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7 Customer Onboarding Process Examples

7 Customer Onboarding Process Examples

Skilljar
June 17, 2024
Customer Onboarding
Customer Success

Customer churn is a constant threat to any business. But what if there was a way to turn new sign-ups into lifelong advocates? Enter the customer onboarding process—the critical first steps that influence the entire customer journey.

An effective onboarding strategy goes beyond just demonstrating product features through a welcome video. It's about understanding the customer’s needs and providing them with the knowledge to get the full value of your product. Not all customers will use your product in the same way. By building a smooth, customized experience across every touchpoint, you foster customer engagement and build strong relationships.

The result: Successful onboarding drives customer retention and loyalty. In this article, we'll explore seven customer onboarding process examples that will show you how to transform new customers into enthusiastic brand advocates.

1. Personalized welcome email

A new customer just joined your community—congrats! The first email they receive sets the tone for your entire relationship. Here's how to craft a welcome message that feels genuine and gets them excited to explore what you have to offer:

  • Start with a warm welcome and express gratitude
  • Acknowledge that they had other options and you appreciate them choosing you
  • Offer help and briefly mention resources available, like tutorials, FAQs, or a dedicated support team

Keep things simple. Avoid overwhelming them with too much information. Here is an example template:

An example welcome email message.

Benefits:

  • Creates a positive first impression
  • Makes customers feel valued
  • Sets the tone for the onboarding journey

2. Interactive product walkthrough

After the warm welcome, it's time to introduce your new users to the product. Interactive elements like clickable hotspots, call-to-action buttons, and on-screen guidance can transform passive learning into active exploration. When customers experiment with features, they experience the results of their actions and receive immediate guidance—all within the product interface.

Quizzes strategically placed throughout the product walkthrough reinforce understanding. Multiple-choice questions or short fill-in-the-blanks assess knowledge retention and identify areas where the customer might need clarification.

Benefits

  • Interactive elements keep users engaged
  • New customers go from passive learners to engaged users

3. Self-paced learning modules

Beyond a product walkthrough, you can create self-service learning modules that suit a particular user’s need based on their role or the specific product offering they will be using. self-paced modules allow users to fit training into their busy schedules, revisit key concepts for deeper understanding, and tailor learning to their preferred formats–all on their own schedules.

Benefits:

  • Accommodates varying learning styles and prior knowledge
  • Allows users to revisit modules, take breaks, and progress at their own pace
  • Automated modules free up customer success teams to focus on more strategic interactions

4. In-app guidance and contextual help

Interactive product tours are a great starting point, but for an even more customized onboarding experience, consider in-app guidance and contextual help. 

Customer onboarding is not a one-and-done process. It needs to continue every time you introduce a new feature. Here’s where In-app guidance—strategically placed messages and tooltips that appear as a hover option over an element with bite-sized explanations and links for further information.

If you make a change or update to your product or a feature, contextual help ensures any place that product or feature is mentioned, all users can receive the same information on it no matter where they experience it in their journey. Contextual help offers relevant tutorials or FAQs, giving targeted support precisely when needed in a streamlined way across your platform.

Benefits:

  • Provides ongoing support within the platform
  • Minimizes frustration by offering just-in-time explanations
  • Streamlines product updates or new features throughout your platform 

👉 Check out this case study to learn how Automox (IT automation platform) reduced customer onboarding time by 75% using Skilljar

5. Gamification and rewards

Incorporating game-like elements throughout your learning content, such as points, badges, and leaderboards, can make the continuous onboarding journey more engaging. Earning points for completing onboarding tasks can motivate users to progress further. Badges act as mini-achievements, recognizing milestones and boosting user satisfaction. Leaderboards can spark a little friendly competition, encouraging users to learn and explore at their best.

Even with your learners completing their work at their own pace, there are opportunities to add in some gaming elements that will keep them enthusiastic about their learning.

Platforms like Kahoot are a great way to add links to some fun, interactive elements that can enhance your content and make it fun for your audience. 

Gamification can also be strategically linked to rewards. Consider offering incentives like exclusive content, early access to features, or even discounts for completing onboarding milestones. This adds a tangible benefit to the playful experience, further motivating users to actively participate.

Benefits:

  • Makes learning fun and motivates users to progress
  • Keeps learners engaged throughout their journey and gets them primed to want more instead of becoming overwhelmed with new information

6. Customer success resources

To nurture long-term successful customer relationships and maximize customer lifetime value (CLTV), SaaS companies need to provide ongoing learning resources that customer success managers can refer users to. For example, a knowledge hub empowers customers to find answers to their questions without calling their CSM (customer success manager). A comprehensive library of customer success resources such as articles, videos, and step-by-step guides,  plays a key role in helping customers navigate challenges independently, and become self-sufficient users. 

Customer success resources go beyond troubleshooting. You can share case studies and customer stories that demonstrate how similar businesses used your platform to solve pain points and achieve success.

Benefits:

  • Frees customer support and customer success teams from responding to common customer requests.
  • An LMS can be integrated with a knowledge center through a single sign-on (SSO). This allows users to access a variety of resources, including the knowledge center, product, community platform, and training center, using the same login credentials.

👉 Read this case study to see how Paycor automated manual processes to create a more scalable model of training using Skilljar

7. Automated follow-up and feedback

Automated follow-ups, surveys, and feedback mechanisms ensure a two-way conversation, keeping you informed of how effective your onboarding content is for engaging customers. Think of automated follow-ups as gentle nudges. Strategic emails can check in on customer progress, offer additional support, or highlight helpful resources based on their onboarding stage.

There may be some customers who haven't completed a step in the onboarding process. Timely follow-up emails remind them of the next step and offer assistance so they stay on track. Gentle prompts like these prevent your users from abandoning the onboarding process while demonstrating your commitment to their success.

User feedback is important for refining your onboarding processes. Automated surveys or feedback forms can be strategically placed throughout the onboarding journey. These should be concise and easy to complete, encouraging users to share their honest experiences.

Benefits:

  • Minimizes confusion during onboarding as to what a user’s next step is
  • Ensures customers have the means to interact and maintain a two-way dialogue
  • Feedback helps identify areas for improvement

Implementation:

  • LMS platforms can automate sending follow-up emails based on user actions or inactivity at specific points in the onboarding process.
  • The LMS can integrate with survey tools (e.g, Typeform, SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics) to deliver targeted feedback requests at key onboarding milestones.

How Skilljar can improve the customer onboarding process

Skilljar is a customer training solution that helps you better onboard, engage, and retain your customers and partners. Skilljar provides a cloud-based learning management system that makes creating courses easy, distributing them to web and mobile devices, and tracking learner progress. 

Through Skilljar, companies accelerate product adoption, automate onboarding workflows, reduce support costs, and increase customer satisfaction. Here’s how:

  • Skilljar can track user progress through the walkthrough, identify areas of dropoff, and adapt the learning path accordingly
  • Skilljar can host different content formats (video lectures, interactive modules, downloadable PDFs) for self-paced learning
  • Skilljar can provide certificates upon completion of modules, rewarding users for their engagement and signifying their understanding
  • Skilljar offers tools to create gamified elements like points, badges, and progress bars
  • Skilljar can integrate with your apps (e.g., Appcues, Pendo, Intercom) to deliver in-app guidance and contextual help in-app guides designed by companies like Pendo, Intercom, Appcues, and WalkMe are a great complement to training found in Skilljar.

Watch the Skilljar demo to learn how our platform can help you create a customer education platform to improve the onboarding experience.

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