Published 2/15/2023 by Daniel Musialek

Most Common User Onboarding Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The onboarding process is one of the most critical parts of the customer journey. Let’s discuss the most common user onboarding mistakes and how to avoid them.

user onboarding mistakes

User onboarding sets the foundation for a successful relationship between your organization and customers. However, there are some common mistakes that many companies make during this process, resulting in poor user retention and engagement.

According to recent statistics, 63% of customers consider the level of support they get during the onboarding process before making their final buying decision. That’s why 82% of enterprises see their onboarding strategy as a crucial factor in creating value for customers.

These statistics only explain the importance of effective user onboarding and the need for companies to carefully design and execute this process.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most common user onboarding mistakes, along with actionable insights on how to avoid them, to help you create a well-planned onboarding strategy.

What Is User Onboarding?

Definition for Google snippet: User onboarding refers to the process of guiding new users/subscribers to use your product/service and make the most out of it. It’s usually automated and its goal is to help users understand the value of the product and how to use it effectively so that they can quickly become proficient.

Effective user onboarding ensures that your users have a positive experience with your service/product and are more likely to become long-term, engaged customers.

Common User Onboarding Mistakes You Must Avoid

If you have an effective user onboarding process, it can help you increase your customer retention. The better your customer retention, the greater your profits, and the better your product experience. Therefore, it’s critically important to pay attention to your user onboarding process and avoid the following mistakes.

Becoming too Salesy Too Early

You don’t want to force your users to sign up or make a final decision before they try your service/product. The common examples of becoming too salesy too early would be:

  • Bombarding users with too many calls to action or pitches for premium features
  • Using aggressive or pushy language in your onboarding flows
  • Focusing too heavily on conversion rates or sales metrics during the onboarding process instead of focusing on the product’s value

How to Avoid

To avoid this mistake, it's important to allow users to explore your product on their own terms. Instead of pushing specific features or calls to action, you should focus on providing a clear and easy-to-follow onboarding experience.

Ideally an interactive experience in the product so users can learn by doing it rather than reading about it.

It should guide users through your product and its features, highlighting its value by explaining what pain points or obstacles it addresses. You want to provide your customers with enough time to interact with your product so they can understand its value.

Overwhelming Users with Too Much Information

It’s almost always better to over-communicate with customers during the onboarding process rather than under-communicate. However, you must keep in mind that there’s a fine line between over-communicating and overwhelming users.

Bombarding your users with too much information at once will lead to confusion and frustration, causing them to disengage and abandon the product.

How to Avoid

You only want to provide your customers with the information they need to know at a certain point in time. For example, if a user is at the initial stage of the onboarding process, they should only receive information about the core features of your product or service.

Provide focused and targeted information and keep everything as simple as possible. That’s because decision simplicity, or the ease of gathering trustworthy information, plays the biggest role in helping people make buying decisions.

Focusing On Quantity Instead of Quality

One common mistake that many companies make is to list down all the features of a product during the automated onboarding process. Although there’s nothing wrong in doing that if you see it logically, it rarely encourages customers to stick to your product.

Instead, it bores them because they don’t care about the capabilities of your service. They just want to know what’s in it for them, and whether or not it fulfils their needs.

According to studies, 70% of customers make their buying decisions based on the quality of service they receive. So, you want to focus on the quality and value of your product instead of focusing on the number of features it offers.

How to Avoid

To avoid this mistake, you should prioritize the value and relevance of the information. Instead of merely listing all the features and functionalities of the product, you should communicate how it can solve a specific problem or improve the user's life.

For example, instead of just saying that a dieting app has a specific recipe feature, you can communicate the value of the feature by saying: by using the app, you will never have to worry about meal planning again.

To effectively communicate the value of your product during onboarding, it's crucial to understand your target audience's pain points and aspirations. It’ll help you tailor your value proposition and messaging to resonate with your customers.

Creating One-Size-Fits-All Process

Assuming that only one user onboarding process will work effectively for all customers is another common mistake that companies make. You don’t want to fall into this trap because each user can have unique needs and pain points and you must address them uniquely.

How to Avoid

According to statistics, 90% of people say that they’re likely to spend more time with organizations that offer personalized customer experience. That’s why you should have an automated, branched process that provides each user with a unique onboarding experience based on their needs, like the one offered by Product Fruits.


Keep in mind that iteration is the key to running and managing a successful SaaS company. So, the best strategy is to create different onboarding flows and A/B test them. It’ll allow you to determine the process that works best for you, along with valuable insights to improve it.

Make sure that you add different content types in your onboarding process, including infographics and videos. That’s because 97% of customers believe that videos are effective while welcoming and educating new users.

Adding Friction to the Process of Creating an Account

Creating a lengthy sign-up process, where the user needs to enter both relevant and irrelevant information, is the recipe for failure. An overly complex sign-up process will overwhelm and alienate users and they’ll simply leave without completing it.

How to Avoid

The best way to avoid this problem is to offer users to sign up using the SSO (Single Sign On) options. It’ll allow the users to complete the signup process within seconds and continue exploring your service.

If you can’t use SSO, consider making the application as short as possible and use progress bars to keep users engaged. The time that the average person takes to abandon an application, during the onboarding process, is 14 minutes and 20 seconds. If your sign-up form takes a large chunk of that time, there’s not much left to explore the app itself.

Not Celebrating Users’ Achievements

Very few SaaS companies celebrate their users’ achievements and milestones. Bear in mind that people use SaaS products to address their problems, improve productivity, and achieve success.

While not celebrating your users’ success might not affect your company negatively, doing it can be extremely beneficial. It can improve your customer retention rate and help strengthen your relationships with them.

How to Avoid

When it comes to user onboarding, the best way to celebrate the users’ achievements is to add milestones to the process. For example, you can use a progress bar on a checklist, which will help users track their progress and feel a sense of accomplishment as they complete each step.


You can also offer a reward or incentive for completing certain actions or reaching certain milestones. This could be in the form of a free trial extension, a discount on a premium feature, or even a gamified experience with points or badges.

Additionally, you can also use email or in-app messaging to celebrate the user's progress and remind them of the benefits they will gain by completing the onboarding process.

Failing to Utilize Permission Primer Popups

Permission primer pop-ups are dialog boxes that ask users for permission to do something, such as enabling notifications or accessing specific features on their device.

Many apps simply ask for permission without explaining why the user should grant it or how it will benefit them. This can lead to mistrust and skepticism, and even cause users to disable the feature entirely.

How to Avoid

To avoid this mistake, it's important to explain the benefits of granting permission in a clear and compelling way. For example, if you need to access the personal information of your users, explain to them why it’s needed and how it’ll be used and secured.

This will help build trust with users and increase the likelihood of them granting permission. You’ll also need to store this information securely so that it doesn’t fall victim to a cyberattack.

While using a VPN suited for your company’s devices to prevent outsiders from accessing sensitive information will help, it won’t be enough. You’ll need to use a holistic approach to secure your customers’ data.

Final Words

The user onboarding process is all about paying attention to small details. You need to provide users with an experience that will help them understand that your service/product is what fulfils all their needs.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes to better understand their pain points and craft an onboarding process that addresses them. Not only will it allow users to complete the onboarding process quickly but it’ll also increase your retention rate.


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