Imagine a world without onboarding checklists …
Customers certainly can—and it looks like their overflowing inbox. New SaaS users are often introduced to a product through a series of docs and links delivered via email by well-meaning Customer Success Managers (CSMs).
But when it comes to learning new software, lists of out-of-sight (out-of-product) content are also out of mind as users begin their journey. That’s why in-app onboarding checklists are fast becoming commonplace for a scalable, self-serve onboarding experience. Trial users and new customers alike are starting to expect that check inside products; it brings their to-do list out of their email and into their user experience (UX).
It’s time to step it up
Even the simplest products require a few steps to get users up and running. And there’s no better way to let a user know their next step than showcasing an in-app checklist that displays key actions—each building on the last to demonstrate product value fast.
When your product greets a user with a clear path to their desired outcomes, you’re setting them up for true success. They don’t need to bookmark a URL or favorite an email to start their journey; the path to first value starts and ends inside the product—where most key actions need to take place.
Your users get a small hit of dopamine every time they complete their next task. With each step, your product is motivating them to complete a full set of action items. (We all know how good it feels to tick things off our to-do lists!)
See a list of checklists in action
A number of Candu’s customers have created getting-started checklists to welcome their users and provide them with all the key resources they need to self-activate and adopt core features. Check out these few examples before digging into how to elevate your checklists:
1. RevOps’ self-activation experience
RevOps made sure to include a value proposition as to why a user should carry out the checklist action. To explore how RevOps created this checklist with Candu, view their Creator Showcase here.
2. Make’s personalized resource hub
Make (formerly Integromat) included video tutorials in their Resource Hub to help users get familiar with the technical, core parts of their platform. Discover how Make created this checklist with Candu via their Creator Showcase.
3. Integry’s onboarding newsfeed
Integry includes clear visual prompts and options within its checklist to guide users down the most appropriate path that works for them. To learn how Integery created this checklist with Candu, visit their Creator Showcase here.
Leveling up your checklist experience
Once you’ve identified the essential first actions you want a new user to complete within your product, it’s time to think about how to best keep them engaged while tracking user progress toward activation over time.
This is where a Candu-created Event-Driven Checklist can come into play and really elevate your product-led activation experience (and more). Instead of relying on your users to manually check off items once they have completed the action, Event-Driven Checklists can sync with your product and content usage data to automatically check off items as they are completed. This means users can see their true progress each time they log in to your product.
As an example, you may have a checklist task like “Invite a team member”; if you have a data point that tracks when a new team member has been invited, you can pass this data into Candu as a User Event—which automatically completes the task when the invite is sent.
Why Event-Driven Checklists Rule
- Jumpstart those dopamine hits
Asana users are likely familiar with the unicorns and other magical creatures that appear on-screen upon completing a task; it’s such a nice way to motivate and celebrate, right?
Event-driven checklists allow you to auto-complete a user’s first checklist step; when a user first logs into your product, they’ve already completed one item. It feels like less effort to get started. (OK, it might not be as fun as a unicorn, but it's a proven psychological trick nonetheless!)
Consider adding a “create account” step to your Event-Driven Checklist. This is an easy auto-complete opportunity since all users will create an account before viewing the checklist. Aside from motivating users, the completed step serves as a visual cue—a to-do list that’s already in progress.
- Create curiosity
Great checklists are designed to motivate users to tick off key actions based on an idealized happy path; however, your user’s real product journey may deviate quite a bit. As a result, your product-led experience may become misaligned with your user’s path.
Perhaps they completed the four actions you set out for them a week ago but left two items unfinished. This means their onboarding checklist is either redundant or irrelevant.
Counterintuitively, you can actually use this difference to your advantage. Creating a gap between what your users have done and what you tell them is a critical path. This evokes a little uncertainty and curiosity. Could I have missed something? Am I missing some value here?
By leveraging your product usage data and automatically completing tasks on behalf of users, you can ensure the progress they see when they log in is accurate—giving them a clear idea of what steps remain to get the most from your product.
- Align checklists with your customer experience
You don’t need to settle for a one-size-fits-all product experience. One of the easiest places to start personalizing your product is by surfacing different content to users based on whether they have been successfully “activated” or not. By syncing your users’ data with your initial onboarding checklist, you can create a segment of users who have completed the checklist and then display a new set of useful resources to help your users self-enable and adopt more of your product.
Instead of seeing the initial onboarding checklist repeatedly, keep your product experience fresh by swapping out what users see. CSMs change how they communicate depending on where a customer is at in their journey, and your product can do the same.
Brainstorm what your users should do next—whether it’s exploring more advanced features, providing product feedback, or trying new products and solutions. The beauty of SaaS is that there’s (almost) always something more for a user to discover, and the space where your checklist lives is a perfect opportunity to show it off.
How does Candu use Event-Driven Checklists?
As soon as we launched this new iteration of our checklists, we jumped at the chance to personalize our own user activation experience.
Candu’s Dashboard experience now greets users with an event-driven checklist. The checklist contains four key steps. We’ve complemented the checklist with actionable resources, training videos, and customer stories. Each piece of content builds on the next—helping our new users to learn more about creating personalized experiences via Candu’s no-code editor.
Pro tip: To avoid overwhelming users, we recommend checklists contain five primary steps or fewer. Only focus on the key steps that will lead to the quickest first value. You can introduce additional recommended actions and steps to take at a later stage in a user's journey.
In the example above, each checklist item is connected to a key product action that we pass into our Candu instance from Segment.com—so the step “Create your Candu account” is already completed. Each item is auto-completed as users complete additional steps. Once a user fully completes the checklist, the whole dashboard experience is refreshed. Returning users see recommended next steps to get more value from our platform and subscribe to a feed of our product releases.
To learn more about getting started with Event-Driven Checklists and Candu, check out our support documentation.
Pro Tip: We leverage customer data to dynamically tailor our “next steps.” We recommend integrations that should be connected based on the tools we know you already have. 😉 This makes our in-product experience feel that much more personalized to your needs.
For more information on how to create Event-driven checklists using Candu please get in touch here.