Appcues vs. Userlane: Which One You Should Choose in 2022
A customer’s first impression is vital: it determines whether or not they will become loyal customers or be a part of the following month’s churn data. SaaS businesses make the first impression during the onboarding process, where they explain their products and their features to users.
Although this process is crucial, 90% of customers still say that companies can “do better” when it comes to customer onboarding. That’s why using the right onboarding tool is so important. Not only does it give you a competitive edge (because most of your competition is in the 90% customers are talking about), but it can also increase product adoption and user engagement.
Two popular choices of customer onboarding tools are Appcues and Userlane. If you want to learn more about the two to see if they’re a good fit, and if you want to learn more about the importance of customer onboarding, keep reading.
Why Is User Onboarding Essential For SaaS Companies?
Customer onboarding is about equipping customers with the necessary skillset and knowledge so that they can make the best use out of your products and services. However, a good onboarding process doesn’t just encompass new customers. When you add new features or updates to your products, users have to be onboarded again. Thus, a good onboarding process has to be continuous. But why do you have to care so much about onboarding, even after the customer acquisition stage?
1. It’s a fundamental part of product adoption
The best time to show off your products’ capabilities is when you’re explaining it to the user. If you want your customers to have high lifetime values, you have to ensure that they’ve understood your product’s value fully. If they’re only using half of your features because they don’t know about the rest, users will probably not be as satisfied with the product as they would be with its complete version. With an informative onboarding process, you can increase the numbers on your product adoption metrics.
2. It reduces churn
One of the main reasons for churn is that users think the product is insufficient. If your customers didn’t go through an engaging and informative onboarding process, they’d find your tool much more complex, or worse, less capable. However, that is often not the case. The truth is that other competitors have the same features as you, but they explain and advertise them more efficiently than you do. Showcasing what you have to offer in your onboarding process is one of the only ways to keep customers from leaving your brand for competitors with similar products and services.
HockeyStack’s churn optimization feature can help you understand the reasons behind churn 🙂
3. It increases loyalty
92% of customers leave a brand after two to three negative experiences. While these negative experiences aren’t limited to customer onboarding, the lack of onboarding could be a significant factor. Most customers have negative experiences because they cannot understand a product, have trouble reaching someone who can help them, or feel that the tool is insufficient. As I’ve said before, all of these negative experiences could be avoided even before they happen by educating users in the onboarding process.
Founded in 2013, Appcues is a no-code onboarding and product adoption platform. It’s known for its easy-to-understand UI and sleek visuals. The platform is made for SaaS businesses of all sizes, ranging from start-ups to big brands such as Lyft.
Appcues’ features are categorized under five different labels, which are:
- User Onboarding
Appcues is used mainly for its customizable customer onboarding walkthroughs. It’s possible to personalize the interactions of other users and the designs with its drag-and-drop interface, which doesn’t require any technical knowledge. It’s also possible to create slideouts and checklists, though these features are available for higher-priced plans.
- Feature Adoption
Just like the product walkthroughs you create for new users, Appcues lets you create in-app walkthroughs for existing customers once you update your products with new features. With the segmentation capabilities of Appcues, it’s possible to send the walkthroughs to specifically the disengaged customers.
You can track important adoption metrics such as feature usage or time spent with features with Appcues. The platform provides users with custom dashboards that make visualizations easy to follow. Users are also able to set customized goals for their product adoption efforts.
- NPS & Surveys
The NPS features let you create customized surveys and then send out segmented follow-up surveys. You’re able to analyze the detractors, promoters, and passives in terms of their in-app behavior, and tracking the growth of your score is also possible. However, the survey tools are also included in the essentials plan, which is quite pricy.
In-app announcements have ready-to-use templates and, again, a drag-and-drop interface. You can target users based on their lifecycle stage and persona, while also analyzing the performance of different announcements and campaigns.
With an overall score of 4.8/5 on Capterra, Appcues has so far satisfied its customers with its performance. The reviews on Capterra include:
“It has been a fun app to learn, and the access it allows to our users is amazing.”
“There are some great reporting features and a good amount of customization through their API and their new integration with Salesforce.”
“It’s limited to relatively basic exports. This is particularly annoying when it comes to surveys done through Appcues.”
