The Client Onboarding Ecosystem – What You Need and Where You Need It

For every software company that has ever existed, (fast) user adoption is a critical metric that will help determine whether or not your company will thrive or die. After all, if all you can do is get users to sign up for a free trial or a single year of use and then they don’t adopt and actually start using your software, they will eventually churn out and you’ll end up with no customers and no profit.

Getting people adopted as quickly as possible is key, and we like to think there are three tactics that can be deployed together to develop a top-notch user adoption program:

1) In-App Guidance

In-app guidance is a great place to start for new users, particularly if you offer self-signup where they can get access to your software before you have a chance to talk to the new user. This shouldn’t replace an entire training program, but rather show your user the basics of your software and one quick use case. The goal should be to get the user comfortable being in your software and able to complete a few simple tasks.

Software to use: Walkme seems to be a popular option in this space, but a few other options include Iridize and Tour My App.

2) Self-Service/Face-to-Face User Training

Self-service user training can be as in-depth as you’d like, but by the end of the training, a user should be able to sufficiently complete all tasks that would be required of a majority of uses for your software. It doesn’t have to cover every last scenario imaginable (that’s where the third piece of the puzzle comes in), but a user should be given thorough instruction in this stage to ensure that they understand how to best use the software. There may also be a face-to-face component of the training as well (either by visiting the client or by using a web conferencing/screen sharing tool), depending on your specific scenario.

Software to use: Have you heard of Lessonly for self-service training??? It’s pretty great. For face-to-face training, we’ve found that either using Google Hangouts, Join.me, or Uberconference has worked well depending on the client.

3) Knowledge Base

As a user is moving on from their first in-app guidance, as well as user training, they are going to start to dive in to their specific plans for how they are using your software and entering their own information. As they are doing this, undoubtedly they will come across questions about specific ways to use the software. This is where a knowledge base can be handy, as users are able to go an ask their specific questions and find articles that match their situation. Planning for each and every situation with user training and in-app guidance can become overly time consuming and difficult to implement, but quick articles answering these specific situations gives the user immediate feedback and removes a reason to stop using your software.

Software to use: There are lots of options in this area, as most case management systems seem to have a knowledge base option. Tools like Zendesk, Desk.com, Helpscout, and Uservoice among others.

A Case Study

Tinderbox is a sales automation software company. Prior to deploying their entire suite of client onboarding tools, they were relying heavily on web conferencing services (in addition to starting their knowledge base) that took up time that could be spent doing other, more productive activities. Because of this, they first developed a series of self-service training lessons that walked their new users through how to do a majority of the actions a regular user within their application would take. This relieved a lot of their problems, however, they saw a gap in terms of getting new users up to speed on some of the very basics of their software without having to leave the app. Because of this, they developed the third leg of their user enablement training with an in-app walkthrough of how to do a few basic tasks.

Know of any other companies that are doing a great job at enabling their users? Let us know in the comments below!

Image source: Giphy

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