User Onboarding

The 6 Most Common User Onboarding Mistakes 1,000 SaaS Companies Made

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Join Aazar in discussing the 6 most common onboarding mistakes that companies make. Learn more about how to avoid common pitfalls when trying to create the A-ha moment during that crucial User Activation phase- and make sure you know how to keep those users interested.

Aazar Shad:
Hi there. This is Aazar Ali, I am Head of Growth at Userpilot. Userpilot is a User Onboarding software and product adoption tool. We really care about User Onboarding and that's why we created a research lately and the State of Product Onboarding in 2020. The research finding were so interesting for us. We found a couple of mistakes and based on that we created a session for product led growth. This is an exclusive research that we are first time sharing it with you guys first and also hope these common mistakes that have been done by a lot of SaaS companies add value to your current Onboarding. If you're making these mistakes, then you can quickly go and fix it. Hope you enjoy the session, cheers.

Aazar Shad:
The State of 2020, SaaS Product Onboarding research, and you can get free access by clicking on this link and just dive into it if you want to learn more. So, first thing first. How did we actually do that research? So research methodology. We personally signed up for those thousand SaaS companies, which is in the link there and we spent around 120 minutes on each of them to look at their sign up flows, to look at their Onboarding, to look at the email sequence. It took us a lot of time. It took us four months to actually do that and it took us also thousands of hours, thousand plus hours actually.

Aazar Shad:
A team of five people actually were able to create this together. But you will be curious why did we actually do it? The reason why we did this, because we wanted to learn how other SaaS companies are doing their Onboarding, regardless of they're using Userpilot or not. How they're doing good stuff too, so that we can learn from them and share best practices with our customers. And also to find gaps, mistakes, and then suggest the best practices wherever we think we could be useful. And so we found six mistakes most of the SaaS companies are making with the data back with it. Hopefully you enjoyed this and hopefully if you're making this mistake, you can fix it.

Aazar Shad:
So the first mistake that is really surprising to us was, there was no welcome screen. Around 40% of SaaS companies still don't have any kind of a new user welcome screen, where they are welcoming the user, where they are telling the user, "Hey, we welcome you to our app" and click here for the first action they want to drive towards. And this was very surprising.

Aazar Shad:
Imagine right now, for example, instead of digital world, you're in the physical world and you go to a restaurant, there is somebody at the door greeting you when you go into that restaurant. And after creeping in, people come to you, the waiter comes you, and then they give you the menu card. And that menu card is basically next action, right? When you come in there. The same way, the welcome screen will work for digital world. And it was quite surprising that a lot of SaaS companies are still not greeting their users. The reason why those restaurants have that kind of experience, because you want to make a great customer experience, the same way you want to give a great customer experience digitally to your own app. And that's why we think it's the first reason why it's important. The customer experience.

Aazar Shad:
The second reason why I think this is very important is because, you want to take them towards a key action inside your app. And that key action could be anything that is a first event they should do to understand the "Aha", of the "Aha moment of the app". And we found that there were not a lot of them. So I have 40% of them, didn't welcome and didn't take the key action. The second thing we found out was that with our own Onboarding, the screenshot that you see is that, 99% of the users were able to click on those actions and go forward. So it improves your activation rates. It improves your adoption rate and they initially use the Onboarding and that we found was not there. So this is one of the mistakes. And if you're doing this mistake, probably you can fix it just by signing up your own app and see if it's there or not. So, that was the mistake Number 1.

Aazar Shad:
Then mistake Number 2 that we figured out was a lot of SaaS companies around 72% of them, they do not have any contextual Onboarding in them. Contextual Onboarding seems like a heavy word. So I'll explain what it means. Contextual Onboarding is when you learn from the user behavior inside of the app and give the right pop up or pull the right message at the right time in the user journey. How do you do that? You do that by using customer rents inside your app. And we found out that around 72% of SaaS companies do not have any customer rent. When you do click on certain option or button, the next button does not drive you to do certain action in that. So a good example to make you understand more it's HubSpot.

