4 User Onboarding Mistakes That Threaten Retention

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
Updated May 2, 2023

When done correctly, onboarding new users to your product should appear seamless. But successful onboarding requires careful planning and execution.

Whether you’re talking about onboarding employees to new enterprise software or consumers to new digital tools, a poor user onboarding experience often leads to churn.

Instantly simplify the new user onboarding process and boost retention.

Complexity drives users away during new user onboarding

Every user has a unique learning style, so learning to use new software will be a different experience for each person. But generally, the consequences of a complex onboarding process include slow user growth rates and lower retention.

It is hard to anticipate and plan for every hurdle that might arise, but there are a few things you can do to improve user onboarding and in turn avoid the threat of software abandonment.

To start, keep an eye out for the following mistakes that could be contributing to user churn.

1. Your onboarding process is too overwhelming

overwhelmed employee

Any unfamiliar software platform may be confusing in the beginning. That’s why it’s imperative that the user onboarding process addresses confusion, and doesn’t add to it.

Sometimes, users only need to know how to use certain elements of the product to complete tasks. Rather than getting into the nitty gritty of every part of the tool, simplify the learning process by individualizing the learning to suit users’ specific needs.

Here’s a hack for avoiding user confusion: Know who your target audiences are and understand what they need from the tool. Then think about the potential bumps in the road they might hit during user onboarding. Use these conclusions to proactively provide support.

2. Your website or platform design is complex and not intuitive

A simple and easy-to-follow website design is key for user onboarding process. An engaging user interface has the potential to boost user adoption and productivity.

The flipside is also true: A website that is difficult to navigate leads to user frustration, churn, and lower productivity.

To prevent click fatigue, clearly highlight the most important features users should know during the onboarding process. In terms of general design principles, be aware of color, banner blindness, text-heavy pages and navigation options.

Well-implemented user experience design and writing are fundamental to promoting adoption on the user journey.

3. Lack of contextual guidance

contextual learning

In-person demonstrations are helpful, but new users are unlikely to retain everything they learn once it’s time to use your product independently.

Consider using an evergreen digital training tool that features on-screen navigation. A Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) that provides real-time, contextual guidance ensures users always have access to support and complete any task with ease.

If you are using a digital training tool, provide positive reinforcement to the user when they complete a new task on the platform. This could be something as simple as a congratulations message or a progress bar that helps users understand where they are in the process and how much more information they need to learn before mastering the content.

4. Inadequate follow-up support

It’s one thing to get new users familiar with your product. It’s another to retain them. Keep users engaged by providing support beyond the onboarding process. Doing so will ensure your users are reaping the value of your product.

If you use a DAP to train new users, use it to renew engagement too. Learning continues beyond the first couple of times someone uses a new tool.

Simplicity is the key

The user journey is a long, curving, and ever-changing path. To help users along and avoid diversion, make the onboarding process as straightforward and simple as possible. Digital tools that provide virtual hand holding, like a DAP, help maintain user engagement and enhance retention.

Discover how WalkMe makes new user onboarding smooth and easy.

WalkMe Team
By WalkMe Team
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence, machine learning and contextual guidance, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.