When users choose to become customers or members of your company by creating a web-based account or “signing up” online, they are putting their trust in you. But for design and development teams, the process of onboarding is often viewed as nothing more than a necessary (evil) step to get users to the main product, rather than as an opportunity to build trust with a new customer. As a result, onboarding user experiences often fall short, regardless of industry.
Many companies spend a great deal of time and energy creating engaging public digital user experiences to attract potential customers. Yet the same effort is not given to the onboarding experience—the very experience that usually determines whether a prospect ultimately converts into a customer.
The lack of consistency between the public experience and the secure environment of an organization’s digital platform is commonplace and can create mistrust and disappointment for the new customer right from the start. At Intuitive Company, our research team often observes a major disconnect between the look and feel of a company’s public and secure user experiences, in addition to inefficient workflows, confusing navigation, and a lack of promised or promoted functionality. This creates a perception (and reality) among customers that they are not valued.
For example, when a user chooses to create an account, they are almost always asked to submit a plethora of personal information in the process. After signing up with a website, there is nothing more frustrating than getting a non-personalized, all CAPITALIZED welcome email (that usually arrives in the spam folder)… which then asks for even more information to complete the process. That’s unacceptable. Too often companies are not pre-filling or efficiently using the obtained information in the onboarding process to both their and the users’ advantage.
Along those same lines, a company needs to make sure they always support the brand impression they so painstakingly established in their public advertising and translate it to the customer’s secure, online experience. It’s easy to forget that many new customers may never step foot in your place of business and will only ever engage with you digitally.
Think of it this way: when new employees join an organization, they are met by their team and offered a warm welcome. Orientation programs are set up for them in which all of their available employee benefits are presented. In addition, information about where to go for help and how to navigate the office and organization are provided. Successful organizations onboard new employees with great care. Why not do the same for customers? Provide the same type of value and benefits in your digital user experience for new customers as you do for employees. Because the reality is that you cannot hire new employees without new customers.
The team at Intuitive Company believes that the onboarding process is too often a missed opportunity for organizations to set themselves apart from their competition by providing an engaging, streamlined welcome to new customers, and using the information gathered to intelligently “push” relevant, personalized information for up-sell opportunities. A successful onboarding experience establishes trust, because it is at this critical time that a user forms his or her brand perception—remember, they just took the leap of faith to go from “browser” to member. It’s a critical fact that we always try to keep top of mind in our designs and that we think warrants even more attention in the user-experience industry going forward.
Illustration by Erin Chan