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6 Customer Onboarding Challenges and How To Overcome Them

Customer onboarding is vital for improving product adoption and setting new customers up for success with your product or service

Statistics show that 76 percent of customers likely stay with a service after a welcoming onboarding experience. And poor onboarding leads to a 40-60 percent user drop-off rate in the software industry.

If you’re currently putting together a customer onboarding program, it’s helpful to consider the potential challenges ahead.

Discover six challenges customer teams can face and the potential solutions to make your onboarding process more effective. 

Why is customer onboarding so important?

It helps customers use your product more effectively

A well-designed customer onboarding process helps customers learn the core benefits of your product. It helps them learn how to use it right from the start, which is why 68 percent of customers report using products more effectively after onboarding. 

For example, if you sell project management software, you could offer tutorial videos and guides during onboarding to help new users understand how to create projects, add team members, and track progress.

It helps them use more features and functionality

Most customers need to be made aware of all the features and functionalities your product offers. They may have signed up for one in particular but don’t know the full range of possibilities.

Some 56 percent of customers say they use more features after onboarding. So, an effective onboarding process that highlights and explains additional features helps customers go beyond the basic functionalities. 

A cloud storage service, for instance, might have file-sharing features, collaboration tools, and encryption for data security. Interactive walkthroughs and use cases can help new customers discover and use these features, improving their experience and showing the product’s usefulness beyond storage.

It lowers the number of calls to support

Almost all (87 percent) of customers will use your product more independently after onboarding. 

That’s because onboarding helps users solve common challenges, which means fewer support calls and inquiries. This saves you money and improves customer satisfaction, as users don’t have to wait for support to resolve issues. 

A CRM provider could, for example, design an onboarding program with personalized training sessions for the sales team, documentation on integrating the CRM with existing tools, and video tutorials on advanced features like creating custom reports. By addressing these areas upfront, the CRM provider helps the client’s team understand the system’s full capabilities and troubleshoot common issues independently.

When you deliver value for your customers, you inspire confidence in your brand and product. Happy customers will do the talking for you and refer you to other prospects.

Learn more: Why Customer Education is Important Now More Than Ever

What are the most common customer onboarding challenges?

Complex processes

One of the biggest challenges in building a customer education program is creating a fluid process. If customers click around your platform trying to find learning materials, they will quickly disconnect from the program. Some 74 percent of potential customers may switch to alternative solutions if they find the onboarding process complicated. 

Imagine you want to take a lesson on setting up your HR software, but you’re clicking through various Google Drive folders just to find the intro video—not a good look. 

Without se a clear learning path to guide users through your program, they may feel overwhelmed, turning the onboarding process from a fun and exciting experience into a daunting task.

Lack of personalization

Generic onboarding processes do exactly what you think they’ll do: bore users. A sales manager will have different needs from your product versus a rep. A personalized onboarding experience makes each user feel valued and understood. 

When customers do not see immediate value in the onboarding experience, it can lead to lower engagement and higher churn. They might feel your product is not the right fit for their needs. 

Insufficient training and support

If your training is inadequate, customers will get frustrated and eventually stop using your platform. If they reach out for support and it takes 24 hours to get a response via email, that’ll crush the user’s motivation to learn. 

Consider a sales management platform with many complex features. While trying to set up their team portal, a new user struggles to understand how to assign tasks to team members and set deadlines. Your onboarding doesn’t seem to address this effectively, and the user is met with generic information that doesn’t help with their specific issue. In an ideal world, the user would have immediate access to help via live chat, a detailed FAQ, or a targeted tutorial.

Chauncy Cay Ford, Director of Customer Enablement at Quantum Metric, shared how they use customer education to streamline adoption. “We have built a help menu everywhere within our product,” she says. “So if our customers are overwhelmed, or they can’t remember what happened at that demo, no big deal, this help menu is always there for them.”

Poor communication

Onboarding is a critical phase in which clear, concise, and helpful communication is essential. A positive onboarding experience leads to higher satisfaction and loyalty. 

