Customer onboarding

Customer onboarding is the process of introducing a customer to your organization’s product and ensuring a seamless experience. It also includes reacquainting users who're logging into their account for the first time in a while or being introduced to a new product feature. An onboarding experience is part of what makes up the first impression of an organization and is considered by some to be the first stage of the lifecycle, so it’s critical to get it right. Just as a book or film only has a few moments to reel you in, a great onboarding experience reinforces trust in your organization and can turn adoption into customer retention and loyalty.


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Pulkit Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO of Chameleon, discusses the topic of onboarding with UserTesting, “User onboarding, while it's typically considered at the start of the product journey, really applies across the product lifecycle as you build functionality.” He continues, “And in the world of product-led today, where the companies that have the best products and the most usage in engagement are the ones that win—it's really vital that companies have a method, process, and system and tooling to continue to onboard users onto features and drive engagement adoption.”

What are examples of customer onboarding? 

  • Tutorial videos: Instructional videos offer an overview of the platform or product and ideally answer customers’ questions before they have to go looking for customer support. 
  • Help articles: If you have a question, others are likely also wondering the same thing. Help articles are an opportunity for organizations to predict customers’ needs and answer them in one place without users having to look somewhere else.
  • Welcome emails: Who doesn’t want to be greeted? Whether you choose to go with an in-platform message or email, this messaging can humanize the product and get users better acquainted. 
  • Optional surveys: An onboarding experience always has room for improvement. Get input straight from those who matter, your users, but make it optional or consider offering an incentive.
  • Chatbot: There may be times when a help center or article can’t fulfill all of your users’ needs. By providing a chatbot, you’re offering one more chance to answer their questions before they dial support or ask for a support agent.
  • Sign-up forms: Many templates exist, so you don’t have to start from scratch. Remember that ideal sign-up forms are to the point, don’t ask for too much right away, and offer optional fields.
  • Progress meters: When it comes to onboarding, more transparency is always better than less. Be upfront about how long onboarding will take, whether in the form of a time estimate or progress meter—which can keep users motivated as they watch the progress bar get closer and closer.
  • Tooltips: Also known as hover help, tooltips serve as online assistance that offers insight into less intuitive features or icons.

How UserTesting customers leveraged user feedback to improve their onboarding experiences 

How Canva boosted conversions 

Graphic design platform Canva realized their onboarding experience was the key to dispelling users’ doubts about their design abilities. With the help of human insight, Canva redesigned the onboarding process and prevented hundreds of thousands of people from struggling to use the product.

How Zendesk increased CTR by 300% 

SaaS vendor Zendesk noticed that their software’s onboarding page had lower engagement than they preferred. Leveraging the UserTesting Contributor Network, they created help center articles and collected feedback on a “get help” button—which led to a 300% increase in clicks within the first two months of making changes.

How Jotform increased completion rates by 800% 

Tech organization Jotform needed a rebrand to keep up with its expansion. One of their three critical areas was to ensure that the onboarding process set customers up for success and discover friction points. They considered including video tutorials and questioned whether their instructions were clear enough. Compared to their initial product onboarding process, their new version, influenced by human insight, saw an 800% increase in completion rates.