1. Easy to Use
This is the most often cited reason for using Appcues. The platform has prioritized simplicity over an impressive but complex UI. The Appcues builder is an extension on Google Chrome, which makes it easy to use. There is almost no learning curve; setting up and using the tool takes less than 10 minutes. The fact that this tool is no-code is overly emphasized, and this is another reason why the tool can be used by each part of your SaaS marketing team.
2. Range of Integrations
Appcues has enabled two-way integrations with other popular brands such as Heap and Salesforce. You can import data from Heap for flow targeting and use the data obtained on Appcues’ analytics tools in Heap. The other integrations have similar two-way capabilities, but you need the more expensive pricing packages to gain access to all of them.
3. No need for Developers
Tracking and managing events with SaaS tools is usually a problem. Usually, marketing teams have to get help from designers or analysts’ to make full use of the tools at their hands. Since the tracking, analysis, and Builder features of Appcues are no-code, this pervasive problem doesn’t come up on this platform.
1. The Builder is limited in terms of customization
Users on Appcues can’t make some crucial design choices. These include choosing the intensity of backdrops or playing with the width or position of modals. Also, the most popular pricing plan of Appcues doesn’t include custom experiences. Businesses who choose this more affordable plan have to use the templates, limiting the customization ability. Users have also said that the exports are relatively basic.
I talk about the specific plans in the pricing section, but it’s important to note beforehand that the biggest problem of Appcues is its prices. The platform is considered to be one of the most expensive customer onboarding tools. The most basic plan only includes five pre-designed user segments, which you cannot customize. The number of events you can track is also limited to 10. If you want to increase the number of features you have access to, you’ll have to pay $879 per month for a whole year, which equals more than $10,000.
3. May be buggy
Users have stated that the Chrome extension can lead to crashes and that working with the flow may pose technical setbacks. Occasionally, the tool fails to save progress or the buttons get locked, preventing changes without refreshing the page. The checklists feature can also be hard to use, if not buggy.
Founded in 2015, the Germany-based tool Userlane is another widely used Digitial Adoption and Onboarding platform. Userlane was designed to be used by businesses from all industries and sizes, ranging from 500 to 500,000 employees. The tool is used by big brands such as Nokia and the Boston Consulting Group.
Similar to Appcues, Userlane categorized its features under several use cases. These use cases include: accelerating software rollouts, enhancing support experience, speeding up user adoption, improving data quality, speeding up digital transformation, and navigating change risks.
Some of the features under these use cases include:
- User Onboarding
With Userlane, you can provide users with a personalized training experience to improve their understanding of your products. Userlane’s walkthroughs train both customers and employees: by educating employees the same way they do their customers, companies can boost productivity within their teams. Customers/employees can access the onboarding guides at any time, meaning that the learning process’s continuity is ensured.
- Customer Support
With in-app announcements and support, you can send out pre-written content that helps users with their struggles. It’s also possible to analyze user behavior with Userlane, which makes it easier to optimize the customer experience. This increases product and feature adoption. Also, by connecting your existing channels to the Userlane Assistant, you can provide customer-support content without disrupting the workflow of users.
Similar to Appcues, Userlane has real-time insights on its analytics dashboard. The dashboard lets you measure the important product adoption metrics I’ve mentioned before, and makes it easier for you to publish the right in-app content at the right time.
- User Segmentation
You can target different user groups with custom announcements, guides, and hints. There’s also the multiple language support, which makes the job of big SaaS companies much easier.
Use lane has an overall rating of 4.7/5 on Capterra. The reviews are as follows:
“Once you got the basics down you can dive in even further and we are looking forward to implementing the super pro functionalities that Userlane offers.”
“It’s fun working with the product AND their team.”
“We don’t have a huge number of users, and it’s difficult to filter out internal users, which makes interpreting the usage analytics rather difficult.”
1. Useful User Analytics
The insights feature of Userlane provides valuable information about customer engagement. You can see how different user segments use your software, how much they make use of different features, and the pain points they may have. This makes it easier to discover points that need additional customer support. You don’t need to continuously ask customers what they’re struggling with, as Userlane shows you directly.
2. Customized Pricing
Userlane knows that each company differs in terms of wants and needs, especially since the platform is working with companies from varying industries and of different sizes. That’s why they provide you with a customized price based on the features you want and your customer base’s size. This way, you don’t have to pay for the features that you don’t need or use. In addition, certain capabilities such as the Customer Success Program are available for all pricing plans, as well as unlimited user lanes and steps per user lane.
