In-App User Assistance: What It Is And How To Nail It

In-App User Assistance: What It Is And How To Nail It

To achieve end-user adoption, product teams must enable their users with contextual in-app experiences and support. 

Many products are now self-service, meaning customers purchase applications and then start using them without any intervention from customer success. Even when applications come with a dedicated support team member, they can’t be there to hold the end-users hand at all times.

With in-app user assistance, product teams can enable their end-users to use software to its fullest potential and achieve their intended outcomes with contextual guidance and support. This may take the form of product tours, interactive walkthroughs, user checklists, resource centers, etc.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of in-app user assistance, why its more effective, and how to enable your end-users with contextual in-app training, onboarding, and guided support.

How to Use In-App Assistance for User Onboarding

Traditionally, users are introduced to new applications with the help of traditional classroom training, instructor-led workshops, etc. followed by more static learning material like user manuals, tutorial videos, ebooks, and white papers.

However, learning to use a software application through these methods takes significant time and effort which in turn results in lower knowledge retention. This gap in knowledge retention could negatively impact how users engage with your application right from their initial interactions.

On the other hand, with in-app user assistance, you can provide your users with all the required information while they are engaging with the application. In such a scenario, users are learning in the flow of work, and consequently, knowledge retention is much more effective and long-lasting.

Now, the question is, how exactly can we use in-app user assistance for a successful user onboarding? Let’s check out the different forms of in-app support commonly used to ease the user onboarding process.

1. Using product tours to introduce your application

Product tour is a way of providing in-app assistance, wherein you can engage your users and help them realize the core value of your application by providing a first-hand experience. With a product tour, you can kickstart your product adoption process by highlighting specific elements within your application and prompting users to take action.

For instance, here’s how Intercom uses product tours to show users what the application can do and how to implement them. The product tour shown below introduces users to Intercom’s self-service support and how it can be used to publish, measure, and improve help content.

intercom_user assistance

Product managers can leverage digital adoption platforms (DAP) like Whatfix to create product tours and other in-app guidance and end-user support content using a no-code visual editor. Whatfix’s element detection allows for a simple click-and-click tour creator, IF/THEN branching, personalization based on end-user traits, and advanced end-user behavioral analytics to identify friction areas and create optimal flows.


2. Meet and greet users with pop-ups

You can welcome your users effectively with in-app assistance in the form of pop-ups. Pop-ups can include CTAs, media links, product tours or just a simple message that guides your users on how to proceed further within the application.

Pop-ups are also a great way to bring your user’s attention towards new features of your application, scheduled maintenance notification, and/or any other important alert that you want to make sure your users pay attention to.

For example, the lead generation software, OptinMonster, welcomes new users with a pop-up that gives users the option to choose from two CTAs. According to the user’s preference, they are either taken to a pricing page or to a knowledge base.

optinmonster_user assistance
"We're using Whatfix to drive more in-product communication across a greater range of our products. Cybersecurity is vital – but it’s also vital to get it right. With in-app guidance, we can help the next generation of Sophos customers secure their future."

Remi Preghenella, Director of Product Documentation and Digital Adoption at Sophos

3. Incentivize onboarding with gamified in-app assistance

Gamifying in-app user assistance is an effective way to onboard users. It is similar to how a player progress in a game by completing levels vis-a-vis its increasing complexity. The whole concept of gamified user assistance revolves around motivating users by giving them incentives as they make progress.

Let us consider Salesforce Trailhead, which is the gamified learning and training environment created by Salesforce to empower users with better, more efficient CRM adoption strategies.

Users can utilize a plethora of modules which is catered to their role. Each module consists of interactive content like quizzes, live simulations, etc., that allows users to gain points and subsequently Trailhead badges.

This keeps users motivated to engage with the application and also helps them to keep track of their progress.

salesforce_user assistance
Related Resources

Training Users with In-App Guidance

Creating a great new customer onboarding process is just the start. The goal is to enable your users to quickly understand the basics of an application via product-led onboarding. Post-onboarding, it would be best if you devise a fully-fledged training plan that takes your user from a beginner to an expert. For this to happen, users must be consistently and continuously trained on the application.

The best way to do that would be via in-app user assistance. How so?

With in-app support, your users can learn while doing so, which helps them retain information better and more effectively. Additionally, as users apply concepts in real-time and experience your application hands-on, it also improves how users engage with the application.

Here are some ways to train users with in-app user assistance.

1. Guide users with the help of goal-oriented tasks

Commonly, training users online involve the use of a learning management system (LMS). With the LMS, you can provide your users with the apt resources and help them learn at their own pace.

But what if you could provide the same for your users, without them leaving your application?

