6 Clever Tips to Improve the Efficiency of Customer Onboarding Digitization

Our expert offers some guidance as you build the infrastructure to onboard customers digitally.

Written by Evgeniya Malina
Published on Dec. 18, 2023
6 Clever Tips to Improve the Efficiency of Customer Onboarding Digitization
Image: Shutterstock / Built In
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Despite the accelerated digital transition taking place across the business world, not every industry can adapt to the online world in the same way. Regardless of a sector’s digital maturity, however, every company can digitize at least one segment of the customer journey, either to improve the customer experience or to enhance operational efficiency. 

To accomplish this, you need a solid onboarding strategy that helps the company build a long-term relationship with its users. Remember that the onboarding process doesn’t start when someone downloads the app, but in the App Store or Google Play Store itself. 

Hence, clarity and consistency in terms of both the presentation and content are key, even if some aspects of the experience vary depending on the user’s geographic presence. In this article, I will share six tips to help you improve the efficiency of your customer onboarding digitization process.

6 Tips to Improve Customer Onboarding Digitization

  1. Make educational tutorials.
  2. Keep the onboarding process simple.
  3. Employ gamification.
  4. Offer personalized suggestions.
  5. Manage your client’s expectations.
  6. Keep your onboarding intuitive.


1. Make Educational Tutorials

Depending on your niche, you might need to do a lot of work to educate the customer. 

For instance, in the micromobility sector, companies like Revel and Whizz, which focus on the rental of e-bikes and other transportation alternatives, face the issue of customer safety. To ensure that users have a seamless and enjoyable experience, they need to familiarize them with all the relevant safety protocols, especially since they’re operating in crowded, urban areas. These potential dangers became more pronounced when Revel introduced scooters. So, the company introduced onboarding safety videos, both to protect itself and to guide riders to be responsible when using one of Revel’s scooters. 

In another example, Food Rocket, which focused on ultra-fast delivery, introduced onboarding videos to instruct customers about how instant delivery worked since it was new and was breaking through existing purchasing patterns. Similarly, the digital workplace platform Miro shares with its users examples of what its templates can help them accomplish. This approach both showcases Miro’s capabilities and stewards prospective users to their “aha” moment, which is when they experience the core value of the product for the first time. Furthermore, this enables users to share their positive experiences with their colleagues in a way that is easy to explain, which also helps to reduce the company’s customer acquisition cost. 


2. Keep the Onboarding Process Simple

Having a complicated registration form is a recipe for failure. People like their customer experience to be as simple as possible, especially when they’re just trying out a service. This is why we are seeing more companies implement a guest mode feature so the potential user doesn’t even need to register to try out the app. 

I strongly suggest allowing prospective customers to test your service with no strings attached, which is what we did at Food Rocket. Our users were able to select items and explore our offerings without needing to register, meaning they were able to go through the whole user journey and test the service experience seamlessly. Once they decided to buy something, the login form came up. Because they were already emotionally invested in their purchase, it was harder for them to abandon their registration process at this point. 

To do this effectively, you must understand how your sales funnel works and know whether you need to treat certain product categories differently. For instance, we sold tobacco and alcohol, which are age-restricted. Because of the sensitive nature of the offerings, we verified the customers’ ages and identities before they were able to see our products. After conducting a funnel analysis and contacting customers for interviews, we learned that users weren’t willing to go through a cumbersome verification process if they hadn’t seen what we had to offer. 

We solved this by moving the verification process to a later stage after customers had seen the products and added their favorite ones to their baskets. This helped to improve the customer experience for tobacco buyers. For alcohol, we eliminated some verification steps like verifying a customer’s phone number and home address against existing databases and requiring an SSN to make it easy for users. We also guided them along the ID verification process, providing feedback. For example, if something was wrong with their photo, the app would say, “You need better lighting.” All of these efforts combined improved our customer conversion rates for these categories from 8 percent to 40. 

Implementing the lessons from these experiences has helped us make the registration process a lot smoother at Whizz. We know that not every customer is tech-savvy, so we give users an option to come into our office to get support through the registration process. As I said initially, simplicity is key. 


