Founded more than 70 years ago, Fender is probably the most popular guitar maker in the world. But Fender's revenues are down since 2011. Almost half of Fender's sales are to brand-new guitarists - but 90 percent of them quit the instrument within a year. (Source: Zuora case study). Fender realized that people quit guitar because it is a hard instrument to learn. Cutting the abandonment rate became the key priority.
The solution? Teach users how to play guitar so that they remain Fender's customers for life. Fender launched Fender Play, a subscription-based service (both online and app), with the promise "Learn to Play in 7 Min a Day". The iOS app has 4.7 stars (out of 5) from more than 10,000 ratings. Not bad for an onboarding and support app!
While onboarding tools have become standard practice for digital products such as web-based software and games, physical product companies have been slow to adopt onboarding strategies. Strategic user onboarding is very important for physical products as well, especially technical and scientific products like life sciences instruments and medical devices.
With a bit of concerted effort, physical product and support teams can create onboarding experiences that can make life much easier for customers as well as themselves. Onboarding is not just about making sure customers can use the products; it's about finding ways to make sure the customer is making progress and achieving results he/she expects from the product purchase. Ensuring that customers are successful not only reduces support costs but also encourages more equipment and reagent usage, which of course translates to increased revenues.
Onboarding Strategies for Physical Products
A good onboarding process must be able to help customers overcome the following:
Instrument or equipment product teams can accomplish these goals with a variety of onboarding strategies including:
Since many companies already provide online or in-person training through field specialists, let us focus on the use of mobile companion apps to take onboarding experience to the next level.
A well thought out companion app achieves both the company's as well as users' objectives.
In general, a companion app should accomplish the following:
You can create a custom app from scratch working with your internal IT team or a vendor. Another option is to use an application platform (such as SnapSupport) that enable you to launch your companion app much faster. Either way, the key is to create an onboarding experience that enables users to become successful; using your product.