Customer onboarding is the sequence of steps your customers complete at the beginning of their customer journey in order to familiarize themselves with your business’s product. Customer onboarding is typically the very first step of the customer journey because it’s the gateway to customers getting value from your product.
When you first acquire a customer, they need to be brought up to speed. You can hardly expect them to suddenly be an expert at using your product as soon as they become a customer. There’s a learning curve to every new tool, and your business’s products are no different. SaaS solutions have an even steeper learning curve than most other types of products — that’s why SaaS companies usually need to prioritize the customer onboarding process highly.
SaaS customers typically need a streamlined, highly-effective onboarding process to help them succeed with the product and reach its value quickly. However, creating this type of onboarding process is not easy. Using the best customer onboarding technology is a great place to start.
For example, you can use a learning management system to host your onboarding content and make it more accessible to new customers. With Northpass, you can even create custom learning paths to guide new customers through the relevant onboarding content.
Your business’s customer onboarding strategy should be part of a larger customer education strategy. Onboarding is the section of the customer education process that takes place at the beginning of the customer journey, but customer education efforts should continue throughout the entire time the customer is with your business. Effective customer onboarding can lead to numerous business advantages, such as improved customer satisfaction, lower customer churn and increased revenue.
Before you set out to build the perfect B2B SaaS customer onboarding process, you need to understand what a typical onboarding journey looks like from the customer’s perspective. Understanding the common touch points that occur during the onboarding process is critical if you want to design a cohesive onboarding process. Here’s what a standard SaaS onboarding process might look like for the customer:
The very first step of the onboarding journey is when the customer signs up. The process of initially signing up should be extremely simple and intuitive, so there are no reasons for the customer not to click “sign up.” Provide an easy way for customers to take the first step and don’t demand too much information from them right away.
After customers have signed up, they’ll usually receive a welcome email. The purpose of this first welcome email isn’t to bury them in all the information they’ll ever need about your products and services — it’s to establish contact between your customer success team and the new customer and to direct them toward the next step in the onboarding process.
Setting up an account should be an extremely straightforward process for customers. Only ask for the information you absolutely need so they can get started as quickly as possible. An effective onboarding process is all about reducing time to value, so customers should be able to set up an account and start using the product in little time.
Now that the customer has access to the product, it can be helpful for them to see a product demo. Even though the customer has at least a basic understanding of your product at this point (otherwise, they wouldn’t have signed up for it), they likely haven’t yet had much opportunity to try it for themselves. A short, interactive product demonstration can be a great bridge between learning and doing.
All of these steps so far are building toward the “aha” moment. The “aha” moment is the moment when the product’s value clicks for the user. Helping customers accomplish their desired outcomes and see the value of the product as quickly as possible is key to helping them reach the “aha” moment. Customers are typically much less likely to churn after they’ve reached the “aha” moment.
You’ll likely have an easier time achieving a successful customer onboarding program if you follow best practices. Onboarding is a little different in every industry, but here are a few of the most important B2B customer onboarding best practices to keep in mind:
Every person learns a little bit differently. It’s important that your onboarding program caters to all different styles of learning to serve all your customers equally. As convenient as it would be, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to learning that truly works. Your onboarding program should provide each and every customer with a unique, tailored experience.
Most customers expect access to training content on demand. Your onboarding content is no different in this regard. Giving your customers unfettered access to your onboarding content enables them to complete the material however works best for them. With a learning management system like Northpass, you can give your customers 24/7 online access to onboarding content in one convenient digital location, so they can learn whenever and wherever they want.
The onboarding process is one very important step in the customer journey — however, the learning shouldn’t stop there. Even after your customers have completed the onboarding process, you should still provide them with extensive training materials to help them continually improve their proficiency with your products.
The final tip in our list of customer onboarding best practices is to track your onboarding efforts. Tracking the results of your customer onboarding program can help you figure out how your program is succeeding or failing. It’s a good idea to review metrics like customer churn and time to value to determine whether or not your onboarding strategy is achieving its desired outcomes. If not, you can use this insight to make changes to your strategy and align it more closely with your goals.
Following these best practices can help you plan an effective customer onboarding strategy, but when it’s time to actually build and execute the program, you’ll likely need the help of the right SaaS customer onboarding software. Here are a few of the benefits of using a learning management system like Northpass to power your B2B customer onboarding process:
You can use customer onboarding software to personalize the onboarding experience for each one of your customers. For example, you can use Northpass’s learning paths to guide customers sequentially through pre-defined sets of courses that help them learn how to accomplish a specific goal. Learning paths can conveniently remove the need for customers to search individually for courses that are relevant to their specific goals. You can also use personalization tokens to create personalized experiences for customers based on their unique needs and obstacles.
Northpass also comes with in-depth analytics features that make it easier to gather and interpret data about the impact of your customer onboarding efforts. This can enable your customer success team to make meaningful improvements to your onboarding strategy based on what’s worked previously and what hasn’t.
Northpass is a cloud-based learning management system, which means it’s extremely scalable. Using traditional B2B customer onboarding methods, a growing customer base would need to be supported with additional onboarding resources. On the other hand, you can use Northpass to build a customer academy that can serve as many customers as you need it to.
Customer onboarding is one of the very first stops along the customer journey, but it’s one of the most important of all. Customer education is an ongoing process, but there's no time when customer education is more important than at the beginning of the customer journey before the customer has reached the “aha” moment.
Shortening the time to value and getting the customer to that “aha” moment is what a successful onboarding program is all about. The best customer onboarding examples show the customer how to succeed with the product and empower them to experience that success firsthand in as little time as possible.
There’s no better way to demonstrate the value of a high-quality onboarding program than with real B2B onboarding examples like a customer onboarding case study or some onboarding statistics. Here are some of the facts that prove onboarding is important:
Statistics like these show that offering the best customer onboarding experiences possible can positively impact your business’s customer relationships. Using a learning management system like Northpass, you can deliver an outstanding onboarding experience that helps your customers reach their goals with your products.