10 Best Customer Onboarding Strategies for SaaS Businesses

Ever wondered what differentiates a successful enterprise from the rest? One cardinal difference is that successful companies usually have a better relationship with their customers. Ensuring that customers have a great experience, right from onboarding them and providing a memorable journey to the ultimate point of retaining their loyalty, is a tough and demanding task. And not paying enough attention to good customer onboarding practices can turn out to be extremely risky too. 

In fact, 40-60% of users who register for a free trial end up barely using the product and may never convert into paying customers if proper onboarding strategies are not practiced.

What is customer onboarding?

To put it simply – customer onboarding is designed to introduce your product to new users, and help them understand how to use it best. A well-designed customer onboarding plan will help users easily comprehend your product and hopefully end up creating loyal users too.

In order to generate interest in the product, you should create a structured, step-by-step framework to guide new users through your product. It’s also important to note that customer onboarding is not a one-time process. It should be made an ongoing process, which will need to be revised, upgraded and re-designed in tune with the release of new features or versions. 

How good customer onboarding strategies can help SaaS companies

When you correctly handle customer onboarding, you are not only taking proactive steps to ensure that you retain customers, but you also give customers a reason to spread the word about their great experience and therefore increase new signups too! In fact, word-of-mouth marketing results in 5x more sales than a paid media impression and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend. 

Here are a couple of ways you can convert happy users into repeat customers, and brand champions: 

  1. Understanding customer expectations

Understand that one size does not fit all. Before coming up with a workable policy and procedure for product familiarization, you need to first understand your user. Create user personas to understand the problems customers are trying to solve, the roadblocks they might have in setting up their accounts, and even their larger motivations. This will help you create a meaningful journey for each user. 

To address this conundrum, you can roll out a brief survey to users on social media or email. The data you receive from the surveys will be helpful to build customized onboarding process to reach out to the right audience.

  1. Establish the parameters of the onboarding cycle

A recent survey from Harvard Business Review says an increased focus on onboarding achieves a crucial impact over the lifetime of the product.

Customer onboarding is an intrinsic part of customer support and is a notable first step in the customer journey. That’s why you need to ensure the best product experience to the users in their first trial itself! Create a must-follow, step-wise customer onboarding process as stated below, for a happy customer onboarding:

– Simple sign up form

– Notifications

– Verification check

– First Login

– Welcome emails/Transactional emails

– Product Tour

– Welcome call

– Product help documentation

– Extend great customer support.

To transform your first-time visitor to a potential client, focus on those features and capabilities that previous customers found the most value in, or that you believe would have maximum impact. 

  1. Competitor Analysis

It’s also recommended to explore the content and capabilities of your competitor(s) before designing your customer onboarding process. Take a look at their strategies, understand their strengths and weaknesses, and subsequently craft your customer on-boarding strategies to make your customer understand the best usage of your product. 

When you sign up for free trials of industry leaders, check their in-app experiences, look into the navigational flow of the features, and reach out to their support team to evaluate how they are onboarding their customers.

Besides this, try to understand the challenges they have faced, and how effectively they dealt with them. Check their blogs and understand how they are using content to further encourage product adoption. Your competitors’ help center could also inspire you to help your customers serve better.

  1. The First Milestone: The Sign-up process

While making a mark in the tough SaaS market is a challenge, following time-tested strategies with a dash of technology-driven mindset helps you in the race towards success. 

Trust the importance of market research and try to incorporate those standard procedures before you start your ideation process. We looked into the sign-up flow process of other team chat software to evaluate their style of the customer onboarding practices. Keeping the best practices in mind, Troop Messenger has developed an easy and simple product sign up process for users to help them quickly finish their registration and start using our cloud-based communication platform. How to encourage potential customers to sign up: 

  • Ensure your sign up form is short and smooth. Avoid lengthy and annoying procedures which have the potency to drive away prospective customers. 
  • A two-step sign up process for gathering basic level user information with an email verification process could fetch you more customers to onboard.
  • Go the extra mile to offer customers multiple options to sign-up.  If they can sign in with their official ids, why not with their personal ids too? More inlets, more inflows for your product. 
  1. Welcome Email

An ideal strategy to build a personalized relationship with the customer is by staying in touch with them to understand their experience with the product. Guide them on how to use your product, listen to their product-related concerns and queries, and answer them all with patience. If you are unaware of any technical aspects, offer to transfer the call to the technical team for better transparency. 

Engage your users with a mandated list of onboarding emails such as:

  • Welcome mail
  • Thanks, mail after Sign-up
  • Product promotional emails.

Include a great product demo in your welcome email, as it could stand out as one of the best sales tools to promote your product. Make sure your product demo is short and informative, covering the major selling points. When they see your product in action, they can fully estimate the value and potential that it delivers, and accordingly decide on further product purchase plans.

  1. Quick Product Tour

Be a great guide to your newly signed-in customer. While focusing on the features and tangible benefits in your product, highlight the problem your product aims to solve coupled with the broader vision of what you are striving to build. Igniting interest is one thing, sustaining it is a different level game.

Unfortunately, a high percentage of first-time users of most products drop away after the sign-up process. While the reasons for this churn might vary, a comprehensive onboarding framework should create engaging content to encourage the user to come back to the product  Make them understand the value that they can attain to their business or service using your product. 

  1. Not all the features at once

Design value-driven features, and solve the customer pain points with simple and easy to use features. People sign up your product to find solutions for their problems, not just because your product is fully loaded with a powerful set of functional features. 

There is no point in introducing all the features at once, just to show your product strength. Because the new users can’t process them just right at their first interaction with the product. Rather introduce the core feature list with how it works feature help guide.

Basic, essential, and simple features first, while complex and detailed features later. This approach tends the users to get used to your product first. Take Google pay, for instance, the simple to use online payment app, stole the hearts of millions across the globe, with its fast and secure features with the seamless navigational flow. 

  1. Customer Support

One of the crucial building blocks to sustain the strength of your product in the SaaS market is your customer support. Make sure your support teams are available round the clock with the services of email support, call services and live chat to provide seamless customer interactions. Train them on every product features and release, so they can tackle all kinds of technical and functional queries from customers.

  1. A/B Testing

Be it your website, email format, app, landing pages, sign-up procedure, and in-app user experience, use A/B testing to understand what type of content would successfully onboard your customer.

A/B testing involves comparing two different versions of content to find the one that would be the best performing option. Effective implementation of the winning version will let you experience higher visitor-customer conversion.

The five stages of A/B testing process include:: gathering data, figuring out goals, generating a hypothesis, creating variations, running experiments, and eventually analyzing results. This process is usually adopted by product designers and developers to evaluate the user experience, and thus to create great customer onboarding strategies.

  1. Build Trust

Building customer trust is one of the most critical priorities of any company. Not only does trust create a loyal customer base, but it also encourages your customers to expand their plans, invest in your other products, while ensuring a steady growth in new sign-ups. 

We’ll have a look at few ideas to understand how a SaaS company could build trust from their customers:

  • Be precise, transparent and provide clear descriptions of your processes
  • Make their first product experience as the best one
  • Inculcate the best approaches to communicate with them
  • Ensure your product website has genuine and great customer testimonials
  • Be available to understand and answer their queries
  • Out of all the above, ensure value from your product. 

Conclusion

Apart from the general guidelines prescribed above, design out of the box customer onboarding strategies to wow your new user at every touchpoint. Your onboarding strategies should not only educate the user on how to navigate your SaaS product, but it should also clearly highlight the many ways that their lives are made easier by continuing to use it. Prioritizing your onboarding process could be the key difference between ensuring your company is successful or letting customers find other options.