How to build a new customer onboarding process flow chart

March 4, 2024
15 minutes read
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Your business has a product, which you likely developed because you saw a market gap. After filling the market gap, you post your business information online, and you advertise your products and services. Naturally, you would expect people to find your business, interact with it, and ultimately make a purchase. Now that someone has purchased with you, what do you do? How can you ensure they will continue to work with your business? Can you prevent them from leaving after a free trial?

All these questions are probably circling in your mind, especially if you are a SaaS company.

Companies like Adobe exemplify how to keep customers for SaaS products after they initially interact with your business. The company has an exceptional user onboarding journey.

The Customer onboarding process outlines how people will interact with your product each time they take a desired action. By carefully planning how you want people to feel and predicting the actions they will take, you can optimize their onboarding so it reduces confusion, increases customer adoption rates, and turns customers into advocates for your brand.

The best method for planning how to get people to use your service is with a customer onboarding flowchart. In the article, we’re going to share how you can create a flowchart template that keeps customers engaged, informed, and moving toward brand loyalty.

We all share top tips and recommendations you can employ to keep customers engaging with your brand. So, keep reading if you are frequently wondering why you aren’t able to convert trial users into paying customers or simply notice that during the onboarding phase, you lose customers keep reading. We are outlining the entire process step-by-step.

Key takeaways

  • How to create a flowchart onboarding template that's perfect for your business.
  • The stages of user onboarding and how to provide value at each.
  • Why customer lifetime value is impacted by new user experiences and the metrics you need to increase user adoption rates.
  • How to decrease time to value with new users and ensure a smooth adoption of your service.
  • How to identify customer needs by segmenting and localizing new user experiences so your business has a great first impression.
  • The tools you need to use when deciding the best path forward for onboarding users.

What is a customer onboarding process flow chart?

Such a chart is a visual representation of the stages your customers will go through when you onboard them for your services. You plan to move someone from a first-time tester to a loyal brand advocate.

The purpose of it is to help your SaaS business design outstanding experiences when using your service. It helps ensure that you are consistently converting more testers into long-term paying customers. It also helps you address all user concerns at every stage of the process.

Can you achieve a great user onboarding flow without a flowchart?

Yes, you can. however, there are multiple reasons why you should create such a chart and they aren't simply limited to great onboarding.  According to Hotjar, a business that offers advanced website analytics through the use of heat maps, after their client Ausmed perfected the customer onboarding using visual charts, they saw their product adoption rates soar from 15 to 75% over two years.

So what are the next steps you need to take for a positive onboarding experience? It's natural. But, we're going to look at the intrinsic benefits o and how it offer the ability for increased efficiency and productivity in your business first.

What are the benefits of using onboarding flow charts in your business?

When you create a flowchart you will likely uncover a multitude of benefits. It is more than we can explain in this short post, but let's check out some of the most common benefits businesses will uncover.

Visually representing the onboarding process enables best practices in your business

When you visually represent the customer journey for onboarding, you always have a visual representation of where your customers are, how they are feeling, and the actions they are taking. As a result, you will increase efficiency because you can delegate tasks to the best team members. But the value here is that you can find gaps your current process to make your workflow management more efficient.

Increase team efficiency and better communication

When you are planning, you can refer to the visual process and use it as a reference point for discussions, bolstering the communication between your team and stakeholders as well as across departments in your organization. The complex process aims to reduce your workload later and help everyone in your business stay updated on changes to your business.

Better customer retention and satisfaction

A well-designed and thought-out process can help users understand your product more quickly. It will reduce the time needed for them to realize the value of your product. If a customer finds your product simple, intuitive, and easy to use, they will use it more frequently and adopt it into their daily life more quickly. In turn, your business will see higher customer retention and customer loyalty. These metrics are directly tied to your customer's lifetime value.

How can you build a customer onboarding flow chart?

Depending on your product or service, the exact steps you need to include in your customer journey will vary. However, most processes include similar elements.

