $41 billion is lost by companies each year in the US following a bad customer experience?

The most common problem that customers face is not being able to reach out to you immediately.

Then comes forgetting about your existence.

If you are not procrastinating about having to use the product you pay for, you will cancel the subscription after not feeling like using it, right?

Just like that, the customers expect you to be the one to reach out to them and remind them that you are still there to help.

Free & In-depth Customer Onboarding Checklist

​​It’s best to keep things tracked and organized, right?

Let’s divide the checklist into 4 steps:

  1. Onboarding steps before purchase
  2. Onboarding steps after purchase
  3. Onboarding steps after reaching a checkpoint
  4. Onboarding steps towards the end of initial onboarding

It wouldn’t be fair to write unactionable words here and expect you to fully understand it.

Therefore we prepared a throughout Customer Onboarding Checklist that is ready for you to use.

It’s free; we’ll send you a notice for you to download it. Don’t forget to let us know that you want it.

How to Measure Customer Onboarding – Key Metrics & KPIs

You’ve been reading about how much a proper customer onboarding could benefit your product/services. And now we’ve gotten to the part where we talk business:

Now it’s time to learn how to document all the improvements that a customer onboarding experience will bring.

You got it right; I’m talking about metrics to measure. Here are the most useful metrics for your customer onboarding:

Customer Lifetime Value – CLTV

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) is the total value of sales associated with a given customer.

It helps you understand how much value (or profit) a single customer can bring to your business.

Here is the formula for the metric:

The profit margin is the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), and the lifetime value is the customer’s lifetime or the time that your customer stays with you.

Customer Retention Rate

Customer retention rate is the metric that shows the percentage of customers that stay with your brand.

Those who have remained loyal to you for a long period.

Those that are happy with your product and continue to use it.

If you want to succeed, then it is important for your business to have a retention rate above 80%. And here’s the formula to calculate the retention rate:

customer retention rate customer onboarding

And to make everything simpler for you, here is a free retention rate calculator.

Conversion Rate

Conversion rate helps you determine how effective your onboarding has been.

It shows you the percentage of visitors who perform a desired action on the website.

In other words, the conversion rate tells you how many customers that go through your customer onboarding process actually buy something from your company.

👉 A high conversion rate is obviously a green light.

👉 Dropping conversion rates might be calling for change or updates.

👉 A low conversion rate means that your customers can’t get the value fast enough to stick around.

Time to Value – TTV

Time to value (TTV) shows how long it takes for a customer to get value from your product.

You can also say this metric determines how much it takes for the customers to get to the ‘’Aha!’’ point.

You want your TTV to be as short as possible to increase the stickiness of the product/service.

Customer Churn Rate

Customer churn rate is the number of people that stopped using your product or service. Customer onboarding strategies can help improve this metric by reducing the site’s user drop rates.

Here’s how you can measure customer churn:

churn rate customer onboarding metrics

Obviously, any company’s dream is to have a churn rate that is as close to zero as possible. If your churn rates are consistent at a given point and you’re losing consumers after a certain amount of time, you should probably check your onboarding process.

Revenue

Revenue is a metric that shows how well you are doing in terms of finances.

While it’s not exactly one of the customer onboarding metrics, it’s definitely worth mentioning.

In simple words, you need to be able to track revenue against time in order to analyze your progress.

For example:

If your revenue for may 2018 is $10,000 and your revenue for June 2018 is $15,000, you will notice a great improvement in terms of performance.

The main task here is to make sure that the revenue coincides with the time frame of customer onboarding.

3 Customer Onboarding Examples You Need to See

Mazars

Mazars is a company that helps people with their taxes and finances.

When you have such a complicated and important service, you have to make sure that the customers know how to follow and complete each step so that they can get full value out of the process.

This is why their neat move of implementing a help center into their website screams ‘’genius.’’

Mazars help center
This reminds me of Black Mirror if it were on VR.

Many products and websites do have help centers, but keeping it in front of the eye of the customer and customizing it to appeal to the eye makes it even easier to use.

This means: that the onboarding process is more likely to succeed.

And that means: they did an amazing job with such a simple step.

Read up on how Mazars reduced support requests with UserGuiding here 👈 

Clear Brain

As I previously said, customer onboarding begins long before the product trial.

Our resources, such as your website and blog, must be well-designed and definitive in order to deliver a positive onboarding experience.

Then there’s the display or trial.

To persuade the customer, you must highlight your product’s characteristics and demonstrate its value during this time.

Which is what Clear Brain did successfully.

