Make onboarding a positive user experience

Scott Dubois / February 21, 2018

A sale, or conversion is not the end of the buying funnel. While it may indicate that the customer has said “yes”, adoption is the lasting measure of success.

If adoption is the true conversion for your business then you should make onboarding the best experience possible. If the onboarding process goes south, all of the time and resources to get a customer could be for naught.

Rethinking Your Funnel

Does your funnel include onboarding and adoption? If not, it should. At its roots, onboarding is about meeting the needs and expectations of the customer. If your funnel ends at the sale, how will you be able to influence and enhance onboarding? For many companies, this is a missed opportunity.

As an example, the numbers on adoption rates aren’t great for software platforms. Less than 40% of CRM users fully adopt, according to CSO Insights. The struggle with adoption is universal. However, much of it can be resolved with better onboarding. If you have an onboarding process that isn’t working or don’t even have a formal one, it’s time to build a strategy to get adoption and revenue up.

Reduce Friction

The goal should be to move from sale to use as quickly as possible. Some companies have the luxury of this being an immediate possibility. However, some relationships are more complex. Special contracts and legalese are inserted into the conversation which can extend the timing. If this is your company, consider allowing users to read and sign documents online. Although it might not be hard to do this, requiring increasingly antiquated processes such as printing or even emailing, slows things down. Whenever you can automate and digitize, do it.

Offer Self-Training

Chances are that your customer does not want to sit through a conference call to learn how to use your platform. Forcing customers to attend a live training means that schedules have to align, which can always cause headaches.

Instead, consider offering short video how-tos that go over major features or processes. Dividing the content in this way gives the user more flexibility – and is an asset that is available to review again. The concept seems simple, but even big brands fail here. Some Amazon Kindle models only played the set-up video once when it’s initially turned on, then it was gone.

Onboarding Should be More Than Just Directions

Treat onboarding like an experience. It’s not just sending a customer a login and a getting started manual. Continue the conversation with users. Throughout onboarding, offer tips and tools to do more with your platform. Most users of software don’t use all the features, and chances are that it is because they are unaware of them. Some simple “Did You Know” reminder pop-ups are one approach. Focus on benefits. Users want to know how the product will make their lives better or easier.

Onboarding Doesn’t Stop

Onboarding isn’t something that only happens once at the beginning of the relationship. It’s an ongoing part of client retention. Your technology, service or platform isn’t going to stay the same. It will evolve, new features will be added while others may be retired. The product should change to reflect customer needs. And, you’ll have a better pulse on those needs because you’ve engaged your users. User feedback is a goldmine for new future development.

A Great Experience Yields Adoption and Retention

Onboarding shouldn’t be ignored in your sales funnel. By creating a better experience from the start, users will be more inclined to adopt and stay.

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