Optimize User Onboarding ✅ to Maximize Retention and Satisfaction 😊

Learn how to create engaging onboarding to boost customer retention and satisfaction. Follow this step-by-step guide with concrete examples!

Optimize User Onboarding ✅ to Maximize Retention and Satisfaction 😊
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Did you know that 90% of users who fail to perceive the value of an application within the first 30 days after installation will end up abandoning it altogether? 😱

Great onboarding is the key to turning your new users into active fans of your product over the long term. It is THE number 1 lever for boosting customer retention and satisfaction!

statistiques à propos d'un bon onboarding ou non

In this step-by-step guide, I'll show you how to create an engaging onboarding process that will allow your users to quickly realize the value proposition of your product. By applying these best practices, you can increase your retention rate by more than 50%! 🚀

Ready to optimize the experience of your users from the very beginning? Let's go!

New User Journey

Let's put ourselves in the shoes of a new user who is discovering your application for the first time:

  • He has high expectations and hopes that your product will solve his problem.
  • But his initial experience is often disappointing due to a lack of support.
  • He is unable to find value and ends up in the “trough of disillusionment”
  • Result: he picks up and abandons your application 👎

Our objective is therefore to guide the user to jump directly from the “high expectations” phase to the “productivity plateau”, by making him realize the value of our product step by step.

onboarding perfect

A good onboarding should therefore:

  • Warmly welcome the user and celebrate their progress
  • Explain clearly how the product works and benefits
  • Support the user in carrying out key actions
  • Give a quick feeling of gain and success
  • Stimulate the discovery of more advanced features

By effectively onboarding a new user, you transform them into a satisfied and engaged customer who continues to use your product for the long term and recommends it to others. 😍

Now let's see how to concretely set up an onboarding process that converts!

Pillars of Successful Onboarding

Here are the different steps and best practices to follow to create engaging and user-centered onboarding.

1. Customized Onboarding

  • Create a comprehensive help center that explains each feature
  • Write inspiring customer cases about the benefits of your product
  • Shoot a short presentation video to use again
  • Use action words according to Bloom's Taxonomy
taxonomie de bloom
Source: Bloom's taxonomy

2. Personalized Emails

  • Send a personalized welcome email upon registration ❏ Remind users who have not completed key actions
  • Offer training emails with advanced features
  • Send a summary celebrating the user's progress

3. A Guided In-App Experience

  • Welcome the new user with an engaging welcome message
  • Guide him with contextual help bubbles to key actions
  • Display a progress checklist to boost engagement
  • Offer a guided tour of the main features
  • Facilitate content creation for quick gain

To easily set up these in-app onboarding elements without coding, I recommend the excellent tool Userpilot.

It allows you to create checklists, product tours, welcome modals and other tooltips in a few clicks. Its powerful targeting system allows you to show the right message to the right user at the right time.

4. Proactive Support

  • Identify users in trouble based on analytics
  • Proactively contact them to understand their barriers
  • Offer an onboarding call to support them
  • Give them personalized advice in relation to their use case

By intelligently combining these different levers, according to your product and your resources, you can create a smooth and engaging onboarding experience.

But to go further with optimization, let me give you a few more tips!

Tips for successful onboarding

1. Simplify checklists

Checklists allow complex tasks to be broken down into simple and manageable steps.

Here's how to simplify them:

  • Break down tasks : For example, for a marketing automation tool, a checklist could include:
    • Import contacts
    • Choose a model
    • Create the email
    • Scheduling the shipment
    • Send the campaign
  • Be clear and specific : Use simple and straightforward terms. For example, “Import your contacts” rather than “Start using CRM.”
  • Make every step visible : Make sure that users clearly see each step on the checklist. A well-structured checklist helps reduce anxiety and increase efficiency.
checklists pour l'onboarding

example : A new user of email marketing software could find it complex to send their first email. A well-organized checklist could break this task down into simple, guided steps, as shown above.

2. Give a head start

Use “progress bias” to motivate users from the start:

  • Start with a task already completed : For example, when users create an account, immediately check “Account created.”
  • Show initial progress : Use a progress bar that starts at 10% to give a sense of achievement.
onboarding paypal

example : PayPal automatically checks the first step “Account created” to encourage users to continue with their registration and configuration.

3. Add a progress bar

A progress bar allows users to visualize their progress, which can be very motivating:

  • Clearly indicate the status of progress : A progress bar showing 50% completed is more motivating than simply indicating 5 tasks out of 10 completed.
  • Encourage completion : Users are encouraged to continue when they see tangible progress.
onboarding LinkedIn

example : On LinkedIn, the progress bar for completing the profile is clearly visible, indicating the sections to be completed and the percentage of progress, which motivates users to complete their profile.

4. Gamify onboarding

Turning the onboarding process into a game can make the experience more enjoyable and engaging:

  • Add game elements : Integrate badges, points, or rewards for each task completed.
  • Make the process fun : Use fun animations and interactions for each step taken.
onboarding habitica

example : Habitica turns task management into a role-playing game. Users earn virtual rewards by completing real tasks, making the onboarding experience fun and engaging.

5. Offer a quick win

Providing a quick win right from the start of onboarding helps keep users engaged:

  • Make the first few wins easy : Identify a simple task that immediately shows the value of the product, like “Create your first note” at Evernote.
  • Show the immediate benefit : Users must quickly see the benefits of the tool to stay motivated.

example : At Evernote, the first task “Create your first note” is quick and easy, allowing users to immediately understand the ease of use of the app.

6. Use the right words in the checklist

How you write the tasks in your checklist is crucial for engagement:

  • Be specific and direct : Use clear action verbs. For example, “Add a profile photo” is more accurate than “Personalize your profile.”
  • Explain the benefits : Indicate why each action is beneficial. For example, “Adding a profile photo increases engagement by 30%.”
onboarding Skedsocial

example : Skedsocial uses emojis and a light tone to make their instructions fun and engaging for their target users, like Instagram influencers.

By following these tips and illustrating each point with relevant examples, you can make the onboarding process clear, engaging, and effective for your users.


Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions about user onboarding:

What is the ideal duration of an onboarding?

Onboarding should be as short as possible to engage the user quickly. But it must be comprehensive enough to make him realize the value of the product. It generally lasts for the first 30 days and can include 3 to 10 steps depending on the complexity.

What KPIs should you follow to measure the success of onboarding?

The 3 main KPIs of onboarding are: the completion rate of the various stages, the activation rate (achievement of a key action) and the retention rate on Day 7, Day 30, Day 60. Follow their evolution over time and by cohort.

What tools to create an in-app onboarding without coding?

No-code tools like Userpilot, Appcues or Userguiding make it easy to create onboarding experiences (checklists, modals, tooltips...) without development. You can connect them to your analytics tool to track performance.


Onboarding is a decisive step that determines the commitment and loyalty of your users. By supporting them in a personalized way in their handling, you drastically increase their retention and satisfaction.

To design truly effective onboarding, apply these best practices:

  • ✅ Offer comprehensive training content (help, videos, emails...)
  • ✅ Welcome and guide the user step-by-step through the product experience
  • ✅ Measure their progress and celebrate their successes to motivate them
  • ✅ Stimulate their discovery with gamification and quick wins
  • ✅ Provide personalized support to users in difficulty

This proactive and personalized support will pay off: according to a study by Wyzowl, companies with excellent onboarding can increase customer retention by 50% and revenues by 60%!

So take inspiration from the techniques in this guide to optimize onboarding on your own product. Your users will thank you and become the best ambassadors for your brand. 😍

I hope this tutorial convinced you of the importance of investing in quality onboarding.

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