Top 10 Secret Techniques of Onboarding for SaaS
This is a guest post from our friend Jafar Sadhik at SmartKarrot.
For a SaaS business, merely selling services or software is not enough. Customers have to find value in your offering, something that is not often easy. Imagine you are installing an expensive analytics setup and not knowing how to read the data in there! Be it a subscription model or a freemium one (where the customer gets a free trial window), you have to ensure that their user experience is mind-blowing.
From the first click, they must feel they will achieve their desired outcome if they use your service. This is where onboarding steps in, and especially in SaaS, onboarding can be everything.
So, how to give an impressive onboarding experience that will provide maximum value to the customer? Here are ten onboarding best practices that will drive customer success, and yours, too!
1. Make it a natural fit
The best success for you is when using your product becomes a habit for the user. But while your product seems easy for you, for the customer, it’s a strange thing. You must make it easy to use, understand and figure out for them in the least possible time amid their busy everyday schedule.
So, follow up. Everyone will have some initial hiccups in figuring out the process. This is the time to see what level of navigational handholding they require and be there to provide the same – call them, go on video, send demo videos, be there till using your product comes naturally to them. This will help build customer trust and establish an early relationship with them.
2. Give them a learning curve
Let them ease into your product. Some customers shy away from asking questions. Educate them gently – send them information about the latest trends, updates, and other news linked to your service/product. Provide them with easy tips and tricks – hacks – that make the user feel good.
The idea is to make the customer feel they have discovered something by themselves, giving them a sense of accomplishment. Online demos, webinars work well here. Let them know you are available for further discussions on the same.
3. Customize touchpoints and segment access
Diversifying your product’s access to various teams across an organization is an easier way to help everyone get familiar with all the aspects and features of your service/software. The other thing is to give different touchpoints for different customers.
For instance, your primary plan can have a tech-led onboarding, and a higher plan can afford them video tutorials and complex enterprise customers. With multiple users, you can opt for level-up direct interactions. Within the organization, you can give different access to the social media team, sales team, etc.
4. Have a grip on user behavior
Access it, track it. Monitor each customer’s user pattern, and zero in on their successes and challenges. An onboarding can go on for up to a year in complex cases, and it helps to know where exactly the customer is getting stuck and what kind of solutions you need to offer them.
Filling in their failings, replacing them with success will enhance their user experience, and they’ll get the value they are seeking from your service.
5. Share success stories
Everyone loves a story with a good ending. So, instead of sharing case studies, build success stories and narrate them with flair. It will demonstrate your expertise to your user, enabling them to trust you and know you are doing the right thing.
Contextualize the customer success case studies with the current customer’s problems and show how you helped them all find a solution. Selling stories over features always works at the empathy level, which is essential for long-term customer relationships.
6. Create and regularly update user manuals
Sometimes, all a customer needs is a guidebook to help him understand the basic idea behind your product. New users often find the Q&A Quora type of content easy to grasp. Add tips, screenshots and buttons pop around essential features so that the user can read them automatically when he hovers over them.
7. Set up goals for their successes
One of the easiest tricks to make onboarding fun and an exciting challenge for a customer is to tie it to a set of time-bound goals for them to in the future.
Show them how they would be achieving their desired outcomes right through their usage journey – let them see their future growth and success in using your service.
8. Get feedback from those who bounced
A slightly embarrassing task, but a necessary one, nevertheless. This will give you insights into why those customers didn’t convert, their pain points, and why they dropped off. Call them, do a quick email survey, or ask them outright. Find out and fix the problem. Tweak the plan, the software, the website design, if you must.
9. Encourage communication
Sometimes, people aren’t willing to call and explain, and they’re embarrassed to expose their limitations. Put them at ease by maintaining an open flow of communication. Don’t rush them through onboarding.
Wait for them to understand your software/service/product. Encouraging feedback and collecting user-generated ideas for product enhancement will go a long way in giving you your business success. If many say they’re looking for something particular, implement it.
10. Humanize the software
Unlike what every SaaS CRM thinks, explaining software features aren’t the best-selling point of successful onboarding. It’s the customers’ feelings. Tap into it, and you have your and their success.
Make it a point to make them feel privileged – send personal welcome notes, thank them for choosing you, introduce the men behind the software, share their stories. Make them feel connected to you at an emotional, human level, and all the above points will automatically flow into each other.
To sum up
Customers are human beings at the end of the day, and they like simple interactions, communications, love, and care during and after the onboarding. We like to add the prefix ‘demanding’ to customers each time they ask for more user-friendly touch points and experience, but all they ask is they be treated like the human beings they are.
For every SaaS business, onboarding is the most crucial phase of the customer journey. Deliver what you promised in your sales pitches and marketing jargon. Clear his doubts and apprehensions as early as possible, and you’ll have an emotionally secure, happy customer who’s ready to forge a long-term relationship with you and help your business thrive, too!