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Onboarding is arguably the most critical phase in your customer's journey with your company. Through your marketing and sales efforts, you’ve made significant promises about the benefits of your product. Now, your customers have decided to give it a try, taking a risk by either purchasing your product or investing their time in a free trial. The customer onboarding process is where you begin to deliver on those promises and demonstrate that your product can truly transform their lives.

This process is the foundation for a long-lasting, fruitful relationship between your company and your loyal customers. It is an essential part of the customer journey. By tracking key customer onboarding metrics and KPIs, you gain valuable insights into what strategies are effective, what needs improvement, and where adjustments are necessary.

No single onboarding KPI can provide all the answers. However, by combining various customer onboarding metrics, you can get a comprehensive view of the entire onboarding process. This article will explore why these metrics matter and highlight ten crucial customer onboarding metrics to incorporate into your onboarding strategy.

After making the sale, it's necessary to get your customers on board. This stage sets the tone for their entire relationship with your product. A smooth onboarding experience can significantly improve customer retention rates and customer satisfaction, while a poor experience might lead to quick churn. However, identifying issues in the customer onboarding process requires collecting the right data. The following customer onboarding metrics will give you a clear window into this process, offering quantifiable information to reduce friction and enhance outcomes.

Metrics and KPIs for user onboarding that should be tracked

These are the metrics and KPIs (Key performance indicators) that customer success teams must track in order to deliver a great onboarding experience:

Customer journey mapping

Creating a single user map for the onboarding flow is not feasible because each customer may follow different paths to achieve their goals. To enhance the customer onboarding experience, it's essential to walk through their journey to fully understand how they interact with your product and its benefits. Pay close attention to where customers tend to drop off during their initial use of the product.

Understanding the different journeys that users take to derive value from your service is crucial. Explore ways to streamline this process and see if it's possible to shorten the customer journey. Identify each stage in the onboarding flow and assess if there are areas needing optimization. Tracking key metrics like the customer engagement rate and feature adoption rate at each stage will help you pinpoint where improvements are necessary. This approach will ensure a more effective and satisfying onboarding experience for your users.

Time to complete onboarding

The onboarding process should prioritize showcasing the benefits of the product to customers and demonstrating how it can easily integrate into their workflow with minimal effort. It's crucial to explain as soon as possible how they can use the product independently to derive maximum value.

Measure the number of days it takes for your customer to start using the product independently. Always aim for a quick onboarding process, using it as a benchmark for future iterations. By onboarding a few clients, you will identify the optimal time frame – the sweet spot – and can strive to improve upon it.

While it's important to reduce the time taken to onboard a customer, remember that your primary objective is to educate the customer on how to effectively use the product and gain value from it. Tracking metrics like onboarding completion rate, time to value, and customer satisfaction scores will help ensure that the process is both efficient and effective.

Time to first-time value

You can tell your customers all about how your product outshines the competition, using various tactics to make them believe it. However, the true test is how quickly they start finding tangible value from your product once they sign up. The pivotal question is: When will your customer first experience value from your product?

Time to first-time value is a crucial milestone during the customer onboarding process. It's the moment when the customer realizes that the product they’ve invested in offers significant business value. This metric measures the duration it takes for them to reach this realization.

Often, during the onboarding phase, you’ll need to set up your product within the customer’s technical environment. This involves several steps, such as:

  • Setting up user accounts and assigning access rights to ensure the right people have the correct permissions.

  • Integrating your product with the software they are already familiar with, ensuring a seamless transition into their existing workflow.

  • Configuring the product to align directly with their specific business needs, tailoring its functionality to deliver immediate benefits.

These steps, while essential, don’t deliver immediate value on their own. The real value is felt when the customers start actively using the product and see the desired results. It’s crucial to identify how long it takes for the customer to reach this point – the time when the product begins to fulfill their expectations and deliver the outcomes they want. This time-to-value metric should be a primary goal in your customer onboarding metrics, allowing you to proudly achieve this within an optimal timeframe.

