How to improve onboarding customers: 6 ways to boost engagement

Discover how you can improve onboarding customers with these six effective strategies

Rory Sadler
August 2, 2023
February 24, 2024
Discover how you can improve onboarding customers with these six effective strategies
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All aboard (or on board!)

Onboarding is the process each company uses to get new hires and new users of products oriented with their systems, processes, and products to get maximum understanding. It’s critical to creating long-lasting engagement with users because it sets the foundation and tone for their ongoing experience with your product. We all want to give and get a good first impression, and that’s what onboarding is at its core.

Getting a ton of great engagement during onboarding will set users up for success, giving them all the foundational knowledge they need to make your product or service their favourite tool for success.

At the same time, great engagement during onboarding sets you and your company in a great position because it means less troubleshooting on the little problems and more fans of your service (which leads to great word-of-mouth and more customers in the long run).

But how do you get the most engagement possible during onboarding to create long-lasting understanding and high engagement?

How to Boost Engagement in Onboarding

1. Make Signup a Breeze

We've all had the experience of signing up for something and being exhausted by the end due to all the hoops we had to jump through. So tired we don't even want to do anything with it anymore! This can be because of complicated password rules, 2-step verification headaches, needing information most new hires or new users don’t have, or complex steps that less tech-savvy users are scared to look at, let alone accomplish.

Finding ways to create a signup process that empowers users, leaving them feeling like they know what they’re doing and can continue to do a great job, sets them up for success right from the beginning of onboarding.

A great way to do this is to create a seamless and low-information signup page that only asks for an email. This keeps it sweet and simple, with information most users can access easily. Being able to just signup and start makes onboarding feel more manageable and accessible and will keep people more engaged in it.

2. Personalise the Onboarding Journey

Most users already have a lot to do without taking on tasks that don't necessarily apply to their role during their onboarding journey. Having a wide base of skills is always important but having an in-depth explanation of a task you'll have to do once or twice a year will feel like a waste of precious time.

Personalising the onboarding journey by prioritising skills for certain users or allowing them to prioritise these skills themselves whittles down the task list. This immediately makes it feel more manageable. At the same time, the tasks they are left with are meaningful and important to them, giving users ownership and buy-in over the onboarding process.

There are multiple ways you can personalise the onboarding journey by leveraging knowledge from managers and supervisors to create onboarding packages that help streamline learning.

One way to personalise your onboarding journey is to use a Digital Sales Rooms (DSR). What is the easiest way to do this? Create your own DSR using a personalised microsite (or Pod, as we like to call it).

With trumpet, you can WOW buyers by creating a space with their branding, colours, and imagery. Not only this, but you can automatically fill the Pod with the info about the buyer from your CRM, and add in one-click, custom brand the Pod using their website URL. No design skills needed. Get started for free here.

3. Break Onboarding Down Daily

A to-do list of 50 items long is enough to scare even the most diligent taskmaster. Even those of us who love a meaty to do list can get overwhelmed by that many things. Although we understand the desire to have a complete list of all the tasks and learning points laid out for those who want to know where their onboarding journey is taking them, overwhelming users is a surefire way to make them disengage from the onboarding process.

Instead ask yourself, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is you don't because that's terrible. But if you did, you would do it a bite at a time. Approach this the same way. Break down your onboarding elephant into days and give users a day at a time. Monday is the trunk, Tuesday is the ear, Wednesday is the other ear, and so on.

You can still give users the full picture, allowing them the option to see the whole elephant for what it is. But breaking things down daily can make things feel more manageable in the short run to empower them in the long run. This has also been called course chunking, shown in research to help people remember what they learn.  

4. Make Problems Self-Service

Problems and questions will crop up; it's just an undeniable law of the universe. Having a straightforward and supportive process to handle these problems is a crucial part of any system, but the method in which you allow users to problem solve matters too.

Although some users would indeed prefer to call for a customer success representative right away, a lot more want to troubleshoot on their own. From a customer standpoint, 73% of customers want to be able to solve product or service issues on their own, and 81% of consumers expect companies to offer these options immediately. These numbers translate to users who want to be empowered to handle issues without constantly escalating them to another representative.

Self-service options can cover a wide variety of options like:

  • Knowledge bases
  • FAQ pages
  • Community forums
  • Chatbots
  • How-to guides and videos

Having these available in an easy-to-find hub empowers users. Of course, this isn’t an excuse to have no recourse for people who need to speak to a human. Sometimes the problems and issues experienced have never been seen before and need a superhero. But having easy answers easily available will increase engagement in onboarding.

5. Touch Base Regularly and Early

The first week of doing anything is scary and new, and having a hand available to hold is a great feeling. Not everyone will want or need that support, but knowing it’s easy to reach out and grab if need be is a great way to empower users.

During the first week of onboarding, daily communication can help quickly answer questions, correct lines of thinking, and build a culture around the information contained within onboarding. Touching base for one-on-ones helps solidify the information gleaned during onboarding and helps make users feel like the company genuinely cares about their experience.

6. Identify and Close Skill Gaps within Individuals

This ties into the idea of personalising the onboarding journey but goes a step further. Everyone has a different past and experience, meaning that not everyone will go into onboarding on a level playing field. Our job is to make sure they come out of onboarding with the same knowledge base as everyone else.

You can work with managers and supervisors to identify common skills gaps. It can also be beneficial to give users the option to add skills to their onboarding journey that they would like to add to their tool belt or brush up on. This creates an onboarding journey they’re already invested in.

All Onboard Who’s Going Onboard

Onboarding doesn’t have to be a dirty word that leaves people feeling vaguely confused and uncomfortable. When designing an epic onboarding strategy, the trick is to approach it as though you'll be using it yourself. Empathise with people who don't know anything about the stuff you're an expert on, putting yourself in their shoes so you can find meaningful solutions to connect with them.

At Trumpet, this is our philosophy on life. Connecting with people in genuine and human ways to create better understanding improves all our business interactions. We do that by creating platforms that make sharing information easy, the perfect way to make onboarding a breeze. For more information on how Trumpet is changing onboarding, visit our website.