Get New Customers Off to a Smooth Start: Uncover (and Remove) Friction

Attracting and retaining new customers is critical to business success. Yet all too often, customers get discouraged during their initial attempt to buy from a company or create an account. A recent Applause survey found that nearly 2/3 of consumers have abandoned an online purchase or account because the sign-up process was too difficult.

Poor customer onboarding hurts your bottom line, increasing customer acquisition costs and driving down customer lifetime value. Negative reviews and low app store ratings can further damage your brand. Fortunately, testing your new customer journeys arms your organization with insight into friction points during the process, so you can address them. Here are a few common barriers for new customers and ways to remove them.

Where new customers struggle

Survey respondents who reported they had difficulty opening a new account in the last month identified the five most common challenges in the sign-up process:

  • Too many steps/took too long

  • Process was unclear

  • Functional bugs – something didn’t work right

  • Account activation issues

  • Hard to enter the information requested (unclear what data or format a form requires)

Security concerns also arise frequently – customers aren’t willing to reveal sensitive information without understanding how it will be used. Companies that fail to mask personal data in application forms send up red flags, often leading customers to abandon the sign-up process.

While many brands focus on functional testing, this approach doesn’t ensure a seamless experience. Even if everything in your app works as designed, customers may still get frustrated if it doesn’t operate in the ways they anticipate. Poor communication and failure to set expectations about timelines, requirements and next steps can all cause serious problems for new customers. In the worst-case scenario, poor onboarding can lead customers to delete your app, return a purchase, and engage with one of your competitors.

For example, many credit card applications promise approval in just minutes… then leave customers hanging. Now they’re disappointed and skeptical of the brand’s integrity… not a great start to the relationship.

Let real user feedback shape your new customer journeys

Friction points and customer expectations vary across different industries. The best way to test your onboarding experience is to have real users that match your customer profiles travel through your new customer journeys and offer detailed feedback on the overall process. Defining the journey then mapping out steps in the process and the channel where each one occurs allows you to conduct thorough testing that pinpoints friction points and offers clear guidance on how to remove it.

Using this approach, one leading banking provider was able to discern that promotional offers for new account holders weren’t working correctly and quickly rectify the problem. The makers of an IoT home security system learned that 45% of buyers were likely to return the system due to difficulty setting up the cameras, Wi-Fi and app. The company also got insight into what information it could provide to set new customers up for success.

As interactions between brands and their customers rely more and more on quality digital experiences, it’s imperative to make sure new users get off on the right foot. More than 63% of Applause’s survey respondents reported signing up for a new account in the last month; 78% of those reported creating multiple new accounts. There's intense competition for customers; people are now comparing sign-up experiences regardless of industry. Customers accustomed to an easy experience with one brand expect the same ease in their interactions with other brands, even those in different industries. Test thoroughly to ensure you give your new customers a smooth start.

Webinars

Ensuring an Effective Onboarding Experience: Test for Customer Success

If the onboarding experience is full of hurdles new users will be discouraged. Join our webinar to learn how to identify and eradicate friction points within the new customer experience.

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Carlton Retland
Principal Solutions Engineer
Reading time: 4 min

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