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Questions for your Onboarding Flow
Questions for your Onboarding Flow

We've created a compendium of common questions for your signup flow to help capture key data from new users.

Lauren Cumming avatar
Written by Lauren Cumming
Updated this week

The 'Onboarding Survey' is among the most debated areas in any free trial experience. In one camp, we hear, “We need to learn more about our users. We need to ask more questions!” The other camp will worry, “Won’t adding more questions lead to a drop-off in this critical flow?”

Although we encourage product teams to test each question, we’ve found little evidence for a significant drop-off at this phase in the user journey. We hypothesize that users have already given up their email and are excited to see the product. They will unlikely quit now if they believe providing additional information will help the product better meet their needs.

The most common signup questions we see successful PLG companies implement include asking about users’ primary jobs to be done, their roles, and what technologies they already use.

Common Onboarding Questions (with Examples)

Start with simple questions

A tremendous foundational question to ask determines which team or line of work the user is in. This is a helpful start to begin qualifying the user, and it is easy for them to answer!

  • What best describes your job function?

  • What kind of work do you do?

  • What team are you on?

  • Which of these best describes you?

  • What do you do?

A screenshot of Shopify's business, which asks 'what best describes your business?'
A screenshot of Airtable's onboarding survey that asks 'What team are you on?'

Alternatively, you may care more about the industry the user is in if your product serves a broad range of industries with different use cases.

Depending on your product, you may want/need to understand the user's specific role or seniority level more granularly to qualify them better. onboarding survey asks users, 'What brings you here today?'

Goals and Where to Start

Ideally, after asking the user about their role/team/industry, you can ask a goal-based question that can personalize their getting started experience (brownie points if you show options most relevant to a specific role, team, or industry!).

  • What do you want to use X for?

  • What would you like to do first?

  • What's your main objective with X?

  • What can X help you with?

  • Which features are you most interested in?

  • Which of these goals is most important?

Adobe Express's onboarding survey asks 'what do you want to use Adobe Express for?' asks its users what their goals are.
Asana asks users about their main objective.

Tech Stack

Users often need to integrate your product with their existing tech stack. If your product offers integrations, you should find a way to ask this question in the onboarding flow.

This is especially true if setting up integration is a crucial activation milestone a user must complete to reach that 'aha' moment.

You can be direct and ask questions like:

  • Which CRM does your company use?

  • Which platform do you use?

  • Which of these apps does your business use?

Or, you can take an approach like Shopify does that is slightly more subtle:

  • Where is your existing audience/contacts/payments managed?

  • Where does X currently live?

Fathom asks users what CRM the company uses.
Deputy's onboarding survey.
Shopify asks about where a new user's audience is.

Suppose your platform is quite technical and has many advanced use cases. In that case, it may also be helpful to understand how experienced users are with your tool so you can provide an aligned onboarding experience, e.g., more technical resources for professional users and more basic getting-started ones for beginners.

Make asks about a user's technical ability.

Sales Qualification

If you are running a product-led sales motion, it is essential to ask a question that allows you to qualify how big of an opportunity the user/company could be based on your business model.

The most common question is, 'What is your company size?' However, if you have usage-based pricing, even small companies can have many users or contacts, so asking a question more tailored to your pricing model can be valuable.

Biteable asks about how many people work in your organization
  • If license based

    • How big is your team?

    • How many employees need to be able to X?

Leaderfeder ask which websites a new user wishes to track.
  • Usage/volume based

    • How many contacts do you need to manage/message, etc?

    • How many monthly active users access your product?

A screenshot showing how to ask about a new user's volume expectations.

Including wide brackets and 'I'm not sure' options will be helpful if more targeted questioning is included, as users may need more clarification.

Questions worth testing

An interesting experiment could include a time-based question about “when” the user wants to achieve X goal to qualify better their intent to purchase.

This can identify users who are the most 'serious' about buying a solution ‘as soon as possible’ & may be more likely to interact with you directly than be completely self-serve.

Another question to ask (and get more intel) could be whether the user is starting from scratch or looking to move from an existing provider.

HelpCrunch's onboarding survey asks about a user's main goal.

Tips & Tricks for onboarding survey questions

The Do's of Onboarding Survey Questions

  • Keep it simple and start with easy questions.

  • Be mindful of input field type - Many customers have found that changing input fields from a dropdown list to select cards has helped capture a more diverse data set. (Users often default to selecting the first option in the dropdown!).

  • Make asks users about their main goal.
  • Include helpful explainer text - “We’ll help you get set up based on your business needs.” This text reminds us of the value we (the user) will get from answering the question. Another example is reminding users they can change their choices later, reducing the fear of initially picking the wrong thing.

  • Include 'I'm not sure' or 'Other' as an answer choice where appropriate.

  • Show progress, not steps. Include a progress bar, but remove the step counts within sign-up flows. If the user perceives too many steps, it can cause drop-off.

  • Allow skips. If users aren’t ready to reveal themselves, let them plow ahead. You can de-emphasize this option so users don’t skip through.

The Do Nots of Onboarding Survey Questions

  1. Don't include too many questions per page (think 1-2)

  2. Rephrase questions that benefit your team rather than help the user

    1. It is common for onboarding flows to ‘slip in’ a marketing question like “How did you hear about us?” This question is helpful for lead gen attribution purposes, but it doesn’t serve any value to an individual user. Ideally, don't make it a full-page question if you do want to include this!

  3. Make sure to use data to trigger personalized experiences in your product then 🚀

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