One of many user onboarding flow examples you can use in your business

Let’s outline the ten items you must include to create a smooth onboarding experience. These can vary from business to business, but if you're unsure how to start build a journey for your customers that converts them into brand advocates, the example below is a great start.

  1. An easy-to-understand sign-up page.
  2. A welcome email or message
  3. An email or in-app survey to learn more about your customer
  4. A meeting or training series of videos to assist in proper account setup
  5. A walkthrough of your product and its use cases
  6. A customer onboarding checklist that moves users to take the actions mentioned
  7. Celebratory messages when milestones are met within your app
  8. Ongoing customer support
  9. Use cases that outline extra features customers may not know about
  10. Customer feedback collection forms

Let’s further explore each of these, so you understand the impact they can have on your business.

A signup page

It is here where customers create an account and begin the journey you've made for them.  The idea is get new users to gain access to your program or app as quickly as possible. When your sign-up page is simple to follow, users will spend less time deciding if they need your service and more time experimenting with it. If that occurs, your business will have a greater opportunity to show them how the program will benefit them and increase touchpoints to increase the chance of customer adoption.

There are three tactics you can employ to achieve this such as:

  • Enable Sign Sign-on (SSO). SSO is when a potential customer can sign up for your service using their existing Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Microsoft account.
  • Stop requiring prospects to confirm email before they can use your product. Instead, allow them into their customer area to explore. Later, you can send the confirmation email, which will bring them back into their account, where they will have more chances to use your service.
  • Reduce the number of steps needed to access your product, such as onboarding surveys, until after the prospect has had time to explore your product.

A welcome message

When a new user signs up, send them a welcome email or message. You can set this up in your email provider with a trigger. Or, if you have an app, you can send a notification directly to their phone. You should do this with a drip campaign over the following days to guide people to use your product and show them how it can benefit them. Similarly, it sets the tone for working with your business and makes them feel welcome and valued.

A survey

Surveys plays an important role in onboarding. They allow you to collect vital information so you can personalize the customer experience and help your customer understand your offering more quickly.

For example, using a surfer, you can gather all of the following information:

  • Use case
  • Customer role
  • Motivations
  • Expectations
  • Unique needs

Such information can help you tailor the experience so the customer knows they can achieve their goals with your business.

Make sure you keep these short, sweet, and to the point when you onboard customers. Overwhelming them with many questions will make it impossible to get your customers to participate and could lead them to abandon your product.

Help new customers set up their accounts.

If you have a product that requires setup for functionality, one of the best ways to ensure user adoption is to invite your customer to an onboarding call. You can guide them in setting up their account to ensure they can use the service as intended.

For example, people switching to SendFox from Mailchimp may need assistance setting up automation and importing their email lists into the platform. When you outline the process it helps newbies understand the simple steps needed to use your service and you can encourage them to complete a full onboarding cycle.

Product walkthroughs

When it comes to onboarding, an interactive product walkthrough will revolutionize how a user interacts with your product. You are showing customers at each stage go the process how to complete a task. It would be helpful if you sent follow up emails after completing a walkthrough as some people, when given the option to skip the walkthrough, will. Follow-up emails enable you to ask further questions and clear up confusion surrounding your product. You shouldn't consider this an essential onboarding email at first. When you use email after a walkthrough it should be triggered by its completion.

Send them an onboarding checklist.

Many people who sign up for your service will delay using it. If they delay too long, they will miss their free trial period and decide to stop using your service altogether.

If you send them a new user checklist, it will guide them in organizing their goals and taking action to complete them using your solution. Plus, a checklist is sensory, meaning customers will get a feeling of accomplishment if they check something off their list. It will feel as if they are achieving a goal.

Ensure your onboarding checklist contains only the key actions needed for a customer to get up and running with your product. We recommend no more than 5 or 6 action items to complete.

Celebrate their successes

You can keep customers engaged and motivated by celebrating their successes. When someone completes a task, you can celebrate that milestone as they learn to use your product more frequently. Canary, an AI-assisted email service, uses this functionality quite well. You receive rewards and celebratory messages when you explore various parts of the email application. The app guides you to understand its functionality so you want more from it, which in turn leads customers to buy their lifetime or yearly plan.

