User Onboarding Proven to Work and Reduce Customer Churn Rate? Think of Netflix

Do you remember when you first introduced a friend to Netflix, Spotify, Instagram or some other app? You put in quite an effort. Below you'll see why one to one onboarding is how you discover and learn about most apps and how to do this effortlessly using the latest tech.

Related: Don't Guess at User Onboarding. Steal What Others Did.

Here are some facts we can all agree with

  1. People don't read all your onboarding emails. The open rates prove that.
  2. They don't all watch your awesome explainer video.
  3. They are not going to figure things out reading through help files.

Now consider this.

When you first heard of Netflix, Spotify, Instagram etc, did you instantly sign up?

Probably not.

Someone personally onboarded you and that's why you subscribed.

Here's how someone really signs up, subscribes and stays with an app



A friend shows me a clip on Youtube of a Netflix series they like.

It looks cool.

I sign up to their free trial and watch that one series and a couple of movies.

I'm considering cancelling at the end of the month.

Another friend tells me about 2 more series that I might like.

I watch those and Netflix recommends a few more and after a while they keep releasing new seasons and I keep my subscription.

My friend onboarded me one to one. Netflix took over later.


Someone's at a party and is playing their music list via Spotify.

It's a bad music list.

I want to change it.

Another friend goes over and plays their favourite list. I like that.

I want that.

She says 'You gotta get on Spotify'.

How much is it? Is it all the songs? Can I download them? Really?

She answers a few more questions, shows me a few more lists and features, reminds me a week later and I download it and start a trial. She reminds me of that great list from the party and I add that, I listen, I add some more that Spotify recommends and I'm subscribed likely for life.

She onboarded me one to one over a week.


"Look at my story on Instagram"

"Wow, that's cool, I didn't realise you could do that"

I sign up but don't use it much and I find it a bit irritating.

Friends nearby laugh about something on instagram. I go view it. It's another story.

I dislike instagram but somehow my usage has increased and I'm heading towards creating my own stories.

Several people collectively onboarded me over weeks.

Macbook Air

I use an Acer laptop.

It has windows.

It gets viruses.

Someone shows me how light their mac is.

They sit next to me and never seem to plug it into the power socket.

They tell me they don't know which virus protector it comes with.

They tell me it has not crashed.

They slip it into their tiny bag and go home.

I get a fucking mac.

I onboard people to Netflix for free but for my own app, where each customer is worth $3,000, I hope they watch my video?!


It's madness I tell you!

Take a brief look at the maths.

Let's say a customer's life time value is $3,000.

They need 5 minutes of one to one time to learn how to use the app or they'll move on.

“If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance.”
Howard Gardner

I spend 5 minutes with each person and I'm making $36,000 an hour I would have otherwise lost.

Even if I spent three separate 20 minute training sessions with each user over a month, I still make $3,000 an hour.

Why aren't we all doing one to one onboarding already? Because it's a nightmare


Founders can convert 55% of the people they talk to through manual user onboarding strategies...


Onboarding people one to one is a nightmare to set up and get going with.

Scheduling a good time via back and forth emails? No thanks.

Set up conferencing with screen sharing? Ask them to download software? Hope it all works? Stressful misuse of life.

Blurry and laggy screen? Hell no.

15 minutes to set up a 5 minute walk through?

No, this is not how it should be when most of the apps are now on the web.

How to do one-to-one sessions effortlessly


This is what you do for modern web based apps.

  1. Add a 'would you like a walk through' link throughout your web app.

  2. That links to Calendly which automatically does all scheduling for you for every walk through.

  3. When it's time for the walk through, you use a co-browsing tool to instantly see their screen and highlight where to click.

What's this cobrowsing thing?

It's 'no-download' screen sharing where you see the user on your website in one click.

Most co-browsing tools have a highlighter to show the user where to click.

The user clicks and learns and builds up muscle memory in using your app.

Old school screen sharing was made for desktop apps, co-browsing with highlighters are becoming default for web based apps.

What happens once you have this in place?

Let's say a team member goes from 0 to doing 5 of these walk throughs a day.

That's 100 per month.

You'll see that the people you onboarded are consistently at the top of your product usage stats. Your MRR grows. Your churn rate for those users drops.

Here's what's weird.

Your sign ups don't increase at first but all the stats are looking better.

What else happens? The speed at which you get product feedback and make positive changes is incredible.

Get started with co-browsing today

Get a 2 week free trial here of Upscope co-browsing here.

If you want to learn more about the who, what, where and why of co-browsing, then read our ultimate guide.

A timely reminder. Companies that grew into billion dollar platforms did it session by session

I know most people are looking for our “one top tip” or the magical “hack” that got us customers, there really isn’t any one thing. We grew email by email, Skype by Skype, webinar by webinar, and looking back I can’t distill it down to any one thing.
Des Traynor, Co-founder Intercom

User Onboarding Proven to Work and Reduce Customer Churn Rate? Think of Netflix
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