Why In-App Answers are Key to a Successful Onboarding

Written by 
Yuval Karmi

For any SaaS company, guiding users through a successful onboarding cadence is key. Onboard someone right, and they are much more likely to fully adopt your product, and not churn down the line. 

For any SaaS company, guiding users through a successful onboarding cadence is key. Onboard someone right, and they are much more likely to fully adopt your product, and not churn down the line. 

A successful onboarding experience indicates users have found the value that your product provides, and have adopted it for regular use because it solves their daily pain points.

However, a lot of companies fail to deliver a successful onboarding. Why? Typically, because of some or all of the following:

  1. There is too much friction experienced by users within the app. This might be a product issue that needs addressing by product managers and the engineering team.
  2. The user is confused, and the product is complex, especially to a novice. The user  needs more guideposts or walkthroughs.
  3. There’s no obvious maturity curve documented or understood, so the user doesn’t know the path to becoming a pro.
  4. When a user gets stuck inside the app, he/she can’t get answers in a smooth, efficient, and concise way. Submitting tickets is slow, cumbersome, and usually requires email or via a third party app.
  5. Chatbots or chat (the “human” kind) can be somewhat helpful, but they are no use when you need a more detailed or visual guide. If they can’t access support, users are left to their own devices and it takes too long, or they get frustrated and abandon.

To ease these moments of friction, companies need to provide in-app answers. This means knowledge base articles in-app that helps users find the answers they’re looking for, the moment they need them.

What Successful Onboarding Looks Like

For most SaaS companies, in-app onboarding is composed of two main phases: activation and adoption.

Activation is the point of the customer journey where your users realize the value of your product. This usually happens after the initial log-in, whether they arrived here via direct purchase of the service or a free trial. 

Adoption, on the other hand, happens when users have finally embraced your product and its usefulness in their daily/weekly living. (Our article, “App Engagement Tips for the Four Stages of the Customer Journey”, delves deeper into these process stages, and covers why onboarding is so important.)

However, some companies have a hard time getting onboarding right. Partly, they don’t realize that it’s actually an ongoing thing; never a one-and-done. Moreover, it varies depending on the user persona and the plan purchased (plus other traits and factors) which need to be considered for relevant onboarding experiences. All too often, we see users become overwhelmed with too much information all at once logged in and so they leave and potentially never come back.

Walkthroughs would be a great solution, but building these takes resource investment and time.

Here’s a real-life example from Monday.com.

Monday.com had an amazing knowledge base built externally, but a paltry 0.5% of their users were accessing it. And even then, users had trouble finding answers due to their knowledge base’s search capabilities. These struggles snowballed into thousands of support tickets that were difficult to cope with, posing scale issues. 

An ideal and successful onboarding program entails users easily grasping the initial “Aha!” moment because they are walked through the most valuable steps first. It also means they can explore the app without the fear of getting lost due to quick search options and easy-to-understand directories. By grasping these principles, Monday.com was able to realize success.

How In-App Answers Lead to Onboarding Success

There are two overall approaches for a successful onboarding process: here at Simpo, we call them Push and Pull

Push is when a user experiences certain in-app content assets which are proactively pushed, and vary depending on the type of user, their traits, and behavior. These include walkthroughs, announcements, and checklists. 

Pushing an announcement to new users

Pull is when you empower users to self-serve learning and content assets when they need it most. Generally, this refers to enabling access to Help documents, in-app knowledge articles, or quick search capabilities. Providing the answers your users need in-app is key to nailing the Pull aspects of your strategy.

Here’s why in-app answers are so powerful to a successful onboarding process:

  1. In-app answers ease the transition for your new users.

With in-app knowledge base access and search capabilities, companies can tone down how much content is pushed on new users. As a result, users don’t become overwhelmed. Remember: you should aim to keep users inside the app/product at all times. When they need to leave to access a third party product, it diminishes value and it becomes inefficient.

After you’ve guided users through the basics of the app, you can let your users “choose their own adventure”, without worrying about them getting “lost”. As long as the search capability is enabled, they can jump from one feature to another without much friction, knowing an answer is a few clicks or a search away.

  1. In-app answers enable users to get the answers they want.

Integrating your knowledge base into your product will allow your users instant access to information they need at the moment. This reduces friction between the users and your app, and it also reduces support ticket volume.

This is how Monday.com resolved their knowledge base issues. Adopting Simpo’s Quick Search feature enabled users to find the answers they need without leaving Monday to find an external knowledge base. This kept the Monday experience fluid, uninterrupted, and scalable, as more users continuously adopt the product.

“When we were a small company, we could reach out to every user individually and walk them through monday.com,” said Lea Serfaty, a project manager at Monday.com. “As we grew, that became impossible, but Simpo has enabled us to scale with our growth.”

  1. In-app answers empower users to help themselves.

Self-service, if properly applied, will help users feel that they are in control of their actions in-app. This builds confidence and comfort.

According to studies, 67% of customers prefer self-service rather than speaking to a company representative. Moreover, 91% even say they would use an online knowledge base, if it were available and tailored to their needs.

This is also true for Monday users, as the company now sees 83% of their users helping themselves to answers they easily find with Simpo’s assistance. That’s about 57,000+ users per month having a smooth, frictionless experience.

Start Crafting a Successful Onboarding Program Now

Providing in-app answers will bring your users closer to adopting your product. This also leads to better retention and a higher chance of upsells and cross-sells.

Help your users help themselves. Integrate in-app answers by integrating with your knowledge base now, and start giving your users a successful onboarding experience. 

Contact us if you’d like a demo of Simpo here. Or if you want to find out more about how Monday.com succeeded in giving their users what they want, check out our webcast here.