You are giving the customer a dopamine rush by showing them something positive, and they will come back for more.

Provide ongoing customer support.

A walkthrough and checklist don’t ensure your customers will understand how to use the product from the get-go. Even the most intuitive interfaces have a learning curve. So, to ensure customers can use your service immediately to solve their issues, you should offer them ongoing support. If you have an app, you can offer a free chat button that connects them with a service representative. Or, you can offer a ticketing system.

Lastly, you can include a resource center that helps people understand your product by providing support materials, documentation, and video tutorials.

Contextualize additional features with use cases.

When you begin onboarding, your goal is to get customers to adopt your service as quickly as possible and become loyal users. When these initial stages are complete and a user understands your product’s basic functionality, you can then introduce additional features and contextualize their use case.

You need to gradually introduce complex functionality so you don’t overwhelm your customer. However, you also want them to see the full potential of your product so you can keep them as a loyal member of your business.

By introducing new features occasionally, you will also drive engagement by pulling people back to your business.

Collect Customer Feedback for optimization and personalization in onboarding.

Until now, we’ve talked exclusively about how you can get customers more interested in your product and hook them so they use your service. There’s always room for improvement in the business world, and you can make the customer experience better by asking them what they are looking for and understanding their needs on a deeper level.

You can learn more about your customers easily with surveys. Using the data you receive, you can iterate your onboarding process and make small adjustments that compound over time.

These surveys also allow you to segment your users further and customize experiences for customers who are like them in the future.

What are some tips for effective customer onboarding flows?

If you follow the structure above, you will be covering the basics for a user onboarding flowchart. It will keep your customers engaged and lead them to adopt your product or service faster.

Now, let’s see how you can elevate that experience and make users love your brand as well as your product.

Personalize the experience for segments in your audience.

In the business world, personalization helps consumers understand that you care about them. They will understand your business is trying to help them when you tailor their experience to their needs. When you optimize the experience for specific use cases, you guide users to understand how to use your service for their needs, and they will take to using your service with more frequency.

To personalize everything, you need to begin with segmentation. You can segment users by:

  • Role
  • Use Case
  • Behavior
  • User Intent

When you understand these metrics, you can create a happy trail for clients based on their needs. Once you have this data, you need to design a path for each user segment and trigger them based on the responses to the survey you sent in your initial onboarding.

Give more resources and support.

Personalization isn’t only about what; it’s also comprised of the how.

People learn differently and may find some resources you produce to be easier to follow than others. To cater to all needs, provide a wide range of resources such as blog posts, educational videos, interactive tutorials, and guided learning modules.

Resources can also help aid in your marketing efforts. If a prospect is considering your service, resources can give them a better idea of what it’s like to use your solution. It could be the push they need to take the plunge and sign up for a free trial.

Analyze your data and make adjustments for success.

Thinking of customer survey data as the only means for improving your product is a flawed way of thinking about your business and the people who

are already using your solutions.

You can use advanced analytics tools to enhance the process further. By cross-examining your analytics data and survey responses, you can gain a comprehensive overview of what customers experience when they interact with your business.

When tracking advanced analytics, you should monitor all of the following metrics:

  • New sign-ups
  • User Activation
  • Product Adoption
  • Conversion rates
  • User retention

These help you identify areas for further improvement.

Speak the same language as your customers.

When conducting business, it’s good practice to use the language of your audience. When you are attracting customers, you likely researched the language they use and incorporated it into your marketing materials.

To further enhance your onboarding process, you can take your research and use of data to the next level by locating the onboarding experience.

Culture plays a huge role in how people think, react, and respond. Don’t think of localization only in terms of different languages. For example, the way Americans and British people think are distinct as a result of their culture. Therefore, the logical steps in a process will be distinct for these two groups of English speakers.

Localize your onboarding, and users will recognize it by feeling you are talking directly to them.