Digital adoption platforms like Whatfix allow you to do that by helping you create a task-based micro LMS right within your web application. With their specialized widget called Task-List, training can be carried out in a modular approach with omnichannel content like interactive walkthroughs, videos, PDFs, etc. The widget also records the users’ progress and helps them track it while they are learning.


2. Train user with a blended learning approach

Blended learning involves a mix of traditional methods such as classroom training, workshops, instructor-training, and modern methods such as web-based training and e-learning.

By combining the traditional classroom model with the in-app assistance forms, you can deliver users with the benefits derived from each of these approaches. Blended Learning allows users to take their time to master concepts and helps them to experience hands-on learning which is extremely important for effective knowledge retention.

blended learning_user assistance

3. Deliver information in bite-sized training modules

When training users, you need to remember that they can quickly lose attention, especially when plied with a vast amount of information. Instead of boring users with incredibly long content, you can simply break down the content to be consumed into bite-sized modules and deliver it within the application.  This approach is called in-app microlearning.

The advantage of microlearning is that users are provided with just the right amount of information that can be processed within the user’s attention span.

As a result, users are able to comprehend the available information better and use it more effectively. In-app microlearning can be delivered in the form of training simulations or instructional training videos, both of which can be embedded within an application in the form of in-app user assistance.

In training simulations, users are confronted with real-life scenarios to which they have to find the appropriate solutions. If users are unable to do so, they are corrected until they take the right decision.

With instructional videos, users are guided through the complexities of handling a task with the help of visual aids in an effective and engaging manner.

Create contextual user onboarding flows, drive adoption of new features, and make in-app announcements with Whatfix

Whatfix is a no-code digital adoption platform that enables product managers to create contextual in-app guidance, product-led user onboarding, and self-help user support – all without engineering dependencies. With Whatfix, create branded product tours, user onboarding checklists, interactive walkthroughs, pop-ups, smart tips, and more – all enabling customers and users with contextual guidance at the moment need. With Whatfix, analyze, build, and deliver better user experiences.

Provide On-Demand Support With In-App User Assistance

All users, at some point during their interaction with an application, are likely to require some form of support.

Usually, when talking about support, the first thing that would come to your mind is to get in touch with a support agent or raise a support ticket. But several times, you may have come across situations where resolving a query involves being put on hold, waiting in a queue or receiving an unsatisfactory response. Not to mention the fact that support teams frequently find it challenging to effectively solve a large number of support queries being raised by the minute.

The catch here is that most support queries are quite basic and can be solved by users themselves provided they are given adequate resources.

The best way to equip users in such a scenario would be to provide them with support right within the app using in-app user assistance. This kind of in-app support can be implemented within the application with popular in-app assistance methodologies like performance support systems and chatbots.

1. Improve user performance with performance support

Performance support systems are an effective way of providing concise and relevant information to users right when and where they need it and it can be embedded within an application through the use of in-app user assistance. The advantage with on-demand in-app assistance is that help is easily available to users to complete the task at hand. As a result, the time spent in searching for information is reduced since help is now readily available and tasks can be completed more efficiently. Consequently, user performance improves.

2. Reduce user wait time with chatbots

Implementing chatbots within your application can alleviate the burden on support teams. For users, the most prominent advantage is that with chatbots with this type of in-app user assistance is that there is little or no wait time when it comes to the resolution of queries.

Additionally, chatbots are capable of collecting relevant customer information and quickly routing it to the appropriate agents so that customers receive expedited resolution of their queries. This improves customer satisfaction.

Enable End-Users With Whatfix's In-App Guidance & Support

Increasing technological disruption has led to customer demands changing at a phenomenal pace. To keep up with customer demands and to outmaneuver the competition, software vendors need to perpetually look for better and more efficient ways to deliver solutions.

However, even the best software applications fail when users are not able to quickly adopt and engage with them effectively. In addition to delivering software solutions, vendors now need to look for ways to improve product adoption. In-app assistance through its variable delivery models replaces traditional ways of end-user onboarding, training, and support. 

With a DAP like Whatfix, enable your end-users with contextual in-app guidance and support. Analyze end-user behavior to identify friction areas and collect end-user feedback to augment this qualitative data. Use this data to optimize flows, target specific users, announce new features, and test journeys with a continuous approach to UX and product improvements.

Make in-app product announcements, drive adoption of new features, create guided user flows, and more with Whatfix's no-code digital adoption platform

With a DAP like Whatfix, creating custom interactive, branded, in-app guidance, support, and tooltips is simple. You create tooltips in the no-code Whatfix Editor that allows you to click-and-drop tooltips in your application – and then use its advanced customization feature to brand the element to your product’s theme. With a DAP, create in-app walkthroughs, product tours, user onboarding checklists, beacons, smart tips, pop-ups, field validations, self-help wikis, and more!

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