Customer Success Battle 2: Custom Designed User Onboarding vs. User Onboarding Software

Customer Success Battle 2: Custom Designed User Onboarding vs. User Onboarding Software

Second in a series of daily postings where we compare the popular onboarding tools

Customer onboarding has always been one of the biggest hurdles any SaaS business can face. It is a painful, time consuming process that requires considerable planning and execution in order to draw and keep customers hooked onto your products and services.

The onboarding process is often misunderstood by many vendors simply because they do not understand the importance of a streamlined and efficient onboarding process. Giving customers value before they begin to get discouraged from using your software is the key to customer retention. This is crucial in getting them to convert from being free users to paid ones.


This is precisely why a proficient onboarding process is required to ensure the growth of a business. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. There are various decisions that businesses have to make before they can implement the actual process in real-life.

One of the major decisions that has to be made when developing an onboarding flow is whether to develop an onboarding solution in-house (custom) or settle for third-party onboarding software (ready to go). Each of the options comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

In this blog, we will guide you to help you make the right choice for your user onboarding needs.

Option 1: In-House Custom User Onboarding Process

Many businesses choose to build their own onboarding processes to get customers onboard, reduce churn and abandonment rates, while increasing customer retention and trial conversion rates. This approach is usually taken by those who wish to cut costs, rather than forming a partnership with an onboarding specialist firm for a solution to their needs.


We often see varying results of the businesses’ custom user onboarding endeavors. Some perform exceptionally well by creating a wonderful and highly effective onboarding experience. However, there are some that run into a number of problems, mainly because they underestimate the effort required to automate user onboarding processes effectively.

Another common failure is related to the inflexibility of the system; an onboarding system has to be scalable and flexible enough in order for it to be modified with the changing needs of the business. As a result, a simple update can be very costly. When this happens, a system that was designed to get more users onboard and generate revenue for the company with the least expenses actually begins to cost the company by incurring excessive maintenance costs.

As the onboarding process fails to keep up with the business strategy, the frustration level of users will increase because you may not be able to offer what you claim – and this is enough to get any user to abandon you.


The fact is that customer onboarding is a complicated issue and needs exceptional planning and precise execution in order for it to be successful. If not done properly, it can actually cause your company to lose business. This can be devastation for small businesses that are already cash-strapped and struggling to secure solid footholds in their respective industries.

The alternative? Ready-made user onboarding software.

Option 2: User Onboarding Software

One excellent way to improve your customer onboarding process while minimizing costs is by using user onboarding software. An important aspect of getting users acquainted with your products or services is to provide them with the necessary training. This helps them to familiarize themselves with your software’s UI and enables them to get value quickly.


User onboarding software is suitable for businesses if they:

  • Have a SaaS platform and they wish to make it simpler for customers to get acquainted with it.
  • Require an efficient tool that can be integrated easily into their service to provide customers with guidance, such as through interactive tutorials.
  • Wish to gain insight into the way customers use their software so that they can improve their products and services.

User onboarding software can simplify things significantly for businesses by allowing them to create interactive tutorials within a few clicks. Not only does this save time and effort; it streamlines the overall onboarding process without requiring any coding at all.

One of the most important aspects of an onboarding process is to ensure that the trial conversion rate is increased. The trial conversion rate refers to the number of trial users that convert into paying customers. This can only be achieved by increasing the satisfaction rates of customers, which in turn is achieved by providing value.

With that said, it is clear that an onboarding process is a linear process where one thing depends on another in order to be successful. The time and effort a business saves by using user onboarding software instead of building one can actually be used to improve upon the core services offered by the business.

In today’s competitive industries, it is absolutely vital that businesses reduce unnecessary workload because this often results in reduced operations efficiency. Reduced efficiency in business operations translates into reduced profit margin.

Onboarding Tutorials

Using onboarding software, you can develop tutorials to introduce the features and benefits of your service to new users, thereby decreasing the learning curve significantly.


Behavioral Analytics and Insights

It is important to understand how your customers interact with your service. Building a behavioral analytics and insights system into your onboarding flow would generally be quite complicated if you were designing a custom solution.
However, some onboarding software include these features.

By tracking behavior patterns, you can modify your services and support methods to match the needs of your customers. For instance, you will be able to identify drop off points in your onboarding process. This will highlight those areas that need to be improved in an attempt to reduce abandonment rates. It will help you answer questions such as:

  • Is the sign up form too lengthy?
  • Is it taking too much time to provide value to customers?
  • Are the customers being welcomed appropriately?
  • What improvements can be made to the onboarding process to reduce abandonment rates?

Also, behavior tracking allows businesses to understand how customers move about their website.


Each onboarding solution is unique, and depends on the needs of an individual company, and their target audience. As businesses have become more client-centric (particularly SaaS vendors), the onboarding process has gained immense importance.

A well designed onboarding process that reflects your business strategy is a powerful way of attracting customers, getting them to try your service, and then giving them enough value to transform them into paying customers. For this, you need to have an onboarding flow that is efficient and does not hog your company’s resources. The majority of businesses cannot even slightly afford the losses incurred as a result of low operational efficiencies; this makes it ideal for them to use onboarding software instead of developing one in-house.

This helps them to save money, time, and precious resources, and enables them to invest the same in enhancing the company’s core services. Before you decide on a particular solution, assess your needs to determine whether or not you really need custom built user onboarding.
It might be a wise idea to try an off-the-shelf solution first to see how it works out for you.

Which do you think is the better solution? Leave a comment for us.