A/B test strategies to see which is best for your business

As you build out and iterate your onboarding process, you will learn what makes the biggest impact on your customer base. Initially, you won’t have any idea of what could work, so it’s best to conduct A/B testing.

A/B testing is the process of modifying small variables in your process to uncover those that resonate with your target audience. To do this, you will create two versions of the same message and trigger them simultaneously. Once you trigger the messages, you will look at analytics and user responses to determine which best resonates with your user base.

A/B testing is time-consuming, and the more variables there are, the more time it will take.

When you have multiple variables to test, you should think about multivariate testing as an alternate form of A/B testing. In a multivariate test, you have identified multiple groups of top-performing variables. You will create two forms of a message taking top-performing aspects of each group of variables you have found to be effective. You will then present two different groups of winning variables to find which is most effective. It is distinct from A/B testing because you are modifying multiple variables simultaneously.

What are some tools you can use to improve your customer onboarding and gather essential data?

There are multiple tools you can use to collect data. You can divide these tools into those that give you data about individual users and those that give you holistic data.

Apps that are best for collecting user data case-by-case

Tolls that give you specific user data are useful when trying to understand what a specific target persona in your audience looks like. These tools can help you identify the best paths for segments of customers.

You can use any of the following tools for collecting user data:

  • Full Story
  • Hotjar
  • Mouseflow
  • Crazyegg
  • Microsoft Clarity

Each of these apps will allow you to integrate code into your app or website so you can view user interactions in a case-by-case scenario. Or, you can simply choose to look at interactions within a certain element or page of your program or app.

Now, let’s see which tools will help you analyze data holistically.

Apps to use for collecting large amounts of data for cohorts

At times, you will need to see how users in a specific segment or your entire audience are responding to your process or changes within it. In these instances, you should look at analytics tools that create a holistic view of your customer journey.

You can use tools like:

  • Google Analytics
  • Click
  • Matomo
  • Plausible
  • Heap
  • Kissmetrics

These analytics tools will look at user interactions across all people in your audience. Then, you can further segment these people by country, age, or interactions.

Once you are armed with the data you need for your user onboarding optimization goals, you need tools to collaborate with your team to build a better flow for customers.

Tools to optimize your customer onboarding

When choosing a tool to improve experiences for new customers and increase adoption rates, you need collaboration and communication abilities.

You can use any of the following tools to achieve clear, effective communication and build a better flow for new customers.

  • Miro
  • Userpilot
  • User flow
  • Appcues
  • Intercom
  • Pendo

Each of these apps has its unique approach to collaboration and communication. Choose the app that best fits your organization’s workflow for maximum efficiency. You should find one tool more intuitive than another, as each caters to distinct audiences.


Onboarding new customers  helps you manage and guide them with a systematic approach you can refine over time. It will increase team performance and ensure everyone is working towards a common goal. However, if you find the process overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If so, we invite you to click the yellow button in the top right of your screen and contact us today.

We are a team of expert designers ready to aid you in the onboarding optimization process. We will listen intently to your concerns and create a tailored approach to optimizing your new user processes. Remember, what works for one business might not work for another.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to create an onboarding process?

Welcome new employees with a personalized message, create a list of necessities for successful onboarding, develop a curriculum, involve management teams, streamline paperwork and identify metrics to measure success, to create an effective onboarding process.

What is the primary goal of a user onboarding flow chart?

The primary goal is to optimize conversions, enhance user satisfaction and facilitate user activation within the product.

How can Single Sign-On (SSO) streamline the account creation process during user onboarding?

Single Sign-On simplifies user onboarding by allowing users to sign up for accounts with their existing credentials, eliminating the need to create new usernames and passwords.

What are some advantages of incorporating gamification elements into the user onboarding process?

Incorporating gamification elements into the user onboarding process can incentivize engagement, make the experience more enjoyable, and increase adoption of the product.

How can data insights be leveraged to optimize user onboarding flows?

Data insights can be leveraged to review the customer journey, track user behavior, analyze drop-off points, understand roadblocks, design effective experiences, collect feedback, and make informed decisions, allowing companies to optimize their user onboarding flows.

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