UserOnboarding.Academy is a non-commercial community. It is free and will remain free.

Getting Started with Customer Onboarding in 2022

In this article, we will talk about what customer onboarding is, why it matters, a good example of how it should be and some best practices.
Written by
Hilal Yıldırım
Published on
February 22, 2023

The customer onboarding process should be just like the book that allures you to a point where you cannot abandon it anymore (theoretically speaking!).

You expect to face a thrilling situation when you start reading a book. One that draws you so in that it makes you finish the whole book in a day. 

You might even call it your favorite book as it is so captivating. 

You might start to compare it to the other books you read, but it eventually wins. Then, finally, you realize that it is THE book, and you go and read it once again. 

This case somewhat resembles Customer Onboarding


Because the same elements lie in the nature of onboarding journeys. 

The ultimate goal is to demonstrate what your product or service is capable of in such a way that it mesmerizes your customers. Therefore, you make them stay and keep coming to your product or service. 

Let's dig more into it. 

What is Customer Onboarding?

The proper showcase of your product or service.

The correct way of assuring business growth. 

The ongoing process that helps your audience understand, thus value your product or service.

Hence, a terrific method to lessen the churn rate while increasing the retention rate. 

In other words, the customer onboarding process should be just like the book that allures you to a point where you cannot abandon it anymore (theoretically speaking!).

How to guarantee that? It's not like there is a "Table of Contents" for it.

Oh, but there is. 

Fortunately, it is also very simple in theory: Make sure that your product or service's customer onboarding journey is exceptional to ensure the positive experience maintains happy customers

Let's grasp why it is so crucial in today's world.

Why is Customer Onboarding So Important?

One of the top reasons is that it plays an essential role in customer retention.

Understanding why is as easy as ABC; if your target audience is content with what they get from your product or service, it is highly likely that they will continue using it. 

However, it might not be that simple in practice because you must secure a place in their life by providing a warm welcome, a detailed yet clear introduction of your product or service, and insurance that they won't be alone in case something goes wrong. 

Provided that you manage to fill the gap in their lives, you will have loyal customers

Customer loyalty is good for not only decreasing customer churn but also attracting potential customers due to the positive onboarding experience. 

How? Just imagine the time when Thanksgiving nears. Everyone is in a sweet rush; they are following their traditional recipes for the family gathering. 

When the dinner is served, and you start eating, you cannot stop thinking about how delicious the dish your aunt made is, thus you ask for the recipe. Consequently, you follow the recipe and try it with your friends. You are happy, your friends are happy, and your stomachs are thrilled. 

In this scenario, tasting your aunt's dish counts as one of the customer experiences, and you are pleased with the outcome, so it's the customer satisfaction you've got.

Then, you share this result with your friends. A week later, you get a call from your best friend about the dish, and she says that she made it for dinner and her family loved it. 

Now, you have another customer, thanks to the other customer! That is why you should always prioritize your customer onboarding experience, as it is the way to boost your revenue

It might be a little too easy in the story, but if this were an actual product or service, it would be more challenging to learn whether your product or service gets referred or not. 

That's why you should get customer feedback

Conducting a Net Promoter Score survey after the initial onboarding process would only do you good; you would learn more about your customers' thoughts and if they would recommend your product or service to someone.

This way, you could see if your onboarding model works for your buyer personas and could be the next topic for word-of-mouth marketing. 

User Onboarding vs. Customer Onboarding 

Onboarding steps differ according to the form they belong to. Therefore, it is critical to set these two apart: user and customer

A user is a person who is using your product or service without paying. They are assumably interested in it but not enough to pay for it.

A customer is a person who is using your product or service and paying for it. They are not only interested in it but also investing in it

Both of these personas go through user onboarding at first. 

They get to meet your product or service as you present your assets and benefits via interactive walkthroughs, guides, and checklists during the entire process. 

It would be best to have a genuinely effective onboarding that persuades them to achieve onboarding success. If you do, you will see your activation rate going up

Once your potential customers decide to become your actual customers, that's where the customer journey starts. 

At this point, what you have to do is clear: Keep them coming. It would be highly advantageous to maintain customer engagement while onboarding customers so that they purchase your product or service regularly and don't switch to another product. 

As a consequence, you will witness both rising: conversion rate and retention rate

Let's exemplify this, shall we?

A Great Example of a Customer Onboarding Process

To digest all the information above, I shall give you an excellent example. is a multifunctional task planner for your team's work with ready-made templates for you to choose from. You can work with your team, create templates according to your workflow, and visualize any plan you have on this platform. 

Let's start going through it!

It requires the minimal amount of time by offering a one-click signup form.

Consequently, it requests to know your full name and what you want to be named in this account.

After obtaining your email address and name, it asks a few additional questions to personalize your in-app screen according to your needs:

As I've chosen the Work category, the following questions are all about the work I'm doing to provide me - and my team members - a wholly worthwhile product. 

After choosing the suitable answers for you, it asks for the tools you might connect to your account later:

As an indication that the end of the personalization of your account is approaching, it wants to learn where you've heard about the product itself:

In the last pop-up of this process, it allows you to add your teammates:


This is the end of the personalization of your account.

It might seem like a lot of screens coming back-to-back, but they require the least amount of time as they ask short questions and are very practical in terms of designing your account. 