Retention rate

The retention rate is a critical metric that measures the percentage of users your product retains over a specific period. It reflects your ability to keep customers engaged and satisfied long after they’ve signed up. In the context of customer onboarding, this metric is essential because it shows how well your onboarding process helps in maintaining user interest and loyalty.

To calculate your retention rate, start by identifying a cohort – a group of users who signed up on the same day, such as December 3rd. Then, measure how many of these users continue to use your product after specific intervals – one day, one week, one month, and beyond. This approach helps you understand how effectively your onboarding efforts are retaining users over time.

Focusing on short-term retention rates during the onboarding phase is particularly crucial. The first week and the first month are critical periods where you must ensure users find value in your product. By analyzing this data, you can uncover insights into what keeps users engaged and identify the segments of users who are most likely to stick around. This knowledge allows you to refine your onboarding strategy, doubling down on the aspects that work well.

Improving your retention rate directly impacts your churn rate, which is the inverse of retention. The longer you can retain users, the lower your churn rate will be. This reduction in churn not only reflects a healthier user base but also supports sustainable growth and long-term success.

Engagement rate

Engagement rate is a vital customer onboarding metric that measures the percentage of users actively interacting with your product over a defined period. It provides insights into how well your product resonates with its users and how effectively your onboarding process fosters continued usage.

To maximize the value of this metric, segment your user base into cohorts based on their onboarding start date. Then, monitor the percentage of users within each cohort who engage with your product on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis – depending on how you define “active” usage for your product. This segmentation helps you understand how different groups of users interact with your product over time.

By tracking engagement rate, you can assess the impact of changes to your onboarding process on user activity levels. For example, improvements in the onboarding experience may lead to a higher percentage of users logging in daily or weekly. This data is crucial for identifying successful strategies that increase engagement.

Over time, optimizing your onboarding efforts to boost your engagement rate will help create a more active and committed user base. Users who regularly engage with your product are more likely to adopt core features and benefit from them, leading to higher satisfaction and lower churn rates.

Free trial conversion rate

The free trial conversion rate is a crucial metric that measures the percentage of trial users who transition into paid customers during or after their trial period. This metric provides valuable insights into how effectively your customer onboarding process showcases the value of your paid options.

By tracking the free trial conversion rate, you can gauge how well your onboarding efforts convince users of the benefits of your product’s premium features. If your conversion rate is falling short of your KPIs, it may be time to refine your onboarding flow. Consider adjusting the length of the trial period to give users ample time to experience the product's value. Enhance in-app messaging to boost engagement and provide clear, compelling reasons for users to upgrade. Additionally, incorporate interactive walkthroughs and targeted flows to increase product adoption rates and highlight the advantages of your paid offerings.

Completion rate

The completion rate is the percentage of users who successfully finish your onboarding process. This metric is a strong indicator of how well your onboarding strategy is engaging users and guiding them to fully set up and use your product.

If a significant number of users are not completing the onboarding flow, it’s likely that they won’t convert into active or paying customers. To address this issue, start by identifying where users are most likely to drop off. Analyze these friction points and make targeted changes to smooth out the experience. This could involve removing unnecessary steps, refining your UX copy to be clearer and more engaging, or providing additional guidance to help users through the process.

Another factor contributing to low completion rates could be that too many users entering your onboarding funnel are not part of your target market. If users begin onboarding and then quit because the product doesn’t fit their needs, it’s a signal that your marketing efforts might be attracting the wrong audience. Adjusting your marketing strategies and refining your landing page copy to better align with your ideal customer profile (ICP) will help attract the right users who are more likely to complete the onboarding process and convert.

Feature adoption rate

The feature adoption rate is calculated by determining the proportion of total users who regularly use a feature.

Fill in x with a number that is appropriate for this feature. If this auditing feature needs to be utilized on a monthly basis, then one is recommended. For daily use features, the number should be adjusted based on the specific timeframe being measured.

