Best Customer Onboarding Practices: The Key to New Acquisitions and Recurring Interaction

April 28, 2020 | Read Time : 3 mins

Instagram had 90 million active users in 2013. Today, they have over a billion. If that isn’t a brilliant example of customer acquisition.

Customer acquisition is all about converting a visiting prospect into a loyal user. Customer acquisition is a time consuming and expensive process. Businesses spend a lot to promote and drive traffic to their app or platform. While you cannot really control how users respond to your product, you can definitely influence their decisions through smart user interface and experience.

First time experience plays a key role in converting a prospect into a customer. How user-friendly your app is, is as essential as how useful it is. But the buck doesn’t stop here. Apps like Instagram and Twitter, who dominate their fields, pay attention to recurring customer interactions.

The Significance of Customer Onboarding

The first experience users have with your product or service lays the foundation for all future interactions. Putting in place a seamless customer onboarding process ensures that the first impression is, in fact, the best.

Here are some stats to tell you how crucial it is to have an effective onboarding design:

  • An application or service loses almost 77% of its Daily Active Users (DAUs) within the first three days of install.
  • Over 40% of the users do not use the application or service after the end of the free trial period. A seamless and efficient onboarding process ensures that users’ first-time experience with the application is valuable enough to convince them to use their paid service.
  • According to a 2016 survey, over 66% of SaaS businesses lose more than 5% of their annual subscribers. A customer onboarding process can be used to emphasise on the newly added features integrated into the application to acquaint the user with the added value that the service provides.

4 onboarding practices to keep in mind
when designing UI and UX

1. Use Contextual Tutorials

Tutorials are necessary to make sure your new user is not overwhelmed by the features of your product. However, presenting the entire tutorial upfront as a swipe through a widget or a manual can frustrate the user. Furthermore, it is highly probable that users forget what they learned as soon as the tutorial screen closes.

Contextual tutorials are a brilliant way to overcome these issues. Contextual tutorials are tips and helpful information relevant to a particular action that is provided as and when the user confronts that feature of the application. Keeping the welcome screen simple and pushing help pop-ups only when needed makes the experience much neater.

Ways to provide contextual information:

Sample data: Pre-populated sample data can be used to educate users of what is expected. For example, the user description section of your app can have an example summary that very obviously conveys what is expected.

Overlay tips: You can influence a user to take certain actions by directing their attention using highlighted content. Overlay instructions help concentrate focus on the information you are trying to convey.

Interactive approach: Triggering tips and hints only when users reach new areas of the application makes the onboarding process interactive. Users get curious and are encouraged to try out new features.

Using images alongside text is always more impactful and well received. Make sure to use both in your onboarding process

2. Create and Celebrate Milestones

Apps that continue to interact with users on a regular basis bring about a human element into technology. The productivity tool, Asana, for example, congratulates you when you have completed a task or achieved a milestone with a flying unicorn!

Gamified approaches such as these, are effective to send non-annoying notifications or reminders refreshes the users’ reason for installing the app. Incorporate this methodology of celebrating milestones with the user to improve engagement.

3. Use Feedback to Measure Progress

Using both, tracking analytics and user feedback is a great way to find out the pain points of your app. The Elementor plugin in WordPress, for example, asks why you are uninstalling the plugin when you do so. This adds an extra step giving users a chance to rethink their decision. This feedback also helps Elementor improve.

There also are a good number of analytics tools that track user engagement. Metrics are necessary to understand what stage of the onboarding process users drops out.

4. Constant Communication

The initial excitement of using your application is likely to fade away with time. Constant communication through in-app notification with an interface design that seem less intruding are a great way to retain customers and encourage activity.

Having a seamless and sleek onboarding process and effective non-intrusive, gamified approach to keep users hooked to your product or platform can be a potential game-plan to improve engagement, DAU and retention.


OriginUX Studio


Team OriginUX

OriginUX Studio is a CoE for User Experience providing UI & UX across Product, Service and Customer Experience Design. We are a cross-disciplinary design team that loves to create great experiences and make meaningful connections for businesses and their users through UI & UX.

Founded in 2016, our larger purpose is to help brands understand what they want to do and where they want to go. To do that we have to make understanding customer experience simple, effortless, and affordable for everyone.

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