Onboarding is likely a concept that you’re already familiar with, but you may be underestimating the importance of a good onboarding experience.
Onboarding is much more than just a box to check when you get a new customer, and treating it as such may actually be doing your business a lot of harm.
In truth, the onboarding journey is a make-or-break part of the customer lifecycle.
The reason it’s so vital to provide a great customer onboarding experience is that it sets the tone for the rest of the customer experience to come.
The onboarding process is like a first impression—actually, it’s like two impressions rolled into one.
When you onboard a customer, they’re getting their first experience with the product as well as their first experience with your brand since becoming a customer.
Clearly, there’s a lot riding on this.
To set up your customers for success throughout the rest of their journey, you’ll need to use the best product onboarding tools. User onboarding software is a popular choice for brands that want an easy way to offer customers a standout onboarding experience. These pieces of technology are often referred to as learning management systems (LMS).
An LMS, like Northpass, can serve as a great platform for hosting onboarding material in an organized and accessible way.
An LMS can help you reduce strain on your customer support professionals during the onboarding process.
Typically, you need a team of CSMs (customer success managers) to help customers through the transition from prospect to the user. However, your CSMs can do their jobs more effectively if they have access to the onboarding resources they need to help customers.
Even better, keeping an organized database of product education courses allows customers to learn at their own pace, reducing the need for hand-holding by CSMs.
This also reduces the costs associated with maintaining a large team of CSMs who must manually onboard every customer.
Using a customer education platform with in-app training tools can help you deliver the best possible onboarding experience to your customers.
Here are some of the ways you can benefit from an exceptional onboarding process built with an LMS:
First and foremost, your customer onboarding process dictates your customers’ experiences with your brand and your products. An informative and efficient onboarding process has the power to create a positive first impression of your brand’s customer service—this initial perception, like all first impressions, can be hard to shake.
Perhaps even more importantly, a good onboarding experience helps the customer understand how to use the product to maximum value. Without clear and actionable product education upfront, customers won’t be able to get any value from the product they’ve paid for and few things are worse for your brand image than that.
Even if you provide access to all the information your customers need to use your products successfully, it won’t do any good if it isn’t presented well.
Making your customer onboarding training engaging will help customers remain attentive during the onboarding and make them more likely to retain the information. You can use an LMS to help you format your product education materials into well-designed courses that hold attention.
By providing an engaging onboarding experience for your customers, you’re setting them up for another kind of engagement: engagement with the product. When customers have a good understanding of how the product operates and what it can do for them, they’re more likely to invest in learning.
This can extend the customer lifecycle and improve retention.
If your business sells a complicated product, the onboarding process can quickly become overwhelming, both from a design and customer standpoint. Using user onboarding software to build your onboarding program can help on both of these fronts.
An LMS makes it much easier to keep your courses organized in a single library and some learning software even facilitates customized learning paths to guide new users through the right courses.
Furthermore, an LMS can help you design courses that are aesthetically cohesive and intuitive for users to navigate, even if you have don’t have eLearning design experience.
The onboarding process is just one piece of the customer journey, but it’s one of the most important ones. The whole customer journey looks something like this:
Let’s narrow in further on the onboarding step in particular. We can break the customer onboarding journey down into a few steps.
Mapping your customers' onboarding journey upfront can make it easier to design your onboarding materials in a way that helps customers move through the process as smoothly as possible.
Onboarding SaaS users comes with some unique challenges.
When you sell a subscription to a service, retention becomes even more important. You need a way to continually convince customers to renew their subscriptions and keep paying for your software service.
This makes it especially important to reduce time to value for your new customers and provide them with ongoing education about how to get more out of the service.
One of the best ways to improve your enterprise SaaS onboarding efforts is to adopt the proper SaaS onboarding tools. Just like with any kind of customer onboarding, SasS onboarding is closely tied to customer education.
This means that one of the best ways to create an effective onboarding strategy is to use an LMS as SaaS onboarding software. An LMS like Northpass can help you tackle many of the obstacles unique to SaaS onboarding.
For example, software services are often difficult to learn because they can be very complicated to navigate, especially if the user is not already very comfortable with technology. Using a customer education platform, you can build intuitive courses to make it easier to understand how to navigate your software.
You can also program personalized learning paths that can function sort of like a SaaS onboarding template to guide users to the information they need to succeed.
Learning from the best SaaS onboarding examples is a great way to improve your strategy.
Here are some common best practices that the most successful onboarding programs often incorporate:
Your onboarding strategy needs to be created with a clear objective in mind. Your onboarding process should include the overarching goal of providing a great customer experience for new users, but the best onboarding examples focus on specific, measurable outcomes like reducing churn or reducing time to value (TTV) for the customer.
Designing an effective onboarding process requires the right people for the job. Your customer education team can help with this. At a minimum, this group should consist of a project leader to keep the program on track, a subject matter expert to provide the technical knowledge and an instructional designer to package it all into a user-friendly experience.
After you launch your onboarding program, you should also track metrics that’ll help you improve it. Gathering insights about how new users are interacting with your onboarding program can show you where the program is working and where it isn’t. This allows you to make adjustments on the fly to improve the onboarding experience you offer.