How can we get new coaching participants matched quicker?

Creating a new onboarding process at Torch so its customers can have more successful launches for its coaching programs

OVERVIEW

Context
My role: Co-lead, Researcher/Product Designer

Timeline:
1 - 2 months to research, 1 month to design

Platform: Responsive web
Company
Torch is a B2B enterprise software platform offering integrated coaching, mentoring, and learning path programs at scale to a variety of customers across different industries.
Business goal
Torch had little-to-no onboarding as coaching participants (“coachees”) were dropped into the product the moment after signing up.

This meant customers could wait 1 to 2 weeks for their employees to complete a match profile, preventing them from getting matched with a coach and experiencing a positive impact.
Solution
I co-led an effort to audit and research the current coach and coachee experience from the beginning of a typical 6-month coaching engagement to the end.

Once I synthesized and presented the findings, we identified product onboarding as one of the most critical parts to address in the product.

I then collaborated with several cross-functional stakeholders to create a new onboarding flow to help Torch coachees:
  1. Know why they were selected
  2. Know what they needed to do to get matched with a coach from the very start

THE PROBLEM

Without an onboarding experience, coaching participants were left wondering what to expect and what to do
When a new product executive came in, the design team agreed that we needed to do a full UX audit of the coaching experience because Torch made most of its money from 1-on-1 coaching engagements. From there, we could summarize key issues facing the product and focus on where the biggest impact would be. One of those impact areas was product onboarding.

That's because our coaching participants have limited time to participate in a coaching program during their busy work schedules. Yet, their first time with Torch would be spent figuring out what to do and where to do it without guidance/understanding of the impact of their actions/non-actions. For context, Torch matches thousands of employees every year.

Torch's customers and their employees also expect to have a great launch experience, but because we offered little-to-no onboarding within the product, cohort launches would falter from the start as coaching participants could take 1-2 weeks to complete their match profile, the most important action to take at launch.

This delay prevented them from getting matched right away with one of the thousands of qualified coaches in Torch's network which negatively impacted customer ROI sentiment.

RESULTS: BEFORE/AFTER

Unlocking the power of coaching meant addressing participants’ expectations and key actions from the start
After signing up, you were dropped into the Torch platform with little-to-no guidance. This meant we could not direct the actions of new coaching participants when they first joined. Through research and internal reviews, the new onboarding experience needed two key parts:
  1. A welcome page to set expectations and explain why they were chosen (i.e "What is Torch Coaching", or "WITC" page)
  2. A more direct way to complete the "Match profile" questions with a revised flow and better UI
Here's why:
  1. WITC: Coaching participants didn't know why they were picked or what to expect which made them feel apprehensive from the start. This design would address that.
  2. Match profile questions: Coaching participants did not always do these questions right away because it lived as a “path resource” you had to find. However, this was the most important action at launch because it kickstarted the coach matching process so it needed to be in the onboarding flow.
BEFORE: Dropped into "Path" page
BEFORE: "Home" page had little to no guidance and misaligned UI
AFTER: New onboarding flow

How did we get there?

RESEARCH INSIGHTS

Doing a UX audit revealed an unoptimized experience that got in the way of Torch's core value
The UX audit looked at the whole “Coachee Journey” from first impressions, getting matched/starting coaching, being coached, and supporting features.

The audit consisted of:
  1. Re-reviewing past user feedback
  2. Experiencing the flow ourselves
  3. Assessing these flows in a standard format
  4. Reviewing and synthesizing common themes
It revealed 5 thematic problem areas:
  1. Product onboarding: Users were dropped into the product experience without any guidance or instructions
  2. Meetings and configurations: Scheduling meetings was an extremely opaque and confusing process
  3. Torch “paths”: The extremely linear path construct and its structure was not conducive for the experience that Torch wanted their coachees to have
  4. Wayfinding and navigation: Torch's navigation ranged from being viewed as confusing, inconsistent, or irrelevant depending on which page you were on
  5. Emails/Notifications: Notifications were being used inconsistently and ineffectively
These findings resonated with our Chief Product Officer as she said "Where you're seeing issues follows exactly what I've been hearing from customers and the customer-facing teams." Our Lead Designer followed up with "I'm seeing the same issues from cohorts" citing a survey feedback study he had just wrapped up. From here, I was tasked with revamping our onboarding experience.

THE OPPORTUNITY

Torch needed to guide coaching participants' expectations and actions so they could get quicker ROI
First and foremost, we cared about the issues facing our coaching participants' onboarding experience because we did not set them up for success, or guide them on how to use our product leading to frustration at pivotal moments.

By revamping this experience, we could:
  1. Have coachees feel more welcomed by Torch and feel special they were selected for coaching
  2. Have them complete their match profile so they could be paired with a coach right away
  3. Ensure our customers’ coaching programs would have better launches and more immediate ROI
  4. Improve the look and feel of our UI and refine several components

PROCESS

Aligned and presented on key product issues and refined onboarding through collaboration and testing
New management believed the Torch product was not fulfilling its core promise to "unlock the potential of people, teams, and organizations" through coaching. The problems began the moment you started with Torch and the first impressions that followed.

Torch did not have a clear onboarding flow as coachees were dropped into the experience the moment after signing up. This meant they did not always know why they were selected for professional coaching and, more importantly, did not always complete their "match profile" questions which would trigger the matching process with a coach.

In other words, Torch did not guide coachees to key actions that led to speaking with a professional coach that could provide an immediate/positive impact on the current issues facing their careers.

This would negatively impact customer ROI sentiment around the time these programs were being launched. The images below provide further details as to what contributed to these issues.
UX AUDIT FINDINGS - PRODUCT ONBOARDING:
AFTER:
As previously mentioned, the experience above left coaching participants wondering what to expect and what they should do.

I collaborated with internal stakeholders to refine the messaging and then tested the content's comprehension. I also worked with them to refine the match profile questions and improve its UI and then tested around comprehension and usability.

In a separate effort, I worked with the design team and several engineers to build a new design system. For these designs, I worked on several key components such as the progress bar, radio button, input fields, dropdown, slider, and checkbox.

The final designs addressed:

VALIDATIONS

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PROTOTYPES

With intent comes a more direct onboarding experience that leads to successful outcomes
By having a more welcoming and intentful onboarding experience, we could better ensure Torch coaching participants would have more successful starts to their Torch coaching engagements. Thereby, giving Torch customers confidence they chose the right coaching platform.

The GIF below represents the new onboarding flow:

REFLECTION

Delivering quality first impressions involves aligning to what users expect from your product
It's tempting to put additional steps into the onboarding flow where they may feel like they are adding value, but does not actually align with end-user expectations. This is a problem because "any task will inflate until all of the available time is spent" (i.e. Parkinson's law).

Meaning, we have to respect and guide our users time when they first sign up with our products and we do that by understanding what is going through their head at that moment so we can provide designs that also tie in with how the product will provide value.

In Torch's case, it meant addressing why they were selected, what they should expect, and what actions they needed to take so they can speak with a coach that would understand and benefit their career development.