Blog: Use in-app help to improve customer onboarding

Use in-app help to improve customer onboarding

Marek Sotak
User onboarding

Unfortunately, we all have devastating experiences which started with the click of a button. That is where a friendly, guided tour can help users reach their goals. In the previous post in this series, we talked about the real fear people have when they use software. In this post, we’ll look at how you can identify potential trouble spots in your app, and which Inline Manual tools you can apply to help users.

Today, we idealize software that doesn’t need training. It wasn’t that long ago when most business process software was rolled out with multi-day in-person training. It was costly, time-consuming, and didn’t “stick.” Now, we expect software to be self-service, and work intuitively, like Twitter.

The problem is, some things are just complex, take multiple steps, and we cannot simplify them. And some barriers can’t be solved in the UI. The best example is the fact that there is are many one-day courses to teach people how to use Twitter. Twitter, with one text field!

It’s likely that the users of your software do want training and do need guidance. If you're using Inline Manual, you know that helping people in the context of getting their work done is effective and cost-saving.

Identify trouble spots - and apply the right tool

In our previous post, we looked at some well-known trouble spots in your application and thought about ways we can empathize better with users.

We can see patterns where users struggle:

  • Doing anything which has wide-ranging effects such as global configuration.
  • Doing anything which is “undoable” such as sending something.
  • Taking any action which involves communication, broadcasting, or publishing.

It's at these points where you'll want to add in walkthroughs which help people through these more onerous tasks. Once you have your walkthroughs set up in Inline Manual, you'll see precisely how you can help users make it to their goals.

Need to offer assurance to first-time users?

Our customers often start with a welcome screen, Automated to auto-launch for first time users.

By starting and continuing with this pattern, you can update consistent messages for all users across your application. You can give users news, new offers, and updates. Our customers also report being surprised the level of granularity they can get by targeting users from a specific client, or users of a particular role. What information you have available depends on how you configure People tracking.

Need to help users sift through knowledgebase content?

Use a knowledge base article with context path to make the article appear in the right place.

The Widget is available by default in the lower right-hand corner of your app’s screen when you install the Inline Manual Player. The Widget includes a list of all content such as Articles and Walkthroughs by default, but you can hide it manually. When you click on Articles, they load in the widget. By setting the context URL for an article you can make it only appear within certain sections of your site. This is potentially a huge time-saver for your users because they can get relevant help content without having to search for it.

You can customize the position of the widget and the widget button text. In addition to Articles, you can also list links to walkthroughs, tooltips, or redirects.


Need to offer a beacon of help to users in trouble spots?

This is where Tooltips and Launchers are helpful.

Launchers sit quietly in the UI, offering a familiar “help” icon. When users click it, the launcher can start a complete tutorial, or you can launch users directly into a step further along in a tutorial with a Step Launcher. A Step Launcher can save you time in duplicating steps, so someone can start half-way through a walkthrough, and pick-up in the tutorial in context. These are as helpful for new users as they are for returning users to help with customer retention.

Start small, test, and iterate

These patterns and solutions give you some idea of how you can help users. The best thing is to start small, test, and analyze. Find one trouble spot, make one small change, and review the results in Analytics. Even in the space of a 14 day trial, with segmentation on a selection of users, you'll be able to see if Inline Manual helps your users.

What you create and how you evaluate your efforts will depend on your objectives.

  • Want to reduce support requests for a specific feature, or for a particular user segment? Try using a combination of in-context Articles and walkthroughs.
  • Want to encourage more users to convert from free to paid accounts by telling users about advanced features in your application? Try using a launcher to highlight a new feature.
  • Want to encourage feature-adoption among long time users? Try using a welcome screen for users who haven’t logged in for a while, and show them around your new feature or design.

The more specific you are with your experiment, the clearer it will be to know if you’re getting value. And we certainly hope you do.

Contact us if you have any questions. We’re always happy to help!