Customer onboarding is a hot topic for most SaaS companies and startups. With most providers in this space offering limited time trials or free plans with the hope that people will subscribe, the best chance to wow your customers is right at the beginning.
Refining your customer onboarding process helps give you the best chance at customer retention, and it helps your customers experience more of what your product can offer.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the benefits of customer onboarding software and share some of the top tools that’ll impress your customers.
What Is Customer Onboarding?
Customer onboarding, at its heart, welcomes a new user to your product. It’s your opportunity to introduce how the product works and its benefits and introduce its key features.
The customer onboarding process user journey starts when your customer first signs up and lasts until they’re a confident new user. This process often features tutorials, checklists, tooltips, and interactive content that guides someone through your product.
What Are the Benefits of Investing in Customer Onboarding Software?
The best customer onboarding processes are customized to the new user’s needs. Customer onboarding software can help you use your existing data to personalize the user’s experience with your product right from the start.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using customer onboarding software in your business:
Reduced Customer Churn Rate
Customer retention can be a huge issue for some businesses, especially in the startup world. There’s always competition from an existing leader or a newcomer, and it’s hard to encourage people to stick around.
Investing in your user onboarding process can go a long way towards helping reduce your customer churn rates. Look to create an immersive, interactive, and fully supported experience for your new customers as they navigate your product. Done right, a thoughtful, helpful introduction will not only persuade your customers to stay with you — you’ll see increased customer success rates.
Increased Conversions from Free to Paid Plans
With a lot of SaaS companies, the goal is to move customers from an introductory free plan to a paid subscription. Getting your customers to spend money can be a challenge, but it’s a lot easier if your onboarding process encourages them to explore paid features or become such a fan that they can’t help but subscribe.
The right customer onboarding software platform can help you introduce paid-only features through helpful tooltips or suggestions, offering a gentle yet effective way to upsell. Giving your new customers limited access to advanced features alongside a well-refined series of walkthroughs and tutorials is a great way to create demand.
Higher Efficiency Within Your Support Team
Onboarding new customers using a manual or semi-automated process can be time consuming. You want your customer support team to be available to help with a range of problems without spending too much time on onboarding.
By introducing customer onboarding software that features automation, you can free your support team’s time to focus on more complex customer issues. They no longer have to assign users to a pathway manually. Your platform can use existing data to create intelligent, customized user journeys for your new customers.
Your support team will still be around to help, especially with more personal service like live video chat, but much of the hard work is streamlined. This way, your customers get an onboarding process that’s proven to work and can access a support team member when they really need to.
7 of the Best Customer Onboarding Software Tools
To create an impressive customer onboarding process, you need the right tools. It can be hard to know which type of platform or tool to invest in, especially if you’re building on your onboarding process from scratch.
Here are some of the top customer onboarding tools on the market at the moment, whether you want to automate checklists, build immersive walkthroughs, or ramp up your messaging.
Appcues helps you create personalized onboarding product tours and checklists that encourage people to progress through the user journey. It’s a useful tool if you offer a limited time trial or free plan, as the platform helps to track conversions from initial sign-ups into paid plan subscribers.
- No code design
- Easy to personalize every interaction
- Great segmentation and targeting tools, so you can reach people at the right stage of the cycle
- Some challenges in transferring data between Appcues and CRM systems without third-party tools
- Limitations in configurability when it comes to design and functionality
- Pricing may be unaffordable for some
Drip is a marketing automation platform designed for ecommerce and digital business. It helps drive revenue and increase customer retention. Drip offers lead magnet forms and email marketing, which together can help you create a useful welcome series that introduces customers to your product and how to use it.
- Easy-to-use pre-built playbooks
- A/B testing to refine your welcome email series
- Ability to trigger responses based on actions your customers take
- Accessing live support can be a challenge at times
- Difficult to rearrange steps within a workflow once it’s been built
- While it’s easy to get started, learning how to use it fully can take time
ServiceBell is a customer sales and support tool that lets you host live, real-time video chats between your support team and your customers — right on your website. It can be used as part of your customer onboarding process to welcome new users to your site, show them around, and introduce them to key features.
- More personalized, VIP experience than automated tools — which helps you stand out
- Easy to implement — just a few lines of code needed
- Free plan available, so you can try it out before investing in additional features
- Requires you to have a confident customer support team that’s great at video demos
- Not everyone will want to book a video call, so may be used best when supported by a more traditional email or platform based onboarding series
- Harder to handle a high volume of customers joining all at once unless you have a large support team
Arrows gives you collaborative onboarding plans that connect to HubSpot and drive your customers to do their homework on their path to success. If you use HubSpot and have an onboarding process that requires human intervention, then Arrows is the platform built for you.
- Simple on the surface, but lots of powerful features to automate your onboarding
- Has a deep, powerful integration with HubSpot (sync 40+ datapoints to your CRM)*
- Is designed to work well for enterprise customers or small mom-and-pop businesses
- Doesn't have many complex project management features
- Limited in what you can customize with the design
- Not ideal for fully self-serve onboarding processes entirely inside your app
Skilljar is a customer training and education platform that can help you guide new users through your product, how it works, and how to get the most out of it. It can help your customers uncover relevant content based on where they’re at in their journey, and it even offers certificates based on completion of your new user process.
- Supports multiple content types, including embedded video, audio, and quizzes
- Features ready-to-use templates but is also highly customizable
- In-depth reporting features let you understand how your customers are engaging
- Admin navigation can feel clunky — it can take multiple steps to achieve an action
- Lack of social learning features, like badges, points, and group discussion areas
- Can be challenging to get the look and feel you want without the help of a developer
Userlane is a code-free digital adoption platform designed to help your customers learn how to use your software easily. You can create personalized onboarding journeys for your customers based on their needs and use automated onboarding checklists to simplify your onboarding process.
- Ability to provide interactive support from within the app
- Can use prompts to launch an interactive guide when a customer encounters a challenging task
- Option to send product guidance emails to inactive customers to encourage them to return
- Can be difficult to implement if you’ve never used software like this before
- Lacks direct integration with some CRM systems
- Some challenges with exporting data as files
Userpilot is a product growth platform designed to help teams create personalized customer experiences. With this platform, you can create a tailored onboarding pathway for your customers based on their user persona and give users useful tips and hints as they navigate your product.
- Smart ways to help your customer get more out of your product by suggesting a tried-and-tested route to success
- Ability to track goal completion and use this information to make your onboarding process even more effective
- Easily integrates into your existing technology stack
- Some filters to display results can be challenging to use
- Limited integration for video content with some area types
- Can be difficult to get the user interface to work for you (ex, limited column widths)
WalkMe is a no-code digital adoption platform that helps you to maximize user adoption through intuitive digital onboarding journeys. It promotes a self-service approach to learning, helping to reduce reliance on your support team. This makes it easy to create a streamlined, personalized onboarding process for customers.
- Promotes the best ways to use your product through tips
- No need to be a developer or know code to customize your customers’ onboarding experience
- Easy to create new assets within the platform to promote new product launches and updates
- Setting up tasks and pathways can be time intensive with a lack of templates available
- Some reports of the editor being slow if you have a lot of content
- Steep learning curve to help you really get the benefits from the tool
Find the Best Customer Onboarding Software for Your Business
We all want to delight our customers from the moment they first try our products — an amazing customer onboarding process is the way to do it. Think about what you need your platform to do, then consider our software tools above.
If you want to take your customer onboarding experience even further with live, on-demand video chat, try ServiceBell. With only a few lines of code, you can have the tool live on your website in moments. This makes it easy to offer a VIP experience to your visitors.