3. The Employee Onboarding Use Case
Userlane’s onboarding guides don’t have to be exclusive to your customers. If you’re a brand that uses lots of different and complex 3rd party tools, getting new employees may be as much of a struggle as onboarding new customers. One of Userlane’s original use cases is that it can be used to create walkthroughs and training guides for new customers. This ensures that your SaaS team keeps up with your evolving tool and that they’re working efficiently.
1. Some features are only available for employee onboarding
Interactive product training is a great feature, but you can only use it for employee onboarding purposes. Also, certain features require additional payments, such as the multilingual support option. Userlane only supports walkthroughs for customers.
2. Basic Export Functions
Similar to Appcues, Userlane has basic export abilities. The analytics reports can only be exported as PDF files, and it’s not possible to export to other useful sites like Google Sheets or Excel.
3. Less Integrations
Compared to Appcues, Userlane supports a smaller range of integrations. These integrations are Confluence, KnowledgeOwl, and Zendesk.
Appcues vs Userlane: Onboarding
In terms of onboarding, both Appcues and Userlane are easy to understand and use with their elegant UIs. One of the main differences is that Appcues has limited customization capabilities in its affordable plans, and Userlane is a better fit for smaller SaaS companies who want their onboarding experiences to reflect their branding. Also, the employee training use case is exclusive to Userlane.
Appcues vs Userlane: Feature Adoption
Creating targeted in-app announcements that highlight new features is possible with both tools. Similarly, creating user segments and targeting the less engaged users to increase feature adoption is possible with both Userlane and Appcues. However, Appcues has pre-determined segments and you can only create customized segments in the more expensive plans.
Appcues vs Userlane: Pricing
It’s difficult to compare the two platforms based on pricing since Userlane doesn’t disclose its plans. Nevertheless, most customers consider Appcues to be less small business-friendly than Userlane. The negative side of Userlane’s customized pricing plans is that you have to take the time to contact their sales team and have a clear idea about the features and capabilities you’re looking for.
Both users have free trials, so you can ensure they’re a good fit before settling.
A better option: HockeyStack
HockeyStack is an analytics and attribution platform used by over 7,000 companies. Its code-free interface that provides enterprise-level data setup in 5 minutes, numerous integration possibilities, and practically unlimited numbers of customizable dashboards allow you to easily monitor every element you need to monitor in your onboarding process.
Some of the most prominent features of HockeyStack are as follows:
Comprehensive yet easy-to-use dashboards
HockeyStack lets you easily monitor every metric you need to track in your hiring process with comprehensive and easy-to-understand dashboards. It also makes your work much more manageable with dashboard categories and clear visualizations, making it easier for you to analyze metrics that will create more value when analyzed together.
HockeyStack helps you make quick decisions with its user-friendly interface and real-time data. This way, when you encounter a problem, you can make immediate decisions and the necessary improvements.
Visualizing the right insights is essential in the onboarding process. For this, it is necessary to analyze each touchpoint in detail for each user.
With HockeyStack, you can easily visualize each user’s journey even before signup. HockeyStack allows you to automatically collect all the actions on the website and the product. Thus, you can visualize every customer’s journey before the “Aha! moment”.
While you can determine what works and what doesn’t in your onboarding process, it’s always best to ask the user for their opinion directly. Surveys are perfect for this because you communicate directly with your users.
HockeyStack makes the survey creation process incredibly easy for you. You can choose from several templates and create the most suitable survey for your needs.
HockeyStack has features that will make your job very easy in creating these surveys and communicating and analyzing them. Just like all the other features of HockeyStack, the interface for creating surveys is also extremely simple-to-use, making the entire process of creating, sending, and collecting insights from surveys very straight-forward.
HockeyStack has two pricing plans, both of which come with a free 14-day trial. You can check out the pricing page here.
Customer onboarding is critical for customer retention. Users who understand your products and features will stay with you for much longer than those that got lost in your last update and couldn’t figure out how or where to proceed. Appcues and Userlane may help you create customized onboarding experiences for your customers, and they can help you continue this onboarding process with in-app announcements and highlights.
Just like you would with any other tool, you have to consider your company’s budget and needs before selecting a product adoption and onboarding tool.
No. There’s a free trial available, but the most basic plan starts from $249/month and has to be paid annually.
Userlane is a partner of Microsoft, and the databases, servers, and network infrastructure are all hosted by Microsoft Azure. With an ISO/IEC 27001 certificate, Userlane proves that it takes data security seriously.