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How to improve the customer onboarding process in 2024

• 6 min read

You might have a good product. You might even have a great product. But if your customers can’t figure out how to use it, your product isn’t going to make you any money. Customers are excited and optimistic when they hit the buy button on your website. They’re hoping that your product is the solution they need to a problem they are experiencing. But their excitement can quickly become frustrated when they encounter unclear instructions, elusive features, and frustrating results. Their excitement fades, they churn, and you are left wondering how to improve customer onboarding process elements. 

An effective customer onboarding strategy is key to your business’s long-term success. It turns first-time users into confident pros and fosters loyalty that translates into long-term, sustainable growth. Customer onboarding is directly linked to customer retention, a crucial metric within the SaaS industry. So knowing how to improve customer onboarding processes makes all the difference.

But learning how to improve the customer onboarding process doesn’t have to be complicated! We have a step-by-step guide you can implement today to turn a confusing customer onboarding process into a terrific user experience. 

Disclaimer: The information below is accurate as of April 17th, 2024.

7 steps for improving the customer onboarding process

When you start determining how to improve customer onboarding process factors, remember that your customers want to learn how to use your product. New customers have invested in your product because they believe it can help solve a problem they are experiencing. It’s your job to show them how to do it as quickly as possible. You need to demonstrate how they are getting value for their investment in your product. By showing them value through user onboarding, you’ll have:

  • Loyal customers
  • Higher retention rates
  • More word-of-mouth referrals

Here are seven steps to help you decide how to improve your customer onboarding process or journey.

1. Define a clear goal 

From your perspective, a successful customer onboarding process results in customer retention. But what does successful onboarding look like to your new customer? If you want to make the process a positive experience, you need to step into their shoes and ask yourself what goals they are trying to achieve with your product. Do they want to complete a specific task, accomplish a goal, or understand the essential functions of your product?

When defining customer success, you can set a clear and achievable destination for your onboarding journey. Having a clear destination makes creating the necessary resources to help your customers achieve their goals much easier. You can focus every step of the process on assisting them to reach that goal quickly and efficiently. By doing that, you keep your customers engaged. You also increase their satisfaction with your product from the start.

2. Personalize the customer journey 

Customer success can look very different for different customers. That means their onboarding journey is going to look different, too.

To make the onboarding experience more personal, segment your new customers based on factors like their goals, tech skills, and industry. Creating different onboarding flows for each segment can deliver a more personal onboarding experience.

Personalized onboarding experiences also eliminate giving the new user unnecessary instructions on unneeded features. Instead, they get an onboarding journey tailored to their needs and aren’t bombarded by information they can’t or won’t use. This streamlines their learning process and helps them get more immediate value from your product.

3. Make it more interactive

No one wants to read a dusty old user manual. Effective onboarding goes beyond boring blocks of text and helps users learn by doing. Use tools like:

  • Walkthroughs that show workflows and demonstrate features
  • Product tours that help them get familiar with different in-app tools
  • Tooltips that pop up the first time users explore a new function
  • Onboarding checklists that motivate new users to keep exploring features
  • Gamification strategies like badges and point systems that keep users engaged

These interactive elements make onboarding more fun and cater to different learning styles. They help turn what could be a tedious chore into an enjoyable exploration.

4. Let users learn independently

The onboarding process should primarily be self-service. If it’s high-touch, fixing that is an easy strategy for how to improve your customer onboarding process. When users can teach themselves how to use your product, they aren’t putting additional strain on your sales team or customer support department.

Create resources like self-guided tutorials, searchable knowledge bases, FAQs, and product walk-throughs. These resources should help them build their foundational knowledge of the product and learn where they can find answers to questions along the way. Making the process more independent makes it less intimidating because they can learn at their own pace. It’s also great for encouraging new users to explore functionality and put it into practice sooner.

5. Offer continuous support 

While you’ll want plenty of self-service resources, you also want to let your customers know you are there when they need additional support. Welcome emails are a great way to help users connect with your customer success team after activation and signpost them to all available resources. Send follow-up emails when they reach certain milestones to check in and see if you can offer additional support. These follow-up emails are an opportunity to prevent onboarding roadblocks and provide solutions to workflow frustrations. Being proactive about support is a great way to boost customer satisfaction.

6. Measure, monitor, and respond to key metrics

As in most areas of modern business, data is vital in the customer onboarding experience. Part of how to improve customer onboarding processes is knowing where to make those changes. You need to carefully monitor key metrics such as:

  • Completion rates: Track the percentage of customers who complete key onboarding steps, such as signing up or finishing a beginner tutorial. Higher completion rates tell you that users enjoy and successfully navigate the process.
  • Time to value: This metric tells you how long it takes new users and their team members to achieve a desired outcome. For example, how long does it take them to complete a project? Faster time-to-value suggests they have a good onboarding experience and get value from their investment.
  • Engagement levels: How engaged are your new clients? Look at how often they log into your service, how frequently they access certain features, and how much they interact with tutorial content. The more actively they engage with your product, the more value they are getting.
  • Customer churn rate: Track the percentage of customers who cancel or stop using your product within a specific timeframe. Low churn rates mean they had a good onboarding experience and are more likely to become loyal customers.

Use the data from these metrics to identify areas where you need to improve client onboarding. You may see a spike in churn rates when they use certain features, for example. You can respond by developing new resources explaining that feature, sending follow-up emails to customers after they use the feature, or having a chatbot walk them through the process. Data can help you identify problem areas, refine your process, and ensure your onboarding is as effective as possible.

7. Get customer feedback about onboarding experiences

Along with quantitative data, make sure your team is gathering qualitative data, too. This can come directly from your customer base in the form of:

  • Customer feedback and surveys: Ask customers directly for their feedback about their onboarding experience. Look for feedback regarding the clarity of tutorials, ease of use, and helpfulness of the available resources.
  • Social media posts: See what new clients say about your product on social media and review platforms, especially concerning onboarding.
  • Net promoter score (NPS): This metric measures customer loyalty and how likely they are to recommend your product to others. A high NPS score is good news for your onboarding, but it’s also great for the long-term success of your business model.

Getting direct feedback from your clients can help you understand their pain points and celebrate customer successes. It can also give you ideas about refining the process and keeping customers engaged.

Experience the ripple effects of better customer onboarding

The onboarding experience is your customer’s first impression of your product. Making this first impression a good one can help set the stage for mutual long-term success. By using the seven steps listed above, you can empower your customers and create an enjoyable, informative, and useful onboarding experience.

Incorporating onboarding best practices creates a positive ripple effect for your business. Retention rates soar, customers are engaged with your product, and loyal customers become brand champions recommending your products to others. Customer lifetime value skyrockets, too, and that’s a critical factor in the long-term financial success of your business.

When you are eager to create a better customer onboarding process, Docebo can help. Our AI-powered LMS can help you create exceptional onboarding experiences for new customers. We can help you create personalized onboarding journeys with adaptive learning paths. Use our platform to build interactive learning modules with gamification features and intelligent support. Your customers get the onboarding experience they need to start effectively using your product, and you get detailed data and reporting to help you continuously improve your onboarding strategy.

Turn first-time users into lifelong loyal customers. Visit Docebo today and discover how our AI-powered LMS can set your customers up for success.

Ready to get started? Request your Docebo demo today. Let us show you how our platform can maximize your chances of success when preparing new customers for long-term success and retention.