Right before it arranges a hands-on experience with the product, it makes you choose a template to start: 

Instead of choosing a template to start with, I chose the one called " Basic Training" to literally train:

After choosing the template, there are no welcome modals or such. 

Instead, the main screen that presents the template appears with a tooltip that reveals from where you can change the name of the project: 

Then, it shows you where you need to click to name your groups:

 The last tooltip highlights the place where you can add more items:

There are no tooltips present in the rest of the customer onboarding program. However, the learning process continues with the Learn & Get Inspired section that includes how-tos:

If you press Learn More, it automatically opens up another tab that shows you the real deal via helpful videos:

When it makes sure that you understand its logic, it lets you experience it firsthand on the main screen - the training template in this case. It might go for a customer onboarding template as well: 

This is the main screen of the template; therefore, most customers sign up for this. Once you click on one of the items - as it is a training course that is a part of the customer onboarding phase, it informs you about the item via videos:

Also, it shows you that the completion bars are not automatic, and you need to check them yourself to finish a section. It offers you three options to choose from: watched, working on it, and need to review

The completion bars fill according to the options selected. Let's assume you haven't finished all the tasks; then this is how the bar will look:

Once you exit the template (your workspace), this onboarding checklist appears on the right of the screen:

Right after you finish another task, the completion bar fills up just like this:

Congratulations, you are now an onboarded customer! After this step, there are no longer any tooltips, interactive guides, or checklists.

However, if you decide to pay for the product and click on See Plans, there is a chatbot that could help you with four questions:

After answering your questions, the bot asks you to rate its performance. Just between us: If you choose an option below the average, it asks for your feedback, too. Besides, they hold weekly webinars to present their product, new features, etc. 

Even though I consider as an effective customer onboarding example, there are still some elements it lacks: 

Firstly, the basic training template is at the end of the list. However, this shouldn't be the case as someone might see a template they are looking for, thus they may choose it and start.

Secondly, there could've been a sign that shows me which trial I was using. I had to check the pricing details to see that it was the Pro plan. 

4 Best Practices of Customer Onboarding

What is a good customer onboarding strategy?

What are the essential elements for an effective customer onboarding program?

Is the customer onboarding checklist a must? 

Let's find out which practices are the best for customer onboarding.

1- Signup Forms

The initial step is where the successful onboarding starts.

Just like the example above, your signup form should be concise.

One-click signup through Google? That's what many customers look for when they are signing up. They don't want to spend their time filling up the blanks with trivial details. 

After they sign up, you can ask questions to gather information about them, but doing it DURING the signup is a big no. 

They want to get where they want to go, and their destination is your product or service.

So, be quick and let them in!

2- Welcome Modals

Call me old-fashioned, but I think welcoming a new customer is a vital thing to do

You expect to be greeted when you enter a restaurant or store, don't you? 

Comparing a real-life situation to the onboarding process might seem off at first, but they are awfully similar. 

You have to acknowledge and appreciate your customer in both cases; the best way to show that you do is to give them a warm welcome by a greeting message. 

3- Tooltips

Instead of making your audience watch a video about a step, it is more logical to trigger tooltips that will let the customers do the steps on THEIR own. 

Because if they see that what they want to achieve is actually achievable, they will gain confidence - which will make them eager to use your product or service

Plus, it is a lot of work to follow the steps you're supposed to do through a video simultaneously. 

Besides, tooltips are both fun and informative. It's almost as exciting as learning game controls. 

4- Checklists

Checklists are a must for the customer experience. Why? 


  • They keep track of one's work.
  • They motivate the customer to carry on.
  • They show progress. 

This crucial step might seem insignificant, but think about why people keep shopping lists with them when going shopping.

They don't want to look through every item in the sections just to find what they are looking for. They aren't risking it; they are playing it safe. 

Thus, they feel safe as well because they know the list got their back no matter what. 


Customers are what makes the world go round, and you are bound to serve them in the most satisfactory way possible - unless you are OK with losing them along the way. 

To not lose them, you should prioritize onboarding success, which is directly related to revenue, retention, and churn. 

It would help if you always were mindful of your users and customers; however, don't forget it is the customers that pay you for what you are doing. Therefore, their opinions on your product or service are highly vital. 

You might need to reconsider your customer onboarding process and elements to please them.

It might need some redos or touch-ups to work more neatly; nevertheless, thanks to the steps above, it will certainly turn out great.

Keep in mind that anybody could be willing to use your product or service but might not know how to approach it. 

Don't lose your customers due to ambiguity. Gain fans due to lucidity instead!

Frequently Asked Questions

1- How would you onboard a new customer?

For a successful customer onboarding process, you need a series of steps that would cause long-term success. First and foremost, you need to be concise throughout the process and display your product features inside and out. Secondly, you must present the perks of being a customer. Also, you mustn't make any common onboarding mistake. 

2- Who is responsible for customer onboarding?

Many people - from Customer Experience Manager to Customer Service Team - are responsible for customer onboarding; however, the people who are the most concerned with the customer onboarding program are the Customer Success Managers and Customer Success Team. 

3- How do you automate a customer onboarding process?

By taking notes of the expectations of the first-time customers throughout the initial experience. This critical step assures that you could easily plan out the segmentation and put more importance to your customers' wishes on a regular basis. Therefore, you'll be maintaining a healthy ongoing relationship with your customers and have a wonderful client onboarding process. 



















Other Blog Posts

See All