To improve your feature adoption rate, consider focusing on prioritizing your key features during the onboarding process. The goal of onboarding is to guide users to important aha moments quickly, with less focus on introducing minor features that could potentially distract them.

No.of onboarding support tickets per day

The number of onboarding support tickets indicates the level of difficulty users are encountering during the onboarding process, leading them to seek assistance.

The onboarding process should be seamless and user-friendly, with steps laid out in a clear and logical manner to address any potential questions or issues. Monitoring the quantity and causes of support tickets created during onboarding is a simple way to gauge progress towards achieving this ambitious onboarding objective.

Utilize your understanding from these tickets to recognize areas of concern and experiment with solutions through A/B testing to address users' queries and prevent churn from escalating.


Effective customer onboarding is the cornerstone of a successful and long-term relationship between your company and its users. By focusing on the right customer onboarding metrics, you can ensure that every aspect of the onboarding process is optimized to deliver maximum value to your customers.

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) such as engagement rates, feature adoption rates, and retention rates allows you to understand and enhance the customer experience throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Monitoring the time to first-time value and completion rates helps to streamline the user onboarding process, ensuring that customers quickly realize the benefits of your product.

Improving your free trial conversion rate and number of onboarding support tickets per day are crucial steps in demonstrating the value of your product features and reducing customer churn rates. Addressing these areas not only boosts customer loyalty but also helps your customer success teams and customer support team to better assist and retain users.

By continually analyzing user feedback and activation rates, you can fine-tune your onboarding strategy to meet the needs of different customer segments. This approach will ensure a higher Customer response rate and foster a more engaged and satisfied customer base. In the end, a well-executed customer onboarding plan significantly enhances the customer's lifetime and paves the way for ongoing success.

Remember, the goal is to create an onboarding experience that not only meets but exceeds the expectations of your users, turning them into loyal, long-term advocates for your product.

Empower your team with the tools they need to excel in customer onboarding. Try Fable today for free to enhance your onboarding process with powerful, interactive product demos tailored to meet your strategic goals.


What are the most important customer onboarding metrics to track?

To ensure an effective customer onboarding experience, it’s essential to track metrics like engagement rates, feature adoption rates, time to first-time value, retention rates, and completion rates. These metrics provide a comprehensive view of how users interact with your product and help identify areas for improvement.

How does improving the feature adoption rate impact customer retention?

Increasing the feature adoption rate means that more active users are regularly engaging with the core product features. This regular engagement leads to higher customer satisfaction and reduces the customer churn rate, thereby improving overall customer retention.

What can be done if users are dropping off during the onboarding process?

If users are dropping off during the user onboarding process, analyze the data to identify where they are experiencing difficulties. You can then make targeted changes to smooth out the experience, such as removing unnecessary steps, improving UX copy, or providing additional guidance. It's also crucial to ensure that you are attracting the right customer segments through your marketing efforts.

How can I reduce the number of onboarding support tickets?

To reduce the number of onboarding support tickets, focus on creating a seamless and intuitive onboarding flow. Provide clear instructions and anticipate common user questions. Regularly review the reasons for support tickets and use this feedback to make necessary adjustments to your onboarding process.

Why is the time to first-time value important in the onboarding process?

The time to first-time value is critical because it represents the moment when users first realize the tangible benefits of your product. Shortening this period of time helps ensure that users quickly see the value in your product, leading to higher user engagement and a better overall customer experience.

What role does customer feedback play in improving the onboarding process?

User feedback is invaluable for continuously improving the customer onboarding experience. It provides insights into what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to make data-driven decisions. Incorporating feedback helps in refining the onboarding process and ensures that it meets the evolving needs of your users.

How can I ensure a successful customer onboarding process?

To ensure a successful onboarding process, focus on creating a clear, engaging, and value-driven experience for your users. Track and optimize key metrics, provide excellent support, and continuously seek and incorporate user feedback. A well-executed customer success plan that addresses all stages of the entire customer lifecycle will lead to higher activation rates and long-term customer satisfaction.

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