Aazar Shad:
HubSpot is an app, it's a CRM. We all know about them. HubSpot started product led growth. The reason why HubSpot was so good as example, here is because I was using the free tool, their free CRM. And while they're using their free CRM, I also installed the Chrome extension. And while installing the Chrome extension, I realized that I was using it a lot, but I was not using the email templates. And so I was copy pasting to email. I was copy pasting it to a couple of people. And the second time, or the third time I copy pasted an email, and they understood my behavior in there. They showed me a popup saying tired of copy pasting. Which means that they were learning what I was doing in app, and then showed me the right message at the right. This is very powerful. If you can do this inside your app, this would make your Onboarding super powerful by having just custom events. What the user has done inside the app and what he hasn't done and showed them the right thing at the right time.

Aazar Shad:
So how to take advantage of custom events in user Onboarding. How can you think about it? The way you can think about this by thinking about the first initial "Aha", how do users in the first three events they want to do when they come inside the app? How do you want to show them the key feature activation? And then once you have done this, you can show them feature A, feature B, feature C, feature D, which is the product adoption side, which means that they have understood the value of the app. And now it's time to keep helping them discover new features. So you can have around five to 10 events, after user activation event to know what the user should be doing. And based on those in app custom events, that user does, you show them the next thing. So you don't leave them hanging, basically. This is what I would recommend to add context inside your app.

Aazar Shad:
The third mistake that we've seen in this research was that there was no personalized Onboarding. A lot of SaaS companies, even during our tear downs, what we've seen is that, a lot of SaaS companies, they go in there, they take your personal data, they take your data and they try to understand, collect data basically, but they do not utilize the data inside the app. And that's something that I would highly recommend to utilize those data point that you're asking. It's just not for your CRM. It's also for the users inside the app as well. So take that data and use it to personalize the journey. And what we found out that 52% of the SaaS companies did not take advantage of the role, use-case, goals, industry, employee count, whatever that is. And only 35% of them are actually using goals inside the Onboarding. Which is a good number, but comparatively it's still like half of the SaaS companies are not doing. So this is something is now a norm, and we think that should be utilized much more effectively. So these are the three mistakes so far.

Aazar Shad:
The fourth mistake that we found inside the User Onboarding SaaS research was that a lot of companies, again, this seems they don't have customer wins set up. They don't know what the user's doing. So naturally what even further boils down, they are not celebrating their wins. I think User Onboarding should have milestones. And I also believe that SaaS companies have a lot of superpowers. I can save the user stand, do a lot of things. SaaS companies have a lot of superpowers. It can make them productive. It can make them intelligent by analytics. There are a lot of things that are there, based on different SaaS companies and these superpowers, when somebody understood the superpowers of that SaaS company in the User Onboarding, you should be able to celebrate that. And which was kind of let down, that only 17% percent of companies are actually using user milestone. And this should be part of the Onboarding, which we do recommend to our customers as well. And the best way to actually add the milestone is to just have a simple checklist.

Aazar Shad:
Userpilot also provide a simple checklist there. You can use Userpilot checklist, but like just put any kind of checklist. Only 54 companies are using checklist and 46% are not. So checklist is now a norm, right? So checklist is something that's there and it improves activation rate and everybody knows it, but still 46% of the companies are not using it. Which was again, a let down. You can add those milestones user to understand what they have done inside the app. And it improves user activation as well. So that was the Number 4 mistake, which is not celebrating the milestone and not sharing those superpowers. So that was something really interesting for us. And we do recommend our users to add those checklists and milestone so that user can understand what they have achieved so far.

Aazar Shad:
The fifth mistake that we've seen, and this is something that I thought will not be there. That I thought that a lot of companies are already doing this. This was when the user does something inside the app, users get an in-app event. The behavior triggered event, which is aligned to an email. So the email automation is not a new norm. Email automation is there. So whatever the user does something inside the app, you send them an email with "Hey, great. You did something. This is the next step." So not only in-app but also out-app Onboarding is really important. And the reason why I'm saying is because you see this email, that was fast, is when the user actually installed the Chrome extension in Userpilot. So in Userpilot, the first thing user you should, when they sign up, we tell them to install the Chrome extension, as you see in the welcome screen. And the second thing we tell them after entering the Chrome extension is to install the JavaScript. These are two big events are installed triggering experience. So what we found out that after, right away, when the user uses an in-app event, does an in-app event, we send them an email and the email respond rate was 70%. So this was the best practice that we found out, which works for us. And we found out that 88% of SaaS company did not send any email based on in-app triggers.

