Recent surveys found that seventy-four percent of potential customers will switch to another product if the onboarding process is too complicated. And 63% of customers feel that the onboarding process is a core factor in deciding to subscribe to a service or product. 

Self-serve onboarding is a method of getting users to onboard themselves onto your product or service. It is one of the most important elements of following a Product-Led Growth strategy — growth based on the excellence of a product rather than on marketing and sales — because users learn about the product as they go along. If they need further info regarding the product, they can find it. 

Self-serve onboarding contrasts with traditional sales funnels that guide users down a certain path because the onboarding process itself already lets the user begin using the product. 

In self-serve onboarding, it is the product itself that drives users forward. This makes it an ideal alternative to traditional onboarding procedures that pull users away from the product. 

The problems with self-serve onboarding

Although self-serve onboarding keeps users engaged with the product, it also opens the door to many potential obstacles and errors. 

If users sent in their data to be processed in-house, errors could be addressed by a team assigned specifically to the task. Of course, such a procedure is both time-consuming and costly. Internal teams need to be dedicated to this task to process and clean data in effortful email back and forths with the customer, resulting in exhausting data onboarding procedures that keep the customer from actually using and generating value from your product. 

Unfortunately, most of the data received by customers will not match your target system’s schema. Software applications provide data in multiple formats, and code must be written to process all those different formats if you wish to implement an automated solution. 

In addition to the many data formats, the data itself can contain errors. When the user submits messy data, the result in your system will be inconsistent as well, and it’s impossible to know what quality of data other systems will provide. 

The following is an example of how the number ten thousand pounds and fifty-two pence can be represented in different regional formats, and how it might be imported by a UK-English software system:

Regional format Representation Imported by a
UK-English system as
German 10.000,52£ Error OR £10.00
Portuguese £10 000,52 Error OR £1,000,052.00
American £10,000.52 £10,000.52


The currently widely used and not recommended method is to ask users to manually edit their data for errors or to export it in the “correct” format for your target system. This leads to user frustration, dissatisfaction, and a prolonged onboarding process. 

The preferred way to give you the opportunity to scale your product and speed up customer onboarding significantly is to provide a self-service import solution that automatically cleans user data when submitted. For this, you need to offer an intuitive process with an exceptional UI, that is self-explanatory and will guide the user through it step by step.

Reasons to offer your customers a self-service import and data-cleaning solution

Several factors make investing in a self-serve onboarding solution worth it: 

Self-serve onboarding scales better

Self-serve onboarding is designed to scale. Your product onboards your users for you. Customer Success teams no longer need to support importing data on behalf of users or explain to them how to get value from the product. The self-serve onboarding process is the product and shows them exactly how it works. 

Ultimately, the self-service model scales because it doesn’t use up any time or effort once it’s in place.

Self-serve onboarding is product-led

Users want to start using your product. 

Self-serve onboarding enables customers to start using it sooner, letting them experience your product’s value right from the beginning. By reducing the time-to-value and quickly getting to your product’s Aha! moment, you’re drastically increasing the chances of them becoming paying users.

Automated data cleaning will make the difference

The trick lies in cleaning the user’s data for them automatically. Surveys show that more than 80% percent of users had trouble importing data into their chosen piece of software. 

Data validation, cleaning, and restructuring are the time-consuming steps required to ingest data into a system.

Whenever users start using new software, they’re looking for that Aha! moment when they realize that this software is something they absolutely must have. Frustration during the onboarding process can not only delay that moment but possibly even obliterate it entirely if users are so frustrated that they fail to see the product’s value in front of them or stop using it altogether. 

Properly cleaning data automatically lets users start using your product immediately and reach their Aha! moment more quickly!

How to easily implement self-serve onboarding for your customers

Developing such a self-serve onboarding service would require an enormous amount of investment. And maintaining it would also require resources and investment of time and money. 

Ideally, one would implement such a self-serve onboarding process using the least development effort to keep focussing on core product features.

The nuvo data importer is a self-serve, embeddable, smart data importer that empowers your end-users to import and ingest data seamlessly into your application. Without having to write formulas or otherwise manually fiddle with their data, end-users can use a no-code data transformation solution to format, map, and clean their data to match your system’s schema. 

The nuvo tool covers all necessary data-import functionalities, is fully CSS customizable, and supports users through AI-assisted data-mapping and automated data cleaning. 

Using nuvo results in enormous success increases for users and teams alike.