Each user is unique, but with regards to user onboarding, the data tell us there're only two groups. Some users want to be guided step-by-step, while others prefer to explore the app on their own.
What if the user skips the onboarding tour?
Things get more tricky with the second group. They skip your beautifully crafted product tour and go straight into your UI. If your app is simple, they'll figure it out.
In the case of a more robust app (eg. CRM, analytics, accounting, or HR software) the chances are they won't. Either they'll reach out to your support or worse, they'll churn and explore a competitive solution.
Should you try to preempt churn by forcing onboarding tours on them? No, please don't. It's disrespectful to the user and it'll only make your brand look arrogant.
Tooltips to the rescue
It's much better UX to allow them to proceed as they wish and provide assistance along the way. We call this contextual onboarding.
It relies on in-app hints and tooltips. These inobtrusive graphical elements typically come in form of a "?" or an "i". They expand on hover or click and provide the user with an explanation, instructions, feature description, etc.
You can enrich them with imagery, add video tutorial or even launch a product tour off them. User is much less likely to skip it because they asked for more information by clicking on the tooltip icon.
The problem of multi-step flows
"?" or "i" icons work well for single-step tasks. But if your flow consists of more than one step the user won't know where to start. Like in the below example (yes, even one of the world's most popular CRM tools is facing onboarding challenges).
A much better UX would be using numbers to indicate the order of steps.
Small change, a big impact on user experience.
If your tooltips suffer from the same problem, open the Product Fruits editor and change the icon type. Three clicks and you made your self-onboarding flow so much better. Users will love it.
And while you have the editor open fix the position of the first tooltip. It's little details that create your brand experience.