At Skilljar, we are often asked about in-app guidance tools – when they should be used and how (or if) they work within the Customer Education ecosystem. The good news – just like peanut butter complements jelly, in-app guides designed by companies like Pendo, Intercom and WalkMe are a great complement to training found in Skilljar. In this post, we’ll explore the different types of in-app guides we typically see, how they integrate with Skilljar, and a few examples from current Skilljar customers. Let’s dive in!

What are in-app guides? 

In-app guidance is like a GPS that you’ve pre-programmed for your customers. These tools provide users with friendly prompts to keep them on track. Software companies often use this type of wizard to walk customers through onboarding or new features by surfacing instructions while a user is establishing a new workflow.

The tools in this category promote a holistic training ecosystem and add value to the Customer Education portfolio by adding just-in-time guidance. Users are able to learn how to complete a task or get a feel for the product without having to leave the product itself. Companies create in-app guides in order to provide task-based training that increases productivity and reduces time to value when customers encounter a new product or feature for the first time. 

Increase Training Consumption with In-App Guides

For new customers, or for those seeking a refresh of your product’s fundamentals, in-app guides are a great way to “hold your customers’ hands” as they explore and learn, without requiring CSMs or Support team members to physically (or virtually) be with them. Once customers are familiar with the basics of your product (having used tools like in-app product tours), in-app guides can then be used to encourage longer-term product adoption among users who need additional training to develop product mastery, to reinforce complex tasks, and to understand the concepts that inform their decisions inside a product.

Combining the power of in-app guidance with a Customer Education Platform like Skilljar enables companies to effectively address the needs of both new and experienced users. Links from in-app guides that direct to coursework within a training program not only increase traffic to the training program (and, incidentally, increase awareness of training offerings), they also help satisfy learner needs exactly when they arise. 

Essentially, any opportunity where it makes sense to surface an in-app guide to a user is also an opportunity to direct that user (via deep-links) to additional training in an external education platform. Bundling training links with in-app guides reduces the barrier to entry into a training program and, at the same time, helps to deflect support tickets and “teach users how to fish” on their own.

In-App Tools to Consider

Some of the tools Skilljar customers commonly use for in-app guidance include: 

Pendo: Pendo combines powerful product usage analytics with user guidance, communication, feedback, and planning tools to offer a complete integrated platform for digital product teams. With Pendo, teams can understand product usage, collect feedback, measure sentiment, onboard users, and announce new features in app—all without requiring engineering resources.

WalkMe: WalkMe’s Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) seeks to make digital adoption simple, while also increasing enterprise productivity. The platform works as an invisible layer of visual cues and personalized content that is placed on top of your company’s website or software, providing contextual guidance in real-time.

Appcues: Appcues’ Product-Led Growth Platform enables anyone to publish personalized product experiences, including tooltips, modals, etc., quickly, as well as measure the impact of that personalization on key business goals. Appcues also enables organizations to understand when and how to intervene with a human touchpoint.

Intercom: Intercom is a customer messaging platform that enables businesses to connect with customers via chat, including the use of automated bots and interactive apps to manage customer interactions at scale.  

How in-app guides integrate with Skilljar – Deep-linking / SSO 

The Skilljar platform was designed from the ground up to allow for deep-linking. In other words, it’s possible to direct users to specific training resources immediately relevant to their needs from links hosted within or from outside the platform. As courses and lessons are created and published in Skilljar, they are assigned unique URLs that give them a permanent home on the web. In combination with an SSO connection, deep-linking can enable a powerful and seamless user experience where it takes only a single click to start a training journey.

Customer Spotlight: Zenefits

Zenefits uses Pendo to support users with in-product walk-throughs. The company uses the in-app notifications as part of its training dashboard to issue tasks customers need to complete. For example, during the first 90 days, certain customers are required to go through an enablement process. There are milestones (or tasks) that each customer needs to complete to finish setting up the platform and learn how to use the tool. Each milestone (in-product task on the dashboard) contains a link to the appropriate part of the onboarding learning path in Skilljar. There are training courses that need to be completed at 15 days in, 30 days in, and 45 days in, all the way up until the learning path is completed and Zenefits is fully set up. These notifications have increased customer training engagement during the enablement phase and have resulted in a decrease in Support tickets during the same period. 

Zenefits and Pendo

Zenefits also uses Pendo to increase product usage for features that customers are not using and/or that they never set up. For example, Pendo is segmented to display a set of customers who are not using ‘X’ feature or at a certain stage of their onboarding. When a customer fits this segmentation, Pendo launches from the user’s dashboard (in-product), takes the customer to the section of the product that is not set up, and highlights the benefits of that feature while walking the customer through the steps. The first step of the Pendo tool links to the relevant course in Skilljar so that the customer gets a preview of what they will need to do in-product before starting the walkthough steps.

Pendo analytics also allow Zenefits to track the user journey so that the company can track when a customer takes a Skilljar course, whether they go into product and either start using or activate the feature. Since implementing Pendo, Zenefits has seen double-digit increases in product usage among the targeted segments and the linked courses have seen notable increases in both views and registrations. 

Zenefits and Pendo

Customer Spotlight: Jamf

Jamf’s integration with Pendo is directly connected with the company’s catalog of courses hosted on Skilljar. Throughout the Jamf Pro interface, users can click on the dedicated icon (see image below) that, upon clicking, will take the learner directly to the most relevant training course on Skilljar (second image). 

Jamf and Pendo

Jamf and Pendo

There are innumerable ways to take advantage of in-app guidance in tandem with a Customer Education platform like Skilljar. Whether the goal is onboarding new users or helping existing users find continued success (or both), in-app guidance is a valuable means of ensuring customers feel supported without a heavy lift on Customer Success or Support.