How to win at customer onboarding

Nov 10, 2017 by
How to win at customer onboarding

If your onboarding process is irritating, long-winded, or user hostile in any way, this sets a negative tone for your future relationship. After all, the best businesses are the ones that focus on customer retention, and if you can’t begin the relationship well, then it’s unlikely to end well!

Mathias Luz does not mince his words when describing the importance of onboarding on business growth:

As I say all the time, the seeds of churn are planted early, and those seeds are planted deep if your onboarding experience for new customers or your prospects during a free trial is terrible.

If you are noticing a high churn rate within the first two months of use for your SaaS business, you can bet that poor onboarding is a contributing factor.

Fortunately, you can implement the following customer-centric tips that will make your onboarding process smooth and efficient, encouraging your users to stay with your service for longer.

Discover your “Aha!” moment

ThoughtThis is simply the moment when your user discovers how awesome your offering is, and how it will positively impact them (if you’re not offering something awesome, no amount of onboarding tweaking can help you).

Your onboarding process should be engineered to lead new users to this point as fast as possible. For example, the “Aha!” moment for Dropbox is when they put their first file in their folder. After this point, the expectancy of them continuing to use the application increases dramatically. What is this moment for your business, and how can you convey it as simply and impactfully as possible?

Less is more

People want to get to the value as fast as possible. They don’t want to have to scroll through infinite pages in order to start using your application. The best onboarding processes are incredibly concise.

For example, Tinder onboards users in only 4 pages, and you can sign up using your Facebook account in order to move even faster.

Consider the minimum amount of pages you can communicate your value propositions and deliver the basic instructions that a person needs to start using the application. So long as your onboarding process isn’t lacking in essential information, aim to onboard new users as fast as possible.

Encourage invitations

For collaborative services, you need your friends, colleagues or both on the app otherwise it won’t be useful. Don’t make people wait until they are set up before they invite their friends – it’s much more effective to incorporate this into the onboarding process.

For example, Azendoo is a tool that allows remote team members to communicate with one another. During the onboarding process, new users are encouraged to set up their team and invite their colleagues. Once they’re logged into the application, their colleagues have already received invitation messages, which means you can get an entire team onboarded and productive within a matter of minutes.

While this benefits the user, it also benefits the brand tremendously. Every new user that signs up will bring their friends and colleagues with them. These individuals may work on their own projects in the future, and bring yet more people to the application.


Ultimately, effective onboarding is all about succinctly conveying the core features of your service while simultaneously pushing the new user towards the “Aha!” moment. You don’t need to teach a new user everything at once, just the bare bones. Once a person is emotionally invested after reaching the “Aha!” moment, then they’re much more likely to stick around.