Self-Service Customer Onboarding

Once your advertising efforts have brought customers to your door, the next crucial step is to show them that your products and services are the right choices compared to what the competition offers. The sales process isn’t over, even after customers become interested in your brand.

Have you ever heard the phrase “show, not tell”? The best way to make the final push towards a sale is to demonstrate how your customers will draw value from your product. Experience is always the best teacher, so, in addition to brochures and info sheets — aim for self-service onboarding to allow customers to find out for themselves.

Onboarding matters because customers want to know how your product works in the field before putting down the money. In fact, 63% of customers consider onboarding a vital factor to consider in a purchase decision.

Why is self-service onboarding ideal, especially for markets with complicated solutions like software? And how can you achieve an impactful self-service experience for your potential buyers? Read on to discover this novel marketing approach’s advantages and best practices.

What Is Self-Service Onboarding?

Customer onboarding is the procedure of allowing your clients to familiarize themselves with your products and services. Instead of following a predetermined path, clients pace their own experiences. Using onboarding tools and software, you can demonstrate features and how they work in action so that the client can derive actual value from the purchase.

Onboarding can be a challenge if your solution is unique or contains functions that are difficult to understand at first. Customer onboarding must allow the product to speak for itself. And it’s up to you to make the process easy and efficient for your customers and maximize the program’s effectiveness.

Onboarding overall must be memorable and unique to your product. That’s where self-service SaaS onboarding comes in. If customers have a chance to experience the product for themselves with your guidance, they will be more likely to understand its features and how it fits into their workflows.

Why customer onboarding is the critical step?

Customer onboarding is a critical step because it sets the foundation for the customer’s experience and relationship with a company. It is the process of introducing a new customer to a product or service, and helping them to get started with using it. Some specific reasons why customer onboarding is critical include:

  1. Improving customer retention: By providing a positive onboarding experience, companies can increase the likelihood that a customer will continue to use their product or service, which can lead to better customer retention.
  2. Increasing product adoption: By educating customers about the features and benefits of a product or service during onboarding, companies can increase the likelihood that customers will adopt and use it effectively, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  3. Reducing customer support costs: By providing customers with the information and resources they need to use a product or service effectively, companies can reduce the need for customer support, which can lead to cost savings.
  4. Building trust and loyalty: By providing a positive onboarding experience, companies can build trust and loyalty with customers, which can lead to long-term customer relationships.
  5. Identifying potential issues: During the onboarding process, companies can identify any potential issues or roadblocks customers may be facing and resolve them before they become bigger problems.
  6. Collecting customer feedback: By collecting feedback from customers during onboarding, companies can better understand their needs and tailor their products or services to meet them.
  7. Setting expectations: Onboarding is the perfect opportunity to set expectations of the customer experience, service levels, and the support they can expect to receive after the onboarding process is complete.

What Are the Benefits of Self-Service Onboarding for the Organization?

The challenge of sales demos is that you’ll never know what features your customers will use the most or what order they will go through them. For instance, some might be interested in only a section of your software package. Self-service matters because it allows buyers to discover your solution on their own terms. It’s also:

  • Easily understandable. Customers will see any instructions you provide during an onboarding session in the context of the solution itself. Self-service often implies self-guided onboarding, where customers can pace their progress. This personalized experience is more memorable and keeps your customers loyal to your brand.
  • More effective than other marketing means. Compared to long tutorial videos or lengthy documentation, a hands-on, interactive experience is often more engaging, encouraging customers to work with your brand.
  • A faster way for customers to find value. Self-guided onboarding accelerates the time-to-value as participants learn how the solution works within context. It’s easy to imagine how a software platform fits into your workflow when you see the features in action in front of you.
  • Scalable. In a self-guided onboarding program, your product does most of the work. Your teams can then spend less time providing support and more time improving the product itself.

What Are Some Product Onboarding Best Practices?

You overall want to convey the value proposition clearly during the session. Be ready to answer questions and keep in touch with the customer during and after onboarding. You also want to:

  • Know your audience. Marketing teams conduct customer segmentation analyses to understand their audiences better. Onboarding programs likewise benefit from knowing their exact use cases and preferences. This information makes the onboarding process more personal.
  • Focus on interactivity. Make onboarding a complete walkthrough where users can learn more about the product while accomplishing goals along the way. This level of instant gratification is what sets interactive onboarding apart from other marketing methods.
  • Introduce new features slowly. Don’t load up all the features at once at the beginning, as this approach quickly overwhelms the customer. Explain only the tools and functions customers show the most interest in first. For instance, if a customer clicks on a specific menu option first, add tooltips to dig deeper into that option specifically.
  • Reduce friction at touchpoints. From ambiguous instructions to overtly complex landing pages, any source of friction is a reason to click off. Aim to reduce customer frustration at any point in the onboarding process.

Self-service onboarding is also not difficult to set up, even for complicated software onboarding programs.

How Can Self-Service Onboarding Tools Help?

Virtual IT labs are the premier form of onboarding automation for companies to take advantage of. These services are perfect for software onboarding, training, and sales demos because they generate a controlled sandbox environment that allows for open experimentation of your solution.

Customers don’t have to worry about messing anything up; they only need to reset the virtual machine to start over on a fresh slate. These virtual labs are also the most accurate representation of how a product will work in a real-world scenario.

Give Your Customers the Reigns with Self-Service Onboarding

By putting control of onboarding into the hands of your customers, you create richer and more memorable experiences that are more likely to appeal to their needs. Let your product speak for itself and do your best to minimize potential frustrations by emphasizing interactivity and introducing new features slowly.

Self-service onboarding is easily achievable through automation tools like virtual IT labs, which offer open sandboxing for experimenting with your product.


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