The first encounter of a customer with your core service happens during the onboarding process, and it’s crucial that the customer is shown the meticulous attention your carsharing or car rental company pays to their needs and understands what they are looking for. Customer onboarding is an umbrella term for the journey a customer takes when signing up for your service. Most users now expect that the whole process of onboarding will be done through a digital interface – mobile app or website. While you might have shown parts of your service or offered content that helped you acquire a prospective customer, they will make the first judgment whether your service is right for them in the onboarding/sign-up process.
Most customers are likely to abandon the sign-up process if they encounter hurdles that they find unreasonable or do not understand the flow of the process. So the first goal is to make the process as intuitive and informative as possible, creating as few hurdles as possible to customer’s way to get full benefits of your service.
Around 70% of users say that having an onboarding process that lasts less than a minute is key to their future usage of the service/app. So as a carsharing service you need to think about the minimum amount of work that could help you jumpstart the user. The minimum required information for car-sharing service is usually name, last name, driver’s license, user location, contact Information, and payment information.
Another important part of the user onboarding process is showing them the main functions of your app and service. Firstly, the app already should be built according to the existing standards, so the user can guess intuitively, based on their experience with other apps, where main functionalities in your app are. So while customizing your app is a great idea, you should be careful with testing user’s patience with an unexpected flow in the app or unfamiliar locations for the main functions.
While this introduction screen is essential, you should always include an option to skip the tutorial as some tech-savvy users might already be aware of how the app works, or they might be simply re-installing the app on another device.
One of the main reasons why users abandon the onboarding process is that it doesn't live up to expectations created about the service in the description of the app store or your website. Unless your onboarding process convinces the user that you can live up to those expectations, their assumptions will never be tested in practice. So it is essential that you make benefits of your service visible immediately in the sign-up process. It is crucial that here you are focused on benefits, and not just features. This can be done as a carousel of images and texts about benefits, or a brief animated image showing the benefits (again, this should be skippable).
Beyond general best practices for customer onboarding, carsharing and car rental businesses have their own additional requirements, based on the regulated nature of the services provided. Firstly, confirmation of the identity and validity of the driver’s license. While ideally, we would like to provide our service immediately after the customer has signed up, depending on the service you use for document validation, this may take some time. You might want to activate users after you have reviewed their full profile. Usually, it is best to have a separate section about required legal documents, such as driver’s license and tax ID, from user information, like email and phone number. Such division creates micro-milestones, which is more likely to help the user continue the signup process.
You might want to let the user know that after they have filled out all required fields, the process of signing up is complete and you will notify them as soon as their validity of documents is confirmed. You might want to use this time to show available vehicles around them, various unique packages that they might want use during their first travel ensuring they come back after the confirmation is complete. Alternatively, you might offer some content for a brief read or watching experience (not necessarily about your service but some other unique content, whether it’s from your partners or made by you), or let the user leave the app until the confirmation is complete if such process takes longer than 5-10 minutes.
Beyond the minimum requirements that you need to provide your service to the user, you might want to get some other information that would help you better serve your customer. However, more data you ask for more likely it is the customer will abandon the signing up process. One way to remedy this is to have a skippable section of the service that asks for additional information in exchange for a credit of your service. For example, if you think that having a home address of the user would help you better predict how they are going to be taking the trips, you could offer 30-minute free driving credit for that and other similar information, but it needs to be underlined that this information is voluntary.
Along with acquiring information needed for customer registration, the onboarding process is a stage where you establish rules and expectations about the services you provide and communication channels to be used in the future. In some parts of the world, e.g. the EU, the service providers are required to establish and get consent for communication with the user in the future. Along with complying with legal requirements, the service provider should think about how it wants to communicate with the customer and give the user a possibility to choose the frequency and manner of communication.
The onboarding process is the true first test for your service. It communicates the benefits of your service, shows your flexibility with the customer and how you meet their needs. Without properly understanding the customer needs and their expectations, you are risking losing a prospective user, so getting your onboarding process right isn’t just a registration process of a guaranteed customer, but a crucial moment in the acquisition process.