User Onboarding with an LMS: The Complete Guide Emma O'Neill Published on August 8, 2019 Organizations have a bad habit. They focus on one number - acquisition. Of course, it's a key metric. Winning more customers helps your business grow. But it's not the be-all and end-all. All that time, money and resources put into acquisition goes to waste if new users don't turn into long-term, engaged customers. Thankfully, the tides are turning. Organizations are putting more emphasis on retention through user onboarding training. With the help of a Learning Management System (LMS), businesses are creating engaging onboarding courses that new users can take from the get-go. This educates them on your product/service and leads them to success. Here’s an in-depth look at how your business can build a user onboarding strategy with training that empowers their success and grows your business. User onboarding strategies: Training with an LMS User onboarding is all about one key thing - helping your customers reach the “A-ha” moment. It’s about optimizing the process so that you quickly and easily reach the point where they think “Hey, this product or service is going to solve my problem.” There are a few popular user onboarding strategies - emails, in-product messaging, customer success managers, etc. Then there is customer training, the topic we’re focusing on today. So, why use training to onboard your users? With an LMS, your organization can build courses that educate your users on your product, its features, and offer best practice advice to help them discover its value for them in a fast and efficient way. Your business also has the freedom to develop a training strategy that’s most impactful for your users. You can create a diverse, engaging learning experience with videos, webinars, product tutorials, and more. Your learners can discover the benefits of your product at their own pace through self-directed or required training. Significantly, onboarding training is efficient, scalable, and large portions can be automated. Whether used alone or as part of a larger onboarding suite, it’s a powerful way to show your users what your product/service can do for them. The Complete Guide to User Onboarding Using an LMS When planning and implementing an onboarding strategy for your users, you’ll need to follow a few key steps to ensure that you’re starting on the right foot. 1. Discover the path to onboarding success Before you kick off building an onboarding program, you need to think about the goal of your training. Specifically, at what point is the onboarding process complete and you have an engaged, educated customer? Businesses often trip up here. They are too focused on conversion metrics and how they can show their product off. Onboarding should focus on the users’ perspective and what the benefits are for them. Intercom says it best: The best onboarding is the kind that pays less attention to getting users to complete steps the business cares about and more about getting them to those “successful moments”. Let’s say, for example, your organization is an email software company. A successful moment could be when a new user has sent 5 emails through your software. For an organization that builds inventory management software, your users’ could see its value if they run an inventory check daily for 2 weeks. Or, for an LMS like LearnUpon, it could be when a customer launches their first course with learners enrolled. So, how do you find your organization’s “successful moments”? A few lucky businesses will have a clear idea of what success looks like for their customers, but for the rest, you’ll have to put your users’ journey under the microscope. Using the resources available to you - analytics, customer-facing teams (e.g. Customer Success), and customer interviews, - you can get a picture of what point separates an engaged user versus one that is going to drop off. Importantly, you’ll be able to see the steps, and the ways that your users interact with your product, that lead them to reach this “success moment”. If we look at our email marketing software example, we specified the successful moment occurring after a new user sends 5 emails. The interactions could be as follows: Created an account, added a list of email addresses, built an email template, sent the first email, sent the fifth email. As each action leads to success, you can then plan onboarding training around this. You can start to build courses that direct your users to these points, helping them to see the true value of your product faster. 2. Find where users are struggling Now we know what actions help your users onboard, it’s time to focus on what hinders them. This is equally important. By identifying the pitfalls your users are continuously going up against - those that stop them from seeing the true value of your product or service - you can counteract them through education and enhance their chance of success. These areas are commonly called friction points, and here’s how QuickSprout defines it: “Friction is any variable, website quality, or user behavior trend that is slowing down (or entirely halting) the progression of your company’s sales cycle.” Pinpointing friction in the process and creating a supportive course that nurtures your audience past these areas, is where delivering training with an LMS can truly shine. We’ve written a whole post about the process of locating these points, but again, research is your best friend here. Through analytics, you can uncover where you're seeing frequent drop-offs. Then, by approaching your customer-facing teams - Customer Success and Support - you can ask them where they believe the process is going off-track. If possible, talk to both successful and churned users to gain their invaluable insight into where they believe the process supported or hampered their efforts. Just like with your “success moments,” you’ll likely start to see a pattern. It could be that your teams are assuming your product or service is easier to use than expected. Or, that getting the answers to straightforward support questions are holding them back. Whatever the issue, this information is gold as your organization can now start to build training that helps overcome these problems. 