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First-Run Onboarding Experience

What is the First Run Onboarding experience?

When a user purchases a product from you for the first time, it is expected of you to introduce that product to the customers and tell them about its features and how everything works. This is known as the first run onboarding experience. An effective onboarding experience plays a key role in determining if the user will continue to use your product in the future. It is estimated that SaaS companies typically lose 75 percent of their new users within the first week of usage without a well-executed onboarding experience. 

A complete first-run onboarding experience considers the entire user journey starting from the sign-up process until they start using your product regularly. The primary objective of conducting an onboarding experience is to help your clients transit from new users to loyal users of your product. An efficient first-run onboarding experience consists of several components, such as an easy sign-up process, introductory content, customer care services, etc.

Importance of First Run Onboarding experience

An efficient first-run onboarding experience is essential for the success of a SaaS company. Here are some of the points that demonstrate the importance of the First Run Onboarding experience:

  1. Builds user confidence: Any new product user must feel confident that the product can solve any of their particular pain points or offer value of some sort. You can implement an effective first-run onboarding experience to build this confidence. 
  2. Reduces Churn rate: As mentioned earlier, about three-quarters of new users stop using an application if they don’t experience an effective onboarding experience. In other words, the better the onboarding experience, the happier the customer, resulting in a lower churn rate.
  3. Boosts the adoption rate of the product: Generally, most of the well-known SaaS companies guide their new users to understand how the product works to increase the adoption rate. The better the adoption rate, the higher the retention rate of users, which results in higher sales and revenue.
  4. Reduces the need for customer care support: Effective first-run onboarding experiences aim to answer all the possible questions that a new user might have regarding the product. This helps the company to save time and money on customer support. 
  5. Increases user value of the product: If new users enjoy the first-run onboarding experience of a product, they are more likely to become loyal customers. The users who value your product are also more likely to leave positive customer reviews and recommend your product to their peers.
  6. Promotes the expansion potential: As mentioned above, the first-run onboarding experience is the first interaction of the user with your product. A product-led company can attract a lot of new users if they execute a well-thought onboarding experience, hence increasing the growth potential. 

Steps to create a great first run onboarding experience

Here is a 4 step process that you can adopt to create a great first-run onboarding experience:

Step 1: Pinpoint all the main action points of your product 

As a product owner, it is important for you to identify all the critical steps that a new user has to take to use your product efficiently. This helps you to discover all the glitches in the platform beforehand. Hence you can fix those glitches before a customer experiences them.

Step 2: Create a welcome kit for new users

It is recommended to prepare a welcoming kit for new users either in the form of emails, video tutorials, in-app tutorials, etc. This gives the new users to opportunity to learn about the platform as soon as they sign up. 

Step 3: Select an Onboarding Model

Now, you need to select an onboarding model that will help you to retain loyal users. The three types of onboarding models that you can choose from are as follows:

  1. Self-service onboarding:  This model is well suited for simple and easy-to-use products, for instance, on social media platforms, mobile games, etc.
  2. Low-touch onboarding: This model includes some additional elements like checklists, interactive walkthroughs, tutorials, etc. But this onboarding experience can also be executed by the user without one-on-one guidance.
  3. High-touch onboarding: This model is generally adopted when product onboarding is relatively complex and can take a lot of steps to get started. It might also include one-on-one experience, if needed, for instance, in setting up online bank accounts.

Step 4: Optimise your onboarding process regularly

The final step is to test and improve the first-run onboarding experience based on quantitative and qualitative data. You need to analyze if the current onboarding elements are producing the desired results. If not, you can conduct surveys or communicate directly with your users to learn how you can optimize the existing onboarding process.

Examples of the first-run onboarding experience

Below are some examples of the best first-run onboarding experience that you can learn from:

1. Slack 

Slack is a popular team messaging application that has a great onboarding experience for its users. During the sign-up process, each step consists of an image that shows user inputs from the previous step. The application has its own AI (artificial intelligence) bot that conducts a product walkthrough for new users and educates them on how to use the application.

2. Grammarly

Grammarly is a writing tool that helps users to check for grammar, spelling errors, choice of words, etc., via in-line suggestions. The application offers a demo document that enables its users to understand the features by using them first-hand. Most of the noteworthy features are indicated using pulsing icons that catch the eyes of the users. 

3. TikTok

TikTok is one of the most popular social media applications with a smart first-run onboarding experience. It guides all its new users on how to improve the app experience using its inbuilt features. It postpones the sign-up process for the users until they decide to like or comment on a video. This way, users can get a chance to use the application first-hand before they are asked to sign up.

4. Calendly

Calendly is an online application that is used to schedule appointments and meetings without the hassle of exchanging emails to find a suitable time between two parties. The tool collects minimal data from its users to get them started. It also has a resource center that consists of e-books, blogs, video tutorials, etc., for the users to learn more about the tool.