ClearBrain is a data analytics platform that – obviously – needs you to share precise details about your company; therefore, their trial needs to be definitive.

Well, they did a pretty good job on that, even with the welcome modal:

Clearbrain's starting module

And the explanations don’t stop with the first module; they did an excellent job of filling in the actionless gaps while waiting for the results:

Clearbrain further explanation

Ajar

Ajar gives landlords, property managers, and real estate businesses the tools they need to run a smooth property management operation while also giving renters a variety of payment alternatives to pay their rent or invoices, wherever and whenever they choose.

So it has a system that serves the customers’ customers.

This all means that the product has different segments to serve and a small space for failure.

Which made onboarding even more important. And they did a good job.

Ajar product tour
A simple interactive product tour… Every customers dream.

“Our sales team was previously onboarding users by having a 1:1 session with them. This was not always convenient and was very time-consuming. We wanted to expand to the global market without having a physical presence in all countries.”

Marina Matta

Ajar arabic product tour
Oh, so it comes in different languages. Amazing!

Read up on how Ajar saved time onboarding customers with UserGuiding here 👈

Wanna know how YOU can create your own customer onboarding experience with ease? Let’s take a look at the top tools for customer onboarding.

Top 3 Tools for Customer Onboarding

UserGuiding

UserGuiding is a no-code user onboarding software that allows you to create interactive product tours where you can guide your customers through the process.

The most amazing part of UserGuiding is that it brings together almost all the features that you could combine to level up your customer onboarding game, such as:

✅ Interactive walkthroughs

✅ Checklists

✅ Help centers

✅ Resource centers

✅ NPS surveys

✅ Data analysis (DAU and NPS)

user onboarding software

But hear me out; here’s what makes UserGuiding unique: you don’t have to know a single word of coding to be able to use the tool.

Being a fully code-free product, UserGuiding allows you to create interactive product tours with a no-code approach.

Yet, it’s still fully customizable.

UserGuiding customization
I wish it was as easy to put together this article…

Intercom

intercom customer onboarding software

Keeping customers engaged even when they aren’t using the product is a vital component of customer onboarding.

Sending them relevant, entertaining – and personalized, if possible – emails is the greatest way to do this.

Intercom allows you to set and schedule automated emails and keep track of them.

That’s not all, though.

Intercom can also be used to implement a live-chat feature into your product. People wouldn’t have to look for an “additional help” page or leave, if you did it this way.

Because it decreases the possibility of unsolved difficulties and unanswered issues, a live chat function that is directly in front of their eyes will make customers feel more comfortable with your product.

Feedier

​​Feedier is a user engagement platform that focuses on quickly collecting feedback, although it provides more.

So, let’s get started with the details:

Feedier feedback

As I previously mentioned, Feedier focuses mostly on customer feedback.

You already know that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Getting customers from all over the world into using your product will have a tremendous impact on the market, maybe resulting in a spike in your metrics.

Furthermore, Feedier makes it very simple to evaluate and compare the data you collect.

Take a look at how adorable and welcoming these charts are:

Feedier charts
This seems like a cool feature

Here is an extensive list of the best SaaS onboarding software.

Conclusion

User or Customer onboarding? Many people don’t even know the difference, even though it’s quite simple.

As you know now, customer onboarding requires the most when it comes to attention to detail.

What a drag… If it weren’t for the tools that help you.

Your customers are precious. Don’t let them slip away from your hands just because you didn’t know how to get them attached to your amazing product.

I hope I could help you understand the difference, realize the do’s and don’ts, and have a clearer understanding of the topic.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Who is responsible for customer onboarding?

The CSM (Customer Success Manager) decides on the customer Onboarding strategy while the Customer Experience Manager tracks the metrics and overall outcomes of the strategy.


What makes a good customer onboarding experience?

  • A good introduction that points out the benefits of being a customer
  • A fully guided tour that shows the paid features
  • An introduction to the further help and communication channels
  • Regular surveys and follow-ups

How do you optimize onboarding customers?

Make the onboarding process goal-specific. Tear those goals down into steps, and collect feedback after each completed step. Let the customer see the outcomes by the time they reach the goal. This way, they will feel less exhausted and feel more accomplishment.


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Hilal Yıldırım

I’m UserGuiding’s growth-obsessed creative content writer and junior journalist. I like to research and write about growth, onboarding, and inbound marketing. If you feel like we could exchange ideas, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or email! P.S. If I don’t respond, please know that I’m on a road trip with my camera and motorbike.