Best Practices

Three reasons big companies need best-in-class onboarding

As the old adage goes: You only have one chance to make a great first impression.

There was once a time when first impressions all happened in-person. But today, they’re often formed through your customers’ perceptions of your digital experiences—in other words, from the very first moment they engage with your product, service, or offering. The same applies for internal tools, too. New employees that feel well supported and enabled from the get-go are more likely to form favorable opinions of your company, become more productive more quickly, and stick around longer.

There’s no better way to make a great first impression than by making your customers’ or employees’ first time engaging with your digital experiences a delight. And that means delivering a spectacular onboarding experience. What’s more, prioritizing onboarding isn’t just about giving your customers more reasons to love your brand. When it’s done right, companies can also reap massive business benefits: Gaining operational efficiencies, improving productivity, reducing costs, driving adoption, and accelerating growth.

In this blog post, we will explore three key reasons why large companies, in particular, should prioritize building best-in-class onboarding experiences.

1. In-app onboarding gets your customers and employees to value faster

Big companies often have complex workflows and a sprawling software stack spanning all departments. And the software they sell is often the same story—powerful but complex. 

The old way of onboarding new employees or customers to these products (whether employee- or customer-facing)—through human-led enablement and static, out-of-context resources like Wikis or user manuals—only adds to that complexity. Plus, it’s time-consuming for your enablement, support, and customer success teams; inefficient for your business; and overwhelming for new customers or employees. So what’s the new, best-in-class approach? In-app onboarding that simplifies this process by providing step-by-step guidance within the product itself.

With in-app onboarding, new customers or employees can quickly become comfortable and proficient in the features, functionality, and workflows that matter most. Interactive walkthroughs, tooltips, and contextual guidance ensure a smooth learning experience—reducing the need for extensive 1:1 training sessions, and minimizing the time it takes to realize the value of the product (read: making them more likely to expand down the road). Plus, with a tool like Pendo, you can even tailor onboarding for each new customer or employee, based on metadata like their role or permissions.

2. In-app onboarding improves knowledge retention and drives adoption

Buying software for an enterprise-scale organization is no small investment—so making sure customers or employees actually use those products effectively (and long-term) is critical. 

“Traditional” training methods like documentation or instructor-led sessions often fail to capture users’ attention. And all that information that’s thrown at new users on day one is typically quickly forgotten, particularly when it’s not paired with hands-on-product learning. The best in-app onboarding addresses these challenges by providing customers and employees with contextual guidance and always-on, automated support—so they can access or revisit educational resources whenever they need to, rather than relying on human-led assistance that’s hard to track down and only available during working hours. A Resource Center is particularly valuable here, and even helps to deflect costly support tickets and training requests down the road. This approach not only accelerates adoption and productivity, but also boosts customer and employee confidence and satisfaction.

3. In-app onboarding allows you to keep optimizing your digital experience (while saving money)

Bringing onboarding inside the product not only creates a better experience for new customers and employees—it also gives organizations the data they need to continuously improve their digital experiences and make data-informed decisions about where to focus their time and resources. 

With analytics, companies can identify usage patterns, feature adoption rates, and areas where customers or employees may be struggling to extract the full value of the product. These insights enable organizations to make informed decisions about where to allocate resources, how to improve functionality, and which future updates they should prioritize next. Product analytics also gives companies visibility into how “power users” are engaging with the product, allowing teams to use these insights to optimize their onboarding flows or develop new guidance to course-correct struggling users to the same path as the most successful users.

The combination of product analytics and in-app onboarding empowers product and business leaders to make strategic decisions based on real-time data—resulting in increased efficiency and massive cost-savings across the business. For example, when support teams aren’t bogged down responding to endless routine inquiries, they’re able to focus on supporting the most strategic, lucrative accounts. When enablement teams don’t have to spend all their time leading basic onboarding sessions, they can focus on empowering employees to grow and thrive in their roles. And when development teams have the objective insights they need to understand what’s working (and what’s not), they can stop spinning and start focusing on the initiatives they know will help customers and employees be more successful.


To learn more about how you can start building best-in-class onboarding experiences for your customers and employees, check out these resources: