Most Common Challenges in Product Onboarding, And How to
As businesses look to expand their digital footprint, the
process of product onboarding can be long, arduous, and prone
to errors. Knowing about these obstacles is half the battle
won; mitigating them with the right processes and platform is
By definition, product onboarding is the first and most
important step of introducing a product to your customer. And
it all starts with the introduction of a product to your
system. While the product, in essence, gets to the destination
(your customer), a lot of data could be lost, duplicated or
misrepresented along the way.
Why does product onboarding fail?
The failure of product led onboarding is most commonly the
result of, not one, but a combination of factors taking effect
across touchpoints. Here are some of the most common obstacles
faced by companies when onboarding products:
SaaS ‘learning curves’:
While SaaS solutions may come pre-built and customized for
specific business requirements, they still have a ‘learning
curve,’ during which teams train and fine-tune these systems
to optimize product onboarding. For some platforms, this
curve tends to extend for a longer duration of time,
negatively impacting customer experience and taking a hit on
As products make their way from multiple sources
(manufacturers, suppliers etc.) teams find themselves
dealing with a deluge of data with varying schematic
characteristics. Relevant as the data may be, differences in
data quality and definitions lead to duplication, loss, and
errors in data which hamper product experience.
Product onboarding software with great capabilities may also
go underutilized as they are too complicated to use and not
fully leveraged by teams.
Team training & alignment:
No two individuals interact with a software in the same way.
As multiple stakeholders get involved in product onboarding,
their understanding and use of the SaaS platform can also
impact the process. Even with intuitive SaaS platforms, the
software’s potential is often not put to full use, as teams
are not trained on how to get the most out of the platform.
Many platforms used for product onboarding don’t have the
required validation functions to spot discrepancies in data
quality and raise the required flags in the workflow. This
directly increases the chances of a product going online
with inaccurate or inconsistent information.
Justifying the investment:
With these obstacles at play, inefficient product onboarding
platforms tend to create more problems than they solve. This
leads to decreased trust in platform adoption, and also
makes it harder to justify the need for continuing to invest
in a product onboarding platform, as growth in ROI is not
Here’s a simple, yet typical scenario where poor product
onboarding processes can directly impact customer experience:
Product information received from a vendor provides product
dimensions in centimeters (metric system), however, the
business’s eCommerce website requires these measurements in
inches (imperial system). The lack of a validation mechanism
means that the issue is not flagged. So, the product goes
through with the centimeter value, but with ‘inches’ as the
unit of measurement.
The team, not adequately trained in the end-to-end workflow,
fails to spot that the product also doesn’t have the required
images to go online. However, since he/she is not aware of the
mechanism to raise the flag, the product goes further still.
Again, the platform has no validation system to spot the
missing image, and the product finally finds its way online.
The result – the customer sees the product online without any
image to be able to relate to the product. The dimensions
don’t make any sense, and the customer finds very little
reliable information to go ahead with the purchase. Sale
opportunity lost, customer lost.
Product Onboarding Best Practices: How to Get it Right!
The answer is simple. Find a product onboarding platform that
makes the process easier, and you’ll find your business
reaping the benefits of an automated, streamlined process. But
how does one select this platform? Read on to learn more:
and optimize a structured onboarding process. Make sure the
selected platform is capable of implementing this process
with minimum manual intervention.
Ensure that the selected platform gives you all the data you
need to gauge the efficacy of your onboarding strategy. It
should allow you to course-correct and fine-tune as and when
you update strategy.
Pick a platform that has robust validation mechanisms to set
data rules and flag data integrity issues when identified.
Let end-users lead the way. Ensure that the platform is
designed and optimized for end-users, in a way that they can
leverage the platform to the fullest, eventually maximizing
Identify a platform that is agile and adaptable. The
platform must be responsive to user inputs, and adaptable to
change with minimum or no business impact.
Find a platform that is easily learnable by end-users. It
must support modules that give your teams access to the
information they need, in the format that they need it.
The journey of creating a great customer experience starts,
not from search, not from website visits, but from the first
touchpoint where you receive product information. Setting the
process right at this stage ensures a solid foundation for a
better product experience and also, better customer
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