A Better Customer Onboarding Experience: 7 Examples We Love

What if onboarding could be more than just a tedious task? What if it could be an exciting and enjoyable experience for both the customer and the brand?

Imagine starting a new relationship. You want to be welcomed and feel valued, right? The same is true for your customers. They want to feel like they made the right decision choosing your brand and that you care about them — that you really care about them.

Brands that prioritise the onboarding experience set themselves apart from their competitors and help build a strong relationship with their customers going forward. These brands make onboarding fun, leaving customers feeling engaged and energised. So how can you do the same? By learning from the best.

Today, we’re exploring 7 examples of brands that have nailed their customer onboarding process. We’ll identify the top tips that you can incorporate into your own strategy.

But first, let’s take a moment to recenter and recognise why onboarding is so important in the first place (in the first place — get it?). This will be the basis for understanding why the best onboarding examples work so well.

The Power of Onboarding

Customer onboarding is more than just a task to be checked off. It’s the process of welcoming new clients or customers to your business and setting them up for success. The onboarding experience is the foundation of the relationship between you and your customer — the stronger it is, the longer the relationship will last.

For almost 9 out of 10 consumers, better onboarding content increases loyalty, boosting your bottom line.

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More specifically, how great (or not so great) your digital onboarding program is can directly impact your bottom line. A positive customer onboarding experience increases conversions and loyalty while poor onboarding can lead to customer churn. Consider the stats below from a recent study about how consumers feel about onboarding:

  • More than 60% of customers say that they strongly consider a company’s onboarding process in their purchasing decision.
  • 86% are more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in onboarding content that welcomes and educates them after they’ve made a purchase.
  • More than half (55%) of people say they’ve returned a product because they didn’t fully understand how to use it.

Onboarding is your chance to make a great first impression. It’s where you can show customers that you value their time and trust. When you take the time to invest in an effective onboarding experience, you bring yourself closer to reaping the rewards of increased loyalty and engagement.

7 Brands That Nailed Their Onboarding Experience

Now that you understand the importance of a successful onboarding experience, let’s take a look at some brands that are doing it right.

Get ready to be inspired by their creativity and commitment to going above and beyond. These brands have proven that onboarding doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be a highlight of the customer journey.

1. Japan Airlines

Hospitality is one industry that always pushes boundaries to create unique experiences for its guests. The future of travel is always evolving, and guests expect a next-level experience. This is their vacation after all, often a hard-earned treat.

For example, we’ve seen Carnival Cruise Line deliver elevated personalised guest experiences through wearable tech and Delta create custom year-in-review showreels for each of their Medallion members.

Another brand leading the pack is Japan Airlines, which recently upgraded its onboarding experience for first-class passengers. For these loyal customers, they created a truly VIP experience, starting with a personalised welcome video customised to them and their upcoming flight.

No generic or text-heavy welcome messages here. Japan Airlines’ first-class passengers now receive a video that’s tailored just for them. As the excerpt below shows, the videos greet each traveler by name and conveniently include real-time flight information, how long it takes to walk to their gate, their arrival time and more. How cool is that?

In a world where consumer standards soar higher and higher, Japan Airlines is leading the way with its innovative approach to welcoming and onboarding customers. With Personalised Video, they’ve taken the pre-flight experience to new heights. For these lucky travelers, the journey starts before they even board the plane, and that’s something truly special.

What we can learn: Use data to personalise the onboarding process in ways that add value and make the customer’s experience seamless. Plus, don’t be afraid to use different content types, like video, to add a more human touch to the process.

2. Airbnb

As the top online marketplace connecting travelers who need a place to stay with hosts all around the world, Airbnb has more than one customer segment to consider. Sure, they need to think about travelers, but they also need hosts to sell to those travelers, and it’s the hosts who have the biggest job and therefore need proper onboarding.

The brand’s approach to communicating with its hosts and introducing them to Airbnb’s features is one that stands out for being human and personable, as perfectly demonstrated in the video below.

The video, featuring CEO Brian Chesky, is a masterclass on how to make new hosts feel welcomed and informed. By telling his own personal story of how Airbnb got started and showing how he’s preparing to become a host again, Chesky makes the process of hosting feel approachable and achievable while also establishing an emotional connection with the viewer.

Airbnb’s onboarding content is a prime example of how video can be a powerful way to add back a human touch to the often automated nature of onboarding. Through Chesky’s storytelling and live demonstrations, hosts are briefed on the platform and its new features in a way that feels like they’re being spoken to one-on-one.

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Watching this video, you get a sense that the Airbnb team truly cares about its hosts — an effect that will likely leave an impression on the audience long after their onboarding experience is complete.

What we can learn: Don’t underestimate the importance of visual storytelling. Customers are more likely to engage with a brand that makes them feel like they matter. By using video, Airbnb makes its onboarding program stand out and encourages loyalty in its clients.

3. Mercedes-Benz Finance

Let’s face it, finance and lending can be a bit of a snooze-fest. But that doesn’t mean the onboarding process has to be boring. Mercedes-Benz Finance understood that when it comes to money, clarity is key. That’s why it was so important that they created an onboarding experience that kept customers engaged from start to finish.

