According to a study by Wyzowl, around 90% of people think that brands could be doing a better job of onboarding. No matter who you are, the odds that all your customers are happy with the onboarding experience you offer are not in your favor. If you continue to dig further into SaaS onboarding stats, two things quickly become apparent: People value a positive onboarding experience, yet not many companies are providing that for them.
It’s not for lack of trying; many (probably most) business leaders are well aware that onboarding is an important first step in any customer relationship — but the problem still remains that only 10% of people are happy with their onboarding experiences. The blame lies partially with poor design and partially with the general lack of understanding of what customers want from their onboarding experiences. So, let’s break down what SaaS onboarding is, why it’s important, and how to get it right.
What is SaaS onboarding? The SaaS onboarding process introduces customers to their new product and teaches them how to use it so they can start getting value as soon as possible.
So, why's customer onboarding important? Customer onboarding is one of the most critical steps in the customer journey. The customer’s onboarding experience is like a first impression. You should start off the relationship on a good note, not with a frustrating learning process.
A successful onboarding process helps customers realize the value of the product or service ASAP (time to value). This can reduce churn resulting from customers becoming frustrated that their product or service is not delivering the value they’d hoped for.
Customer onboarding ensures customers know how to use the product and how to benefit from it. Higher product adoption often leads to organic growth. Customer onboarding statistics suggest that the more customers who are actually using your product or service, the more likely it is to be recommended to others.
Setting up your customers for success at the beginning of their journey ensures they get off to a fast start and have a foundation to build on moving forward. Moreover, customers who complete training courses and become product experts are the most likely to become loyal customers who continue their relationship with your business for years to come and have a great lifetime value.
The customer journey begins when the customer becomes aware of your product. They might have seen an advertisement, come across an online piece of content organically, heard about your brand from a friend — there are many possibilities.
Once the customer is aware of your product, the second step in their journey is considering whether or not they want to purchase it. This is where knowing your target audience can help you. The better you know your audience, the better you can cater directly to their needs and preferences and increase the chances of them deciding to make a purchase.
Assuming the customer has decided to purchase, their next step is to actually make the purchase. During the sales process, it’s likely the customer will be interacting with your sales or customer support team more than they have yet thus far. They’ve moved past consideration and are now looking for value to start being delivered.
The onboarding step is your first chance to show the customer the value they’re expecting. A great onboarding process is frustration-free and decreases time to value so the customer can start getting the value they expect right away.
The SaaS onboarding journey doesn’t end there, though. Since SaaS usually operates as a subscription model, ongoing customer education will be essential to retaining customers over the long term.
If customers have an amazing onboarding experience and are getting the value they expected from their product, they are likely to remain loyal customers. These customers will often become your best brand advocates and attract more customers so the cycle can continue.
Onboarding is one of the most critical steps in the customer journey. The SaaS onboarding process is unique because it’s ongoing. It’s important to give customers a great first impression of the brand and set them up with all the information they need to start getting value from the service ASAP — however, it’s just as essential to provide opportunities for continuing customer education since SaaS customers will always be considering whether they should renew their subscription or upgrade to the next version.
Here are 6 steps to creating a successful SaaS onboarding process:
The first thing to do is define the goals of your onboarding program. Consider the strategic needs of your business and how you can align your onboarding process with those needs. In addition, just about every onboarding program should be able to:
Once you have clear and strategically relevant goals in mind, the next step is to establish the best team of people to put the program together. There are three main roles you should strive to fill: subject matter expert, instructional designer and project manager.
Your subject matter expert should be someone who knows the service like the back of their hand. They can ensure all necessary information is included in the program and that it’s completely accurate.
Next, it’s time to consider the steps customers will take as they progress through your onboarding program. Mapping out the onboarding journey can help you fine-tune the way the training flows and make sure it’s fully aligned with your goals. Here are some of the steps you should take into consideration:
Next, you can create the actual content that will be included in your onboarding program. You’ll work together with your instructional designer and subject matter expert to come up with a curriculum and outline a format.
Once you have the content planned out, you and your instructional designer will take that content and package it in an effective customer onboarding framework. You might also benefit from working with a graphic designer at this stage. A learning management system (LMS) is a great tool for converting a curriculum into a seamless learning experience.
Once your onboarding program is finished, you should test it thoroughly to rule out any bugs or sources of ruction for the customer. After those have been ironed out, it’s time to launch the program.
For a SaaS business, the onboarding program creation pro=cess is never truly finished. Gathering continuous feedback from users and incorporating that feedback into your onboarding program can help retain customers even as your service evolves and possibly becomes more complex.
A lot of successful companies use learning management systems to deliver top-tier onboarding experiences to their customers. Some of the best SaaS onboarding examples were created using an LMS.
Northpass is a learning management system that can be used to create outstanding B2B SaaS onboarding programs.
Some of the best SaaS onboarding experiences are successful because they rely on customized learning experiences to deliver relevant training content to customers. Northpass gives you total control over the entire design of your onboarding program.
Some SaaS onboarding software, like Northpass, can even guide customers through the onboarding process with predefined learning paths that aid engagement and retention
Northpass makes it possible to give customers certifications for the training courses they’ve completed. Offering certifications can motivate customers to stay fully engaged in the onboarding process and give them a sense of validation.
Presenting customers with a SaaS onboarding UI they can actually understand and successfully navigate is easier when you use an LMS instead of trying to build a program from the ground up.