The onboarding experience has a lasting impact on customers’ perception of your connected device. It’s often a customer’s first interaction with your product, or even your brand.

First impressions matter and expectations are high. With the increasing amount of companies entering the connected device market, customers are quickly becoming less and less forgiving. Disappointing initial experiences could result not only in product returns, but also hurt your brand and repeat purchases.

In this blog post we will outline the main challenges during the setup and onboarding process that create negative experiences. The findings come from our own IoT experience lab, where we test new products on an ongoing basis, in addition to external research.

Complexity: combining physical and digital experiences

Getting users started with a connected device presents a new, different set of challenges compared to traditional installations of, say, home internet and TV. Installing the device isn’t enough. Users also need to connect it to the home network and pair it with the app. This adds extra steps to the conventional setup and onboarding process, as it takes longer and requires more effort from the user. The lengthy, more complex setup process is also subject to more technical issues that come from connectivity glitches and human errors. That’s why automating and streamlining the process wherever possible could minimize negative experiences.

Unfamiliarity and different technical skills

While the setup of a connected device is of little concern for the early adopters, many mainstream customers find it inconvenient. Some users report that they experienced a confusing and even frustrating setup experience. This is a result of unfamiliarity with the process and the varying level of technical skills among less tech savvy customers.

Unmanaged expectations

When beginning the setup process, users want to know the amount of time and effort that will be required. Uncertainty creates negative experiences. A thick paper manual doesn’t help either; it only creates the impression that the user has a long way to go before getting value out of the product. That is why giving a quick, high-level overview of the process aides to minimize negative experiences.

Information overload

Although quick tutorials and videos are very beneficial, giving too many tips and tricks could be overwhelming. Sure, your end goal is to create a user that is fully aware of all the great things your product could do. However, it is not realistic to expect all new buyers to need, or even want, to become power-users right from the start. Successful onboarding means that the user has taken the first step towards integrating your product in their life. In order to do that, your process should focus on efficiently taking the user through the initial setup while explaining only the most important features of the product. That way, the user can start using the product and get actual value from it as quickly as possible. With this foundation, each individual can choose whether to expand their knowledge to advanced features, at their own pace.

Lack of adequate support

IoT products and services have evolved significantly in the past few years, but support hasn’t followed. Although many product apps do a good job of engaging users during the configuration and onboarding, they completely miss the mark when it comes to support.
If an issue occurs during the setup, it’s still not common that the app can help users with the troubleshooting. Instead, the user still needs to spend time finding help on the company’s website, diagnosing the problem and finding possible solutions.

Do you want to uncover onboarding and setup challenges that negatively affect your customer’s experience? In our IoT experience lab, we test new products on an ongoing basis.