Using data-driven video, Mercedes-Benz Finance ensured that information was conveyed clearly and effectively. Customers were given a dynamic welcome, told what to expect moving forward and given directions for managing their agreement in the self-service portal — all in a way that was easy to understand, inclusive and personalised to their unique situation.

Overall, the onboarding campaign was a success, effectively reducing costs while driving customers to self-serve with a 28% conversion rate.

What we can learn: An engaging onboarding experience is possible for even the driest of topics. To make complex information easier to understand, consider using video to convey data and next steps clearly and make the process more fun and effective.

4. Trello

Trello is an online project management tool that helps you organise tasks and collaborate with your team. While learning about how a project management tool works isn’t exactly the most exciting process to sit through, Trello stands out with its engaging onboarding experience.

The explainer video below takes new Trello users through the platform with a fun example project: opening a taco truck. The video doesn’t just list features or show a dull screen recording — it brings the features to life with real footage of a taco truck owner using Trello to successfully complete their project.

As the taco truck owner builds their business plan, viewers learn how to create boards, lists and cards, add comments and attachments, and assign tasks. By using a relatable and fun example, the Trello video keeps viewers’ attention and interest. It’s a great example of how to create an onboarding experience that’s both informative and pleasant.

What we can learn: Think outside of the box to make the onboarding experience a little different. Don’t just tell users how to use your product or service. Show them through a practical but creative example. (Who doesn’t like tacos, right?) By taking notes from Trello’s onboarding program, you too can create a memorable introduction to your product or service.

5. Mercer

Remember that onboarding isn’t just for customers. It’s also essential to onboard employees properly to ensure they understand your company culture, expectations, tools, platforms, benefits and more.

Mercer’s video below is an excellent example of this. Using helpful visuals to clearly outline employee benefits and demonstrate how to navigate the company portal, Mercer proactively sets employees up for success from day one.

Additionally, the friendly personalised voiceover adds a human touch, making employees feel appreciated and valued. For instance, in addition to demonstrating how the employee can request time off through the portal, the narrator also encourages the employee to use their vacation days with a friendly “You’ve earned it!”

The cherry on top? Personal details woven throughout the video. From thanking the employee for their 7 years as a team member to reminding them about their 12 accrued vacation days, the employee onboarding experience becomes much more relevant when specific, personalised details are part of it.

What we can learn: Adding a human element to the message, like Mercer’s voiceover, can go a long way in making viewers feel welcomed and valued. By focusing on empathy and encouragement, you set a high standard for a standout onboarding experience.

6. Canva

Canva is a user-friendly graphic design platform with onboarding content worth paying attention to. It’s not only free to get started but signing up takes only seconds — both key facts that the brand makes sure to point out.

Knowing that a short, streamlined onboarding process helps customers get started quickly, Canva added minimal steps between signing up and using the platform.

Once signed in, new users are asked only one simple question: “What will you be using Canva for?” Once users choose between the 6 choices — nonprofit, small business, personal, etc. — they’re redirected to a homepage filled with designs recommended just for them.

And that’s it!

While the platform is easy to get a hang of without detailed tutorials, Canva does offer (optional) onboarding content that users can use to dive deeper. This includes a pre-filled design file with the 11 key steps for creating a new design and a handy collection of video tutorials for a quick overview of where to start. All the videos are under 2 minutes, the first of these — titled “Welcome home” — is particularly short and sweet. By keeping things brief and straightforward, Canva ensures that users don’t get overwhelmed early in their customer journey.

You don’t want to overload your customers with details, no matter how extensive your features are. Canva gets this right by creating an intuitively easy-to-use interface and giving their customers a choice in how they want their onboarding experience to continue.

What we can learn: Don’t go overboard with information or force your customers through a lengthy tutorial. Make it easy to get started, focus on the essentials, and let users seek out more if they need it.

7. Plan International Canada

Looking for a way to inspire loyalty and educate your customers at the same time? Consider combining the typical onboarding message with strategic messages that inspire loyalty.

For example, Plan International Canada created a video thanking donors for their support while also explaining how their donations were used to make a real impact. It’s a great example of how that first touchpoint can also be used to show appreciation and encourage loyalty, not just to explain what your organisation does or how a product works.

By adding gratitude to an early touch point, you set the stage for a customer-centric experience that improves loyalty long-term.

What we can learn: Rather than simply being a transaction, onboarding can be an opportunity to establish a meaningful relationship with your customers. Consider taking time in the process to show your customers that you appreciate and value their support. A little gratitude can go a long way in inspiring loyalty and building a strong brand.

Elevate Your Onboarding Experience

In a world where attention spans are dwindling, nailing the onboarding process is crucial. The 7 brands we’ve profiled have done just that and made an impact on their audience.

As these brands have done, don’t be afraid to push boundaries and get creative with your customer onboarding process. Implement some of the tips and strategies we identified to craft a better onboarding program than before.

And of course, don’t forget about the combined power of personalisation and video. A welcome should be personal and videos add a human touch that a text-laden email lacks. Adding Personalised Video to your customer onboarding campaigns can make a huge difference to your business.

Ready for some next steps? Read some of our best practices for customer onboarding to drive long-term retention. Then get ready to take your onboarding experience from mediocre to amazing. Reach out and we’ll show you how it’s possible with Personalised and Interactive Video.

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