4 Ways In-App Guidance Can Streamline the Onboarding Process

Written by 
Yuval Karmi

If users don't feel welcome, they won't engage. They will jump ship faster and may never come back.

Here’s something every B2B SaaS company knows: An effective onboarding process is crucial. If users aren’t onboarded effectively – if they don’t quickly start to feel engaged, and start to feel that this product will help them get their work done – they will jump ship. Most likely, they will never come back. 

Lots of factors play into the effectiveness of the onboarding process. In-app guidance plays a crucial role. Here are four ways to leverage in-app guidance to make users stick around.

The Importance of Onboarding

The onboarding process is the series of steps to   take a user from signup to comfort inside your SaaS offering. This trajectory is created when you educate users on how they can use your product, and guide them to discover how it solves their problem – what we call the “aha!” moment.

No matter how sophisticated or revolutionary your product is, if you can’t get users to the “aha!” moment within the first minutes-hours of the initial login, they will fail to see the value. They’ll leave, and will likely never come back. 

  • 86% of people say they’d be more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in onboarding content that welcomes and educates them after they’ve bought.
  • 55% of consumers report that they have rejected a product because they didn’t fully understand how to use it. 

In-app guidance is a powerful way to streamline the onboarding process flow. When in-app guidance is deployed correctly – when it is timely, but never annoying – it hugely increases the chances of successful adoption and retention.

Indeed, a lack of in-app guidance is bad for companies. This is one reason many SaaS platforms struggle with churn: either they don’t have in-app guidance at all, or they have an annoying, interruptive app onboarding process. 

  1. In-App Guidance Removes the Confusion

Often, users come into a new application, and find themselves overwhelmed and confused. They don’t know where to click, or how to access the parts of the app that will help them. They feel lost and intimidated. We’ve all had this experience: A sea of new buttons and tabs and sections. Where to begin? Where’s the value? 

This is what used to happen to customers of Neat, a financial accounting solutions company. “Users would come in, look around, and leave confused,” said Jeff Gove, the company’s VP. 

One of the key onboarding process best practices is to meet users in-app, as early as possible – with exactly what they need to see in order to feel comfortable and interested. 

This is critical: Use targeted messaging to make sure your users only see announcements and messaging that are highly relevant to their immediate goals. When you follow this path, you create a personalized, use-case-based onboarding experience that will resonate with your users. By doing this, you remove the confusion. (You also ensure your customer success teams have less of a headache dealing with incoming support tickets or the never ending frequently asked questions.)

Segmenting your users can be a big help, too. So can the insights gained through customer platforms such as Salesforce and Segment; it’s crucial that these integrate with your in-app guidance platform.

  1. In-App Guidance Can Show Users Immediate Value

70% of customers say understanding how they use products and services is very important to winning their business. With in-app guidance at the onboarding stage, this means directing new users towards the functionality that will demonstrate the most immediate value. This perception of value is the key to a successful onboarding.

For example, at the outset, a new Slack user would be most interested in starting a conversation with a co-collaborator. App integrations can come later. Someone using a project management tool will want to see the integration with a video conferencing tool such as Zoom first – before they want to see complex user analytics. 

The key here is to know what a brand new user wants, and leverage this want to lock in the successful onboarding. When your users see the value of your product to the work that they do – when they experience that “aha!” moment – they begin to stick. As every CS manager knows, stickiness is the key to successful retention. 

It’s not that all these features aren’t valuable. It’s that some are more immediately appreciable to a new user. Give them that, and your users will love your product. Fail, and see your churn rates rise. Again, predicting what is going to represent an “aha!” moment for a given user is aided by accurate user segmentation.

  1. In-App Walkthroughs Can Hasten Adoption

The average human attention span is shorter than that of a goldfish. And why wouldn’t it be: there is an overabundance of information streaming onto our screens at all times. People are reluctant to stay in one place for long stretches of time. So, when creating your onboarding process map, you need methods that will engage immediately, and rapidly show value. 

Walkthroughs are a powerful form of in-app guidance. They drive and hasten adoption. This is especially beneficial to your team’s product managers, who are the ones concerned with usage rates and adoption.

Keep in mind that in-app guidance should never outstay its welcome. This is especially true for walkthroughs. It only takes one step too many for users to go from “Great, this is what I need!” to “Ugh, why is this taking so long?” According to our customer data, to drive successful onboarding and maximum engagement, shorten your walkthroughs to no more than 5 steps.

Use different media to make your walkthroughs more efficient. 97% of people think that video is an effective tool to welcome and educate new customers.

  1. In-App Guidance Can Guide Users to Explore On Their Own

With the onboarding process flow, too much guidance is as bad as too little.

Overdoing the in-app guidance – bombarding new users with pop-ups and screens and did-you-knows – will annoy them. And there’s no better way to drive churn than to annoy your users. (Trust us, your customer success teams know the pain!)

Here’s the key: don’t overdo it. You’ll only leave your users overwhelmed and wanting to exit to the next app. One of the important onboarding process best practices is to construct and offer ways for users to help themselves. Don’t try and hold their hand all the time, but make it clear how they can gain new knowledge and find directions when they need them. 

At Simpo, our users often benefit from offering targeted suggestions in Quick Search, to put the user back in control while maintaining relevance. This is what we did for Monday.com, and now 83% of their users help themselves. Monday’s in-app knowledge base provides more than 50,000 instant answers every month. 


“We get around 30,000 support tickets per month,” said Tom Ronen, VP at Monday, “and each ticket takes an average of eight minutes to resolve. Every minute that Simpo saves is huge for us.” Monday.com users have mastered the art of self-service, and their customer success teams have been unburdened from the amount of support tickets they used to receive.

Remember: 67% of customers prefer self-service to speaking to a company representative. 91% even say they would use an online knowledge base, if it were available and tailored to their needs. Give users what they want!

Optimize Your Onboarding Process Now

Onboarding helps create sticky actions which result in higher usability and lower end-user churn. Sticky actions are the most important actions that users need to perform to get started.

In-app guidance serves to speed that process up by removing the confusion. With the right words you can lead customers to value. You just need to remember that shorter walkthroughs hasten the process, and that too much hand holding can drive your customers away. You know what they say: “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Simpo’s platform gives GTM teams the power to create unique SaaS journey experiences. Create your onboarding process map with plays tailored by segment that nudges users to the next steps. With a self-paced approach, users move from novice to expert, with ease. As your product changes and users grow, you stay one step ahead keeping conversions up and churn down.

Find out more by requesting a demo here, or see Simpo in action for yourself with a Free Trial