Customer onboarding is a process that helps your customers learn enough about your products and services to start getting value from them. The education that happens at the beginning of the customer journey familiarizes customers with how to use your products and navigate your new business relationship.
For a SaaS business, a large part of onboarding is making sure users are adequately trained to use their new software. Some products are intuitive and don’t require much detailed explanation. Software products, however, don’t usually fall into this category. The onboarding process helps customers overcome the challenge of learning to use an unfamiliar software application.
You need a strategic onboarding process that helps your customers get value from your products faster. When you have an effective customer onboarding process that aids customer success, you can also attain a higher rate of customer retention, better customer lifetime value and more.
Why's Customer Onboarding Important?
So, why's customer onboarding important? The onboarding stage is a critical part of the customer journey. Not only is the onboarding stage the time when the customer gains the foundational knowledge to succeed with your product, but it also sets the tone for your entire business relationship. You should think of it as a first impression. If a customer has a bad onboarding experience, it will sour the whole experience moving forward and could even cause the customer to churn.
If a customer has an outstanding onboarding experience, it can start the relationship on a positive note and make retention much easier.
Here are a few more examples of the benefits of a good customer onboarding strategy in case you’re still wondering, “why is customer onboarding important?”
Better customer onboarding leads to more revenue.
A better onboarding experience can improve customer happiness.
When customers are onboarded more effectively, they’re less likely to churn.
Customer Onboarding Statistics
Here are a few notable statistics to help demonstrate the importance of customer onboarding:
Your onboarding process should be based on a carefully planned customer onboarding framework. This part is necessary because, without a strategy, you would only be able to provide a generic, one-size-fits-all onboarding process.
That's not the best way to drive customer engagement. Your onboarding process should be tailored to each different customer. Every user will need something a little bit different out of the onboarding process. It’s important to use an approach that prioritizes creating a personalized experience from start to finish.
Here are some steps to build a basic client onboarding template. You’ll need to customize this template further to meet each client’s needs.
The onboarding process's first step is officially welcoming the new client aboard. The goal is to create a positive first interaction to start your business relationship on the right foot. A great way to complete the “welcome” step is to send the client an email thanking them for their purchase and telling them that you’re excited to have them as a client.
After you’ve welcomed the client via email, you should also have a welcome message that greets them the first time they log into the software. For now, focus on encouraging them to take one simple first step. For example, you could direct them to choose a new password the first time they log into their account. Make this first step easy by providing plenty of clear instructions.
The next step of the customer onboarding process flow is to help the customer set up their product and start using it. The best way to do this for SaaS products is typically a guided setup.
This setup process includes built-in guidance to direct the client in real-time as they progress through the product setup. It’s a good idea to make this guided tutorial as short as possible and make it optional for more confident users who want to jump straight in without spending time on a tutorial.
From here, the rest of the onboarding process involves various strategies for providing users with ongoing learning opportunities.
Here are some ways to ensure customers constantly learn and improve their product knowledge:
Fill the Empty Slates: When your customer logs into their account for the first time, it'll most likely be a blank slate. Fill empty fields with simple descriptions that will help a new user understand how to use each feature immediately. For example, an empty course list might say, "here’s where you’ll see the courses you add from the course menu.”
Use Banners: You can use tip banners to teach clients how to use features in real-time. Displaying a quick tip about how to use the feature when they hover over it or access it for the first time can help hands-on learners familiarize themselves with the software as they go.
Build a Knowledge Base: A knowledge base is a database of information about your product that customers can access if they need help or more education about a feature. A learning management system (LMS) like Northpass is the perfect tool for designing a knowledge base for your users.
Each of your customers has a different set of needs. Giving every customer the same onboarding experience isn’t an effective way of introducing them to your products. Each customer needs their own tailored experience.
Make it Accessible
You can use online learning tools to make it possible for customers to engage with the onboarding process anywhere in the world. Onboarding materials should be accessible to all your clients at any time.
Keep it Going
The customer onboarding process doesn’t end after you’ve helped the customer set up their account. While the setup process is typically associated with the onboarding process as a whole, it’s only one part. A successful onboarding program also includes ongoing opportunities for customer education.
Track Your Results
You should be tracking metrics like churn, time to value and engagement with your onboarding resources to determine how well your onboarding process is working.
Automate What You Can
Automated tools can make it much easier to run a streamlined onboarding program. However, you can’t rely entirely on automation. A human customer success manager should also supplement your customer onboarding program.
Some of the tips throughout this article refer mainly to a B2C onboarding process. However, the points listed here can also be viewed as B2B customer onboarding best practices. Onboarding programs built with these best practices usually result in the best customer onboarding experiences.
Customer Onboarding Software
Your organization's customer onboarding process dramatically impacts the quality of your customer relationships. Taking advantage of tools to help you build a better onboarding process is a great way to ensure that your strategy is up to par.
The best customer onboarding software includes all the features necessary to create an intuitive and helpful onboarding process for your customers. Whether your goal is B2B customer onboarding or B2C customer onboarding, the right onboarding software can help you streamline your customer onboarding flow.
Northpass is an excellent example of the ideal customer onboarding software. As a fully-equipped learning management system, Northpass includes a long list of advanced customer education features that can help you build a robust onboarding process. For example:
Northpass is customizable so that you can tailor your onboarding materials to each customer’s needs.
Northpass is mobile-friendly, so your learners can access onboarding resources wherever they are.
Northpass is cloud-based, so your onboarding program can scale effortlessly.
Northpass includes data analysis capabilities that can give you insight into important SaaS customer onboarding metrics.
If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your customer onboarding program, it could be time to invest in state-of-the-art online learning software like Northpass.