Poor communication, which isn’t helpful for customers, can manifest in a few ways:

  • Unclear instructions: When a customer signs up for your service but receives an onboarding email filled with technical jargon and unclear next steps, they’re lost right from the start
  • No personalized guidance: As noted, a generic onboarding experience is impersonal and less engaging than one that speaks directly to the user 
  • Slow responses: Imagine a customer’s technical question about their setup process is passed around to several reps, all to get a vague answer. This delays onboarding and diminishes the customer’s confidence in your company 

Good communication isn’t just about conveying information; it’s about building a relationship with the customer. When building your program, keep the mantra ‘Clear, concise, and personalized comms’ in mind. 

Too much information

Humans have limited bandwidth. We can only hold about seven chunks of information, and they fade from your brain in about 20 seconds. 

Presenting too much information at once can exceed this bandwidth, making it hard for users to process and remember information. 

In the onboarding process, too much information means you bombard new users with too many details. There are many ways to do this, including lengthy tutorials, too much text, complex instructions, or introducing too many features too quickly without letting the customer see the real value.

Lack of feedback

Feedback loops during onboarding are important for understanding user satisfaction and the learning experience. With feedback, you’ll be aware of customer struggles, which leads to higher churn rates. 

Customer feedback can come through surveys, direct customer support interactions, and usage data analysis in your Learning Management System (LMS) or customer community

How to overcome the most common onboarding challenges

Choose the right onboarding software

You’ll have a smoother onboarding process if you use the right platform. With the Customer Learning Cloud from WorkRamp, you can create and scale customer education and onboarding. If you build the right foundation for onboarding, everything else will be much easier and you’ll save a lot of money and time.

The Learning Cloud helps you develop comprehensive learning modules that cover all aspects of your product or service. You can use a mix of video tutorials, documentation, and quizzes to make the learning process interactive and engaging. 

Use Single Sign On over email verification 

Make the sign-on process as simple as possible. Extra questions or emails can cause friction in the signup flow, and Single Sign On (SSO) makes the process easier for new customers. That’s why 66 percent of surveyed companies have a Single Sign-On in the signup flow.

Centralize learning 

One way to overcome onboarding challenges is to have all your learning materials in one place.

With WorkRamp, you can centralize all your learning materials, like videos, quizzes, and interactive modules. WorkRamp also connects with tools like Slack and Salesforce to improve your organization’s workflow. 

WorkRamp also lets you combine the power of Customer LMS and Community on one platform with WorkRamp Communities

workramp communities

Pictured: WorkRamp Communities product

With a supportive community, customers and partners can connect, share knowledge, and learn from each other. It also gives customers a scalable way to find the information they need when they need it.

With WorkRamp Communities, you can receive real-time feedback to help plan your product strategy and roadmap. 

Provide a clear learning path 

One reason customers churn from your onboarding program is a lack of personalization. A structured, customized path for each learner makes the process more efficient and effective. 

You can tailor learning paths to meet specific needs. 

For example, a marketing specialist might have a learning path that includes a deep dive into brand messaging, marketing tools, and market research techniques. You can set clear milestones and objectives for the customer so they track progress and feel more fulfilled. 

Offer varied training options

If you use various media in the learning process, such as articles, videos, games, quizzes, and other interactive elements, learners are more engaged and retain more information.

Learning platforms that support different modalities in eLearning and instructor-led training make this easy.

Measure the success of your customer onboarding program

Keep track of how many customers start and complete each step of your onboarding program. If you see a drop-off at a certain point, work to create a more seamless transition and motivate the customer to finish it.

If you collect feedback from customers, you’ll be able to pinpoint where your onboarding process works well and where it could be improved. Correlate customer onboarding with business results like customer retention, increased recurring revenue, and repeat business to prove the value to stakeholders.

Read more: How to Measure Customer Education: 8 Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Make customer onboarding more effective with the Learning Cloud

Your customers will readily accept your products if you lay the right foundation for customer onboarding. With the Learning Cloud, you can create engaging training and increase product adoption. 

The Customer Learning Cloud from WorkRamp allows you to improve customer onboarding and customer education to help users get the most out of your product and become loyal advocates who recommend your brand to others. 

Interested in a free, personalized demo? Contact us today


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Michael Keenan

WorkRamp Contributor

Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.

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