3. Planning your training From the above investigation, you should have a clearer picture of the onboarding training you'll need to deliver. And now is the time to plan it out step-by-step. The best onboarding matches the observed path to success and helps users overcome issues with the training being offered. So, for example, if you've observed that the most successful customers fully completed their profile, offer a course on how to do this. If the next step is successfully adding users, offer a course on all the ways to add users to your system and the best practices around this. Keep up this process until you've created a complete onboarding suite of courses for your users. However, if you discovered through your Support team that your users find it confusing to locate user data once it’s uploaded, this product knowledge gap can be addressed by creating a course. The course can answer the most commonly asked questions about where data is found. This should stop your users from being held back by easy to resolve issues and also reduce the number of support tickets raised on the subject - a win-win. At this stage, it’s also key to plan out how long you expect the onboarding process to be. A week, a month, or six weeks - how you pace the training is critical as you’ll want your users to get the information they need when they need it. However, if you have a good LMS with the right features, you should be able to plan a training schedule that works for your learners. 4. LMS features for user onboarding So, what features should you be looking for in an LMS to help you efficiently and effectively manage and deliver training for your organization? This list outlines the most valuable ones we recommend for user onboarding: 1. Course creation and management If you're creating and delivering courses for your users, there’s one thing you need to be able to do - create the type of courses you know will connect with your audience. Therefore, it's important to have an LMS that enables you to build dynamic, engaging content. Whether it's product presentations, feature videos, or PDF walkthroughs, your LMS should allow you to create rich courses that effectively train your customers. For your courses, you also have the option to control how you’re delivering them. Do you want your training to be mandatory? Would on-demand learning work better for your users? You should have the ability to decide. 2. Automated user creation How you create and add users to your LMS is a critical feature to consider. You want it to be fast and efficient, particularly when there are large numbers of users that need to be onboarded. Batch upload or single user creation are typical options. But for onboarding, we recommend connecting with your CRM to automatically add users. This means that when a new user is added to your CRM, their data is then sent to your LMS and they are automatically created without input from you. You can automate enrollments too. By setting certain criteria in your LMS e.g. user type, pricing plan, etc, when a new user is added, they are then enrolled in the courses relevant to them. 3. Notifications 3. Notifications When a user is added to your LMS and enrolled in a course, you can automate email notifications to alert them to their training. Adding these throughout the process to encourage your users to continue their onboarding will act as a reminder to engage with your training and your product. 4. Blended Learning A powerful way to connect with users during onboarding is to give them a blended learning experience. By integrating with your favorite webinar tool, you can host live training sessions showing off your product and offering best practice advice to users within your LMS. 5. Learning Paths Onboarding is about creating a direct road to success and Learning Paths help you do just that. Essentially, this feature enables you to tie courses together. For example, when a user starts training, they’re enrolled in a Learning Path containing 8 courses. When they complete the first course, the second course can be made available to them immediately or after a certain period passes. Once they finish the second course, they’re enrolled in the third, and so on until they complete their full onboarding training. 6. Reports When rolling out an onboarding strategy it’s crucial that it's measurable. You need to know if it’s really helping your users and benefiting your business. With LMS reports, you can track the performance of your courses and see what impact it is having on your user success rates. You can also use the data to adjust and improve your courses so that your onboarding is more effective than ever. User onboarding is all about finding moments - the ones that are helping fuel success and the ones that are hindering it. And through training with an LMS, your organization has the power to enhance the success points and tackle the problem areas to create happily onboarded users. Whether you start with one course or create a suite of courses, offering onboarding training is a powerful way to improve your customers' experience and improve your bottom line. What tactics are you using to onboard your users? Share your insights in the comments below.