3. Employ Gamification

It can take time for users to fully grasp all the nuances of how a service works. To prevent the experience from becoming overwhelming, you can apply a progressive scheme to the system. At Food Rocket, our system for internal line staff would only allow access to new tasks after they could prove that they had nailed the basics. Doing this helped us have a smoother flow. As they progressed throughout their learning curve, we enabled them to access more complicated features that could help them support our operations. 

A sizable benefit of this approach was that we reduced our order defect rate to 2 percent, which was the industry’s best at the time. We were also able to train hundreds of employees in a matter of days, whereas conventionally, the process would take weeks. 

To boost the learning experience, you can also gamify it by introducing company perks once the user reaches a certain number of milestones. This can highly incentivize employees and even create a healthy level of competition since employees who demonstrate a higher level of skill can be placed on a fast track to promotion or get additional company perks like free coffee. 


4. Offer Personalized Suggestions

Even if you don’t already know what your new customer wants and needs, you can still give them personalized recommendations by drawing on data from other customers who have similar characteristics. At Food Rocket, we used this tactic to offer new customers products that were popular among others who were either from the same area or fit a similar profile, boosting our revenue.

Similarly, at Whizz, we used integration services with other delivery driver services, like Argyle, to learn more about drivers who use our e-bikes for delivery. This lets us know how often they drive, who they drive for (e.g., DoorDash, UberEATS, GrubHub), and more so that we can offer them a personalized plan based on their needs. 

The digital workplace Notion showcases another successful application, capitalizing on the benefits of AI to help new subscribers use the service for a specific purpose. This considerably reduces the user’s learning curve and boosts retention as the user realizes the benefits quickly and can take advantage of them right away. 


5. Manage Your Client’s Expectations

Having a clear onboarding process can considerably reduce customer frustration. To begin with, make sure your app lets potential users know whether they’re able to use your service where they’re located. If you don’t offer services to people from outside the U.S., it is easier to let them know right away than for them to find out that they can’t use your app after downloading it and registering. 

Also, know what your customers need and be transparent as to when they can expect to receive it. At Whizz, we’ve implemented several features to this end. One, a digital queue, lets customers know how many people are in front of them and the stage that their bike is at. We also employ an appointment-based system so that customers can come in once their vehicle is ready. This reduces waiting times and customer complaints. 

Make sure that your users understand what they’re signing up for, as vagueness about terms and conditions can lead to a lot of disgruntled customers down the road. Here, maintaining transparency not only makes the onboarding process more efficient but environmentally friendlier. For example, at Whizz, we use digital signatures and provide customers with digital copies of everything they need so they don’t need to print out any documentation. 

In this regard, maintaining transparency is also in line with the previous points, which entails being honest about customer expectations. By using digital channels, you can actively communicate with your users at any point in their journey. 


6. Keep Your Onboarding Intuitive

Onboarding is an integral part of the customer journey. Therefore, if a potential client doesn’t understand what they’re doing, we have failed to accomplish this goal. Duolingo has succeeded at this. Its onboarding process, which flows seamlessly and starts by helping users become familiar with the product and experience it, is a great example of making it easy for the customer to want to use the product and to get support when they need it. 

Companies need to remember that making things visible and easily accessible, including customer support, makes all the difference in the user experience. For instance, at Food Rocket, we initially had a problem when new users tried to redeem their promo codes since they weren’t clear about where they needed to apply them. This led many disappointed users to leave the service or, in some cases, to leave a negative review. By adjusting our interface and making it easy for new customers to claim their promotions, our acceptance rate considerably improved. Other firms, like Quickbooks, offer an additional layer of help in exchange for a higher subscription fee. 


Digitize Your Onboarding Seamlessly

Regardless of your model, ensure that your onboarding process flows well from one step to the next, especially when it requires the customer to move from one platform to another. If you’re requiring ID verification, confirm that the user can have a hassle-free transition from the web to their phone without having to enter their details from scratch. This highly increases the chances that they will complete their registration process, and that, over time, they will become valuable customers and develop loyalty to your brand.

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