Onboarding is like a first date. When it’s enjoyable, there is a big chance for a long relationship. But when it’s not… Well, often there is no second chance.
A first date is not about talking about yourself all the time; likewise, onboarding is not meant to show your customer each and every feature of your product. The idea is to provide a good place to start and let the customers explore the rest by themselves.
At LiveChat, we’re constantly working on improving our onboarding process. It’s not easy and we have made some mistakes along the way, but we have also learned from them. Let me share with you a couple of snapshots from our journey: maybe our experience will make a product or two even better!
The fall of the onboarding checklist
One of the most common UX elements is progress tracker. It breaks complex tasks into digestible chunks and sets clear expectations for the users. Therefore, when we wanted to enhance our onboarding flow, we thought it would be great to introduce it. We wanted to give the users a sense of meaningful accomplishments and shorten the time to WOW.
Our onboarding at that time was a wizard that helped users configure the chat window and install LiveChat on their website before they actually entered the product.
We asked ourselves: "Why are we doing this outside the product? Why don't we let users play around within actual application to learn the ins and outs?"
So we decided to let our customers enter the app right after the signup, assuming that giving them an interactive checklist would help them know the product and its benefits faster.
We spent some time discussing and designing the interface and we wholeheartedly believed that this was the right direction. However, the A/B test that we ran (to compare how the checklist was doing in comparison to the wizard) proved us wrong.
LiveChat wizard checklist (click to zoom)At first, we were optimistic. The users checked their tasks, clicked around the app and tried to complete the checklist as fast as possible. Although it looked good at first, the real data was merciless.
It turned out that the conversion level and the churn were comparable to the wizard version, but the value of new licenses was lower when the checklist was involved.
The reason was that the users added fewer agent accounts because it was easier to add them in bulks in the wizard than one after another in the application. The checklist clearly made this action harder to complete, which was reflected in the data. All in all, we realized that the onboarding checklist failed in reducing the time to wow the customers. Therefore, we decided to end the A/B tests and return to the old wizard.
What did we learn from this?
Don’t underrate the simplicity in the onboarding process. The more the users have to do before they can start using your product, the greater the chance they will drop out.
Show, not tell: the Jane tutorial
The checklist failure has taught us that** the onboarding process should focus on the product value**. When people run an app for the first time, they should see its benefits as quickly as possible so that they stick with it. This was the idea behind the second attempt to modify the LiveChat onboarding process, but a problem arose immediately. A fresh LiveChat instance comes with no data, so we asked ourselves what we could do to prove the value of our product.
And this is what we came up with: let’s go from 0 to 60 in a flash and simulate a perfect chat with a customer. This is how Jane the Sample Visitor came to be.
LiveChat Jane tutorial (click to zoom)The idea was simple: we gave our users the option to have a sample chat with Jane. The chat demonstrated how to work with LiveChat and, moreover, highlighted a couple of sexy features of the product.
It was a bull’s eye! The users fell in love with Jane and the conversion rate has increased by 18%. Moreover, there was a general increase in user activity. The chat tutorial confirmed that our customers believe that LiveChat is a good choice to get their job done. We used our product to prove its value, and it was a win-win.
LiveChat Jane tutorial (click to zoom)The Jane tutorial has turned out to be a fabulous feature and we decided to develop it further. Soon it will be integrated with BotEngine.ai - we hope the users will enjoy it!
What did we learn from this?
Let your product speak for itself. Instead of bombing the users with tasks, give them that “aha” moment so that they realize how they can benefit from your product.
A new approach: persona-based onboarding
Since the chat tutorial was doing so good, we decided to revisit the wizard-based onboarding. This time our aim was to focus on the users and their jobs-to-be-done.
“User onboarding starts with knowing your customers” was our motto when we started the design process.
As a result, we created a persona-based wizard. The first screen asks the customers why they use LiveChat. Depending on which of the four available options they select, the onboarding process is slightly different. This allows us to make the user experience more personal and suggest only the features they actually need.
We need to know our customers to keep onboarding contextual and timely.
LiveChat persona-based onboarding (click to zoom)But there’s more! We also wanted to make the onboarding process fun. Therefore, we made it possible for the users to play with the look and feel of their new chat window to reflect their brand. The wizard also suggests uploading an avatar and setting the welcome message to make the chat more inviting.
LiveChat persona-based onboarding (click to zoom)Keeping in mind the checklist failure, we made adding support agents much easier. Moreover, the wizard shows 5 different ways to install LiveChat so that the customers can choose the method that suits them best. Our goal is to keep the users excited about every step of the process. Besides, it’s harder to give up on something one has already put some work and heart into.
What did we learn from this?
Don’t rely on the one-size-fits-all approach. Know your audience and try to address their needs with tailored solutions.
So, what’s now?
Will the persona-based approach work for us and bring the expected results? Honestly, we don’t know yet. The new wizard has been released just recently and is still undergoing the A/B tests. We’re now in the process of collecting feedback and reviewing the data. What we do know, though, is that improving the onboarding process is a never-ending quest and our job is to constantly make it better and easier. So we will watch the data, iterate and try to create yet another, even more polished experience for our future users.