6 Common Onboarding Mistakes That Make Users Abandon Your App
Words by
Jennifer Poblete
Last updated
December 1, 2021
6 Common Onboarding Mistakes That Make Users Abandon Your App

Did you know that 25% of users abandon an app after 1 use? 

Yup, that’s true because there are just so many distractions today. 

So as a SaaS founder, what should you do?

I can almost hear you mentioning onboarding. And that is right since they will be your first engagement to your users. 

But some SaaS still commit mistakes here ― making some users forget about them altogether :(

That’s why in this post, we are highlighting 6 of the common onboarding mistakes made by SaaS businesses. Hopefully, you can avoid them too.

However, let's define user onboarding in SaaS and discuss its importance first.

What Is User Onboarding in SaaS?

They are a series of steps you prepare for a user who found you then signs up. The main goal of user onboarding is to guide a user to fully learn your service and move them closer through the sales funnel.

They are similar to how an HR representative grooms someone for work and familiarizes him with the company. Just subtract the work part and bring everything to be digital.

Why you should work on your Onboarding first

The answer is pretty simple. You need to help your users understand what your service does fast, so they purchase quickly. But aside from that, good onboarding helps:

  • Turn new visitors into loyal customers
  • Reduce your churn rate
  • Opens opportunity to upsell/cross-sell

See? You really have to get user onboarding right. But not everyone gets it accurately from the get-go. Here are some of their typical bad practices. 

Common customer onboarding mistakes that most SaaS businesses make

  1. Treating the onboarding emails as the start of onboarding

Let’s get this straight. Onboarding emails are NOT synonymous with the Onboarding process. Therefore, you are not supposed to treat them as the start of your user onboarding. 

But if you’re curious where it does, let me tell you this ― the onboarding process starts where target users first discovered you. May it be a Facebook ad, a paid Google search, or other organic inbound sources.

The best practice here is to keep your messaging consistent and straightforward. Regardless of your first touchpoint with them, ensure that you deliver clear, concise information wherever you redirect them to your site. They should resonate with one promise of what you can do(or can’t do).

  1. Overthinking onboarding when starting out

I get you. Even if you’re a startup, you want everything to be and do perfectly. That’s a great attitude you have there, but I discourage it when planning your onboarding process. 

Instead, keep it simple. Your ‘perfect’ onboarding plan may have its drawbacks greater than what you can gain. Because if it’s too complicated to implement., your onboarding will likely fail. 

Simply, create the onboarding funnel with your ideal customer in mind. Let them have a fun, easy-to-follow, and educative experience with you. And as you go along, you can optimize the process when you gain enough data to correlate to.

  1. Or not having onboarding at all

Imagine going to a restaurant one evening night. The usher welcomed you but after that? Nobody paid attention. Not even the waiter who took your orders. But before you leave, they ask you if you want to buy their takeout goodies. 

Disappointing, right? Chances are you’ll just leave or stay for the night but never ever come back. 

The same with onboarding. 

You mess up if you just focus on sales but do not respond to your user’s questions or inquiries, usually through nurturing emails. Don’t just be there and wait for them to ‘order’ again. 

Poor customer experience might have you losing money on the table.

  1. Making users “work” for it

What’s the point of creating a product if there’ll be no one who can use it? Yes, you made it thinking many will benefit from it. But if no one understands how to use it, nobody will dare try it.

This is one of the most common mistakes made by SaaS. Setting the tool to be too difficult to use when you can just tell them what to do next.

Worse you give no guide or manual. So, i’s like you’re preventing your users to reach their aha moment.

  1. Being overly teachy

Yes, I just told you to make your app easy to use. That includes product tours. But you have to keep them sweet and short. 

Because one common mistake is treating your users as a baby. An infant that needs guidance every step of the way.

There should be freedom for users to explore your app. 

  1. Not measuring your onboarding properly

Do you know what you’re users are doing inside your app? If you just said no, then there’s a problem.

Not knowing the behavior of your customers is not knowing where you should improve too. 

How to Avoid Them?

  1. Understand who your customers are. 

To better picture “who” they are, think of your ideal customer avatar. Understand their behavior as they move through the customer journey. This way, you see when and where they start engaging.

  1. Create a framework for your onboarding process. 

Do you plan the onboarding strategy last? Don’t. Know your first touchpoints until they reach your dashboard. . If you are just starting out, keep your onboarding simple. Simply, deliver a consistent message of your deliverable.

  1. Always stay in touch. 

Your onboarding emails are the channels where you deliver messages. And their primary goal is to help users reach their ‘aha’ moments. But they shouldn’t only educate. Troubleshoot too and check upon them using in-app messages. When necessary, you can also reward them or recognize their achievements.

  1. Customers will be more engaged if you make your onboarding program’s navigation easy and intuitive. 

However, guidance should not come at the cost of making it necessary to complete all steps at once. Make sure there are “skip” buttons that allow them to skip certain product tours or just provide backlinks. 

  1. Follow your customers along the way. 

But only intervene if they are stuck! This means that your customer service team must always be there when users need them. So, definitely, they should be well-versed of your service.

  1. Assess your performance. 

Visit your tool and measure the outcome of your onboarding strategy. Is there any room for improvement? Onboarding is not a one-off project, so rely on data results for optimization. You know that numbers don’t lie :)

On common mistakes during user onboarding

User onboarding is a good opportunity to convert users. It is a great way to show how well you value customer experience. At its core, learning is a part of onboarding, so implement education techniques and teach users (but do not get overboard).

Have you made some of the mistakes we mentioned above? It’s time to make a change. There are ways to avoid these common onboarding mistakes. 

Sounds like a daunting task for you and your team? We're here to help! Let us plan, craft, and execute the onboarding campaign that will convert new customers. 

Reach out today if this is something you'd like our team to take care of for you. 

*This article is inspired by CaaSocio cofounder Aiza Coronado’s onboarding walkthrough. See more at SaaS Marketing PH.

Main image source: vecteezy.com

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