Onboarding content is often an afterthought. Customer Success Managers or Onboarding Specialists will walk customers through a product in a live training, and the information is quickly forgotten, or the customer leaves feeling like they were just completely overloaded. It’s clear that heightened awareness around onboarding as a critical component of the customer lifecycle is changing this, and customers are demanding that companies make them successful. That starts with providing the right information and resources during onboarding. If you’re building out your onboarding program, here are a few onboarding tips you may want to think about as you plan and create your content.
1. Understand in-product prerequisites
Depending on the complexity of your product, it is necessary to take a deep look at what knowledge is required to accomplish certain tasks and speak to that first. You can think of these things as in-product prerequisites. For example, in Skilljar, we have the concept of student “groups.” While knowledge of the existence of groups is an important part of planning your training portal, you can’t actually create them without having a solid understanding of several underlying features in the product.
Onboarding content is frequently crafted without this in mind and is simply a conglomeration of all the features that exist in no thoughtful order. Plan for prerequisite knowledge to make the learning experience more effective and productive.
2. Think about the best way to share the knowledge
You’ll likely find that certain information is better learned and absorbed using different methods. Rather than employing a one-size-fits-all approach, embrace this fact and plan to create various types of content. Think through the skills you need to teach and how you can best establish an understanding of it. Is it something learners need to see, or can they read about it? Can you use a .gif instead of a longer video and get the same message across? How much time do you anticipate learners will be willing to dedicate to getting up to speed with your product?
Additionally, If you’re teaching complex workflows that may need future reinforcement, provide resources like cheat sheets for the next time it needs to be done, or include a call to action with a break in content to allow the student to hop into your product or lab environment and complete the workflow once right away.
3. Segment basic understanding from success
It’s tempting to provide all the information that someone will ever need to know to be successful with your product on day one, but it can be overwhelming and your learners are unlikely to retain the information. Practice restraint by segmenting the knowledge. Think about what is required to gain a basic understanding of the product and entice your student to dive in further and engage in self discovery. You can test your onboarding program and gather feedback later to determine if you included too much or too little information, but separating essential baseline knowledge from the all the rest is a great place to start.
4. Consider different use cases
It’s likely that different personas with different use cases are going to be using your product. Think of this when you’re planning and creating content and craft it in a way that it can be tweaked to accommodate varied needs. Content creators regularly spend hours crafting content for varied use cases as an afterthought, but a little bit of planning can make things considerably easier later on. Evaluate what each of the use cases have in common, then create your content in a way that allows pieces to be swapped out as needed. You can use a training platform to thread together proper learning pathways and surface them to learners based on their needs.