Aazar Shad:
Yes, they do send it based on days, but in-app events are still missing, which means that if the user does something in the first 60 minutes or two hours of initial Onboarding, if they have achieved something, they've done something should take them to the next step by showing them an X email. Which was again missing, and we do recommend that to connect your in-app Onboarding to our out-app Onboarding to completely give a great experience to the user. So that, was at mistake Number 5.

Aazar Shad:
Now we have the last mistake and this is something that we preach to our customers as well. We personally believe that product tours to not help. And the good sign is that not a lot of companies are using Product tours, but 29% are still using product tours. And 70% of the companies are not using any kind of a product tour at all or nothing. There's no product tour. There's no product education in there. Only 24 person of the company that have some kind of Interactive Walkthrough. You need to understand difference between product tours and Interactive Walkthrough. Product tours are tool tip that show us, "Hey, click here next, next, next, next," and Interactive Walkthrough is something where you tell the user, "Hey, click here" and then go further in there to click them. So to show them the "Aha," very quickly. Salesflare does really well when you sign up for Salesflare. You can also look at this in our tear down here. Just search Salesflare Interactive Walkthrough and you'll find something which is basically our tear down.

Aazar Shad:
This Interactive Walkthrough is something amazing because they have actually spent time on it. And what I believe that if you are able to create a driven action based Interactive Walkthroughs where you tell the user, "Hey, click here, then click there," to understand what the feature does rather than just educating them, the user is much more likely to understand the product better. And instead of just showing them Product tour, "Click next, click next and click next."

Aazar Shad:
So the left example is Vanguard. They have a Product tour in there. They talk about certain buttons integrature. And the right one is Salesflare. So 24% of the companies have some kind of Interactive Walkthroughs, but like 76% of them still don't. And I think this is a new way of Onboarding where you should utilize the clickability part, the typability part, the ability for user to drag and drop. The ability to use or to use the keyboard and then show them the Interactive Walkthroughs. You have an example from superhuman where they make you click on certain things by keyboard actions. Again, that's very interactive as well. So you use those things to actually not make those mistakes.

Aazar Shad:
So these were the six mistakes there, which I believe that could be improved and that that were done by many SaaS companies, as you see the data. And the next part is how you can quickly fix these mistakes. Either you create your own Onboarding or you some Onboarding tool, or you can also use something like Userpilot. And you will have a welcome screen. You will have triggered events, you will have checklists and you have Interactive Walkthroughs in minutes, not in weeks. So that's also an advantage. But I'm just saying like, you can use somebody else as well. If you're already using a tool, maybe just look if you make these mistakes and now do it and try it, test it out for yourself. Do that one thing.

Aazar Shad:
The second thing is like dive deeper into if you, so this was just doing part. The other part is learning. You can click on it. I will give the resources also on the page as well, to click on protocol Onboarding research, and then dive deeper. What other mistakes do users have done or what other data points that are there that you can learn from? You can definitely join a Product Adoption School. That's a five email course with Education Academy that we created for free so that users and researchers can learn from it. And if you want to improve your own product adoption, not only existing product adoption, but also new user product adoption, that's great for that. And the third thing is that, you can continuously learn from us. So I invest, we do onboarding teardowns every second week and we're going to share those same mistakes. And so maybe you can learn from it and what are good parts about the app and what are bad parts about that app.

Aazar Shad:
And maybe you can learn from it. Maybe it's fun for you, and you can also fix those in your own app as well and maybe it gives you ideas. So that was a quick fix for those six mistakes. I'm basically done. I would like to thank you for watching this summit video, perhaps it helps you. You can definitely reach out to me that email address aazar@userpilot.com and on my Twitter, Aazarshad. You can also comment below in the summit and tell us what was surprising for you, what was interesting, what do you still challenge that might not be true. Obviously you have also, might've signed up a couple of apps as well.

Aazar Shad:
So we're very excited. This is just a starting point. I would love to discuss further on the forum and listen to what other ideas you have. If I've missed anything, couple of mistakes versus also mentioned in his own definitive guide. I have not mentioned that because that's already known. I've just given those mistakes that I think were relevant and a bit newer as well. So that's all from my side, have a good rest of the day and wherever you are and keep learning and feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Thanks. Bye-bye.

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Gretchen Duhaime
Aazar Shad
Head of Growth at Userpilot
Aazar is Head of Growth at Userpilot. Userpilot helps product teams deliver personalized in-app experiences to increase growth metrics at every stage of the user journey.