What are the biggest mistakes in user onboarding?

Yes, user onboarding is vital in helping users benefit from your product and find value in it. 

If you want to retain your users, you HAVE TO provide an excellent user onboarding experience by taking care of every small detail.

Because

When done in the wrong way, your onboarding can be the reason why your users are churning out of your product!

Seeing some crucial mistakes in many SaaS products’ onboarding processes, I wanted to show you some mistakes that you should avoid in your onboarding.

Now let’s talk about some of the most common mistakes SaaS companies often make in their onboarding process.

What is considered a bad practice in User Onboarding?

In a single sentence:

Any practice that prevents users from learning how they can solve (and actually solving their problems easily) with your product is a bad practice.

Your goal in your onboarding is to help your potential, and existing users better understand how they can find value in your product and find solutions to their problems, and in doing so, you need to make it easier for them to do it.

What can be considered good practice in your user are producing quality content that showcases and explains to first-time users and existing ones how relatable your product is in solving their problems, providing product tours, excellent customer support, collecting feedback, and many other elements that make your users’ life easier.

Before discussing the biggest mistakes, let’s talk about some fundamental practices for providing an excellent user onboarding experience.

Without analyzing the success, onboarding is in vain

To make all of your efforts meaningful, you have to make everything trackable and have measurable results. So the first fundamental mistake is not being aware of what you are trying to improve and not being able to assess the situation.

You should be setting trackable processes and create measurable funnels to see how your current onboarding process performs and compare it to the next alternative. There are some excellent alternatives to complete this task, such as Google Analytics, Woopra, Mixpanel, or Amplitude.

Choose your metrics and KPIs before building the onboarding process

Once everything is measurable, it is time to define your Ultimate Goal for the onboarding is; this could be in terms of engagement, signing up, or subscribing. Please do not forget! Your Ultimate Goal could also change during the course, and it will probably be changing a lot. With each metric measurable, you will find correlations between events that will lead to a more desirable outcome for your business. To feed your Ultimate Goal, you should set Sub-Goals; those will be the ones leading the process till the end.

A big mistake for a SaaS company is not having a specific goal; you and your team should gather together to define the goals in the first place.

6 User Onboarding Mistakes you need to Avoid

As mentioned before, user onboarding is all about details, and if you want to succeed with yours, you need to pay attention to every small detail.

To provide a satisfying onboarding experience, you need to have an all-around understanding of what user onboarding is and a perspective on how your users would experience your onboarding process.

To help you better comprehend what user onboarding is and help you distinguish yourself from those who make a vital mistake, let’s talk about when user onboarding starts and when it ends.

1- Not understanding that onboarding is an ongoing process that begins way before users start using your product!

This, as I said, is a vital mistake that prevents you from acquiring new users and retaining the existing ones.

User onboarding is a process that starts way before users start using your product. 

Let’s make this clear; onboarding starts with the first interaction of users with your business!

That is to say; you need to create content that clearly defines how users can benefit from your product. In doing so, you should also eagerly showcase your product. It is essential that you explain to users what they can expect from your product.

Similar to the idea that user onboarding doesn’t start once users start using your product, it also doesn’t end after completing a product tour.

Onboarding is an ever-ongoing process that requires you to constantly identify the users’ needs and expectations, come up with solutions, and help them benefit from those solutions.

2- Not providing an easy Sign-up process

Now that we’ve made it clear that user onboarding starts way before users begin using your product, it’s time to put an emphasis on the sign-up process and understand that it is also a crucial part of user onboarding.

Asking too much information during the sign-up may discourage users, and it is definitely one of the worst user onboarding mistakes you can make.

It is basically losing the game before even starting…

You need to provide convenience to users, and the best way to do it is to allow users to sign-up with their Google or similar accounts.

Remember! The goal of your user onboarding is to make it easier for your users to adopt your product. Once you fail to do it, your product adoption rate will never reach the desired rate.

Here is how a good sign-up process should look like for an excellent user onboarding:

sign-up process for an excellent user onboarding
You only need to ask what’s necessary and help users sign-up in a single step!

3- Onboarding is not only a product tour

Yes, product tours are the building blocks of a solid user onboarding experience. It is through product tours that you guide your users in finding the value of your product and eventually benefitting from it.

However, the mistake that many SaaS businesses often make is that they think that a product tour is enough for onboarding users.

That is NOT the case!

This does not mean that you shouldn’t give the utmost importance to product tours. On the contrary, you need to give users a great product tour to introduce them to your product and help them understand how they can use the features most efficiently.

Here is Ajar’s product tour created with UserGuiding:

Ajar's product tour created with UserGuiding

The last thing that you would want in your onboarding is to waste your users’ time. That is why it is a big mistake to have a product tour that doesn’t give users the option to skip.

You should give users the option to skip the product tour because they may have already taken the tour.

4- Not providing checklists, progress, and time indicators

In line with not wasting your users’ time, you should also not leave them without a clue how much time they will spend during their onboarding.

Not every SaaS business pays attention to it but not providing checklists, progress, and time indicators is a big user onboarding mistake. You need to help users better schedule their time during their onboarding process.

In this regard, checklists, progress, and time indicators will help you provide a much more efficient user onboarding experience for your users.

Here is an example of checklists from ClickUp:

ClickUp checklists example for user onboarding

As you can see from this example, users are provided with a checklist that also shows how much each step should take during the onboarding process.

6- Not using a third-party user onboarding platform

Last but not least, if you don’t use a third-party onboarding platform, you might be wasting a lot of valuable time and energy, which is one of the most common user onboarding mistakes.

User onboarding tools will help you create much better onboarding flows in a short amount of time. 

These platforms allow you to analyze product data, segment users better, and eventually provide an excellent onboarding experience.

UserGuiding All-in-one no-code user onboarding tool

UserGuiding can help you in your user onboarding with its many features, such as:

  • Interactive Product Tours,
  • User Guides,
  • Onboarding Checklists,
  • Analytics,
  • Segmentation/Targeting
  • Feature Highlights,
  • NPS Surveys,
  • In-App Messages,
  • Customer Feedback Gathering

UserGuiding’s onboarding tool doesn’t require any technical knowledge, which means that it is easy to use for any non-technical people or teams in your organization.

Here is a glimpse into UserGuiding’s product guide for user onboarding:

UserGuiding user onboarding tool

It is a very simple and affordable product that you can easily integrate into your existing onboarding process, or you can use for creating a satisfying onboarding experience from scratch.

UserGuiding user onboarding tool for avoiding msitakes

Conclusion

The biggest user onboarding mistakes are caused by not thoroughly understanding what it actually means! 

In this article, you’ve read the biggest mistakes in user onboarding. However, you need to constantly pay attention to details because you may have many other small mistakes that are made in your own onboarding process.

In order to these small mistakes in your own onboarding process, you need to have an end-user mindset and constantly analyze product data and collect feedback to improve your weaknesses.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the most common mistakes during the onboarding process?

The most common mistakes during the onboarding process can be summarized as:

  • Thinking that user onboarding starts once users start using your product >>> NO! It starts with the first interaction of users with your business.
  • Narrowing down user onboarding into a product tour >>> Product tours are crucial but user onboarding is much more than product tours.
  • Making it hard for users to download and sign-up for your product >>> This will lose you many potential customers.

Why does a user onboarding fail?

There are various reasons that a user onboarding fails. You need to first understand that there is no size that fits all! You need to create personalized and well-targeted onboarding experiences to help users better relate to your product.

Mert Aktas

Mert is the Marketing Manager of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

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