Once you have built a great software as a service (SaaS) company, the next logical step is onboarding your customers. When onboarding, you should focus on creating value for your customers from the get-go. That way, a business can build and maintain a good relationship with customers throughout their journey. Even though seemingly tricky, it is possible to make a group of loyal customers.

So, how do you create a great customer onboarding framework for your SaaS product? This article presents actionable onboarding tips to help your business bring the customers on board and make them stay for longer. Keep reading for more information.

What is Customer Onboarding?

Customer onboarding refers to a business’s steps to introduce customers to its product or service and help them understand how everything works. The onboarding journey begins when customers sign up for a product until they become regular, permanent customers. A well-crafted customer onboarding framework helps users have a comprehensive understanding of your product.

With customer onboarding, a SaaS business can transition customers from “trialists” to repeat product users. It involves providing enough implementation assistance for customers to use the product on their own.

Successful customer onboarding should go beyond merely showing customers how to navigate the software to how they can use it effectively to maximize their experience. Once the customer knows what your product is all about, they can decide to maintain a perpetual subscription, which is good for business.

Importance of Having a Great Customer Onboarding Framework Your SaaS Product

A great customer onboarding framework can provide lifetime value to your customers. Once they realize your value, customers are less likely to churn away. Instead, it is easier to create loyal users out of your first-time customers. They will not only stick around but also purchase your other services.

Without quickly experiencing value from your products, customers won’t be in a position to achieve digital adoption. Therefore, you have zero chance of retaining them. To understand the importance of a great customer onboarding framework for SaaS, consider the losses you can avoid by reducing churn. That’s how critical customer onboarding is.

How to Create a Great Customer Onboarding Framework for Your SaaS Product

So, what goes into creating a great customer onboarding framework for SaaS? Here are 8 practical tactics you can implement right now to give your customers a wonderful experience with your software. Check out the following:

1. Only Ask for Necessary Information

Customers supply information about themselves through the sign-up form. It is the first step a prospective buyer takes before purchasing your products. When designing the registration form, think about the information you need. A customer must spend the shortest time possible when filling in a sign-up form.

You can encourage potential customers to register on your website by designing a short form. Only ask for the information you need. If one name and an email address are necessary, include only that in the form. There’s no need to collect a telephone number, business details, addresses, personal information, and other details if you don’t need them.

Besides, you should reduce the sign-up procedure to two steps max. After filling in the necessary information and submitting it, you can ask potential customers to verify their email addresses. You can also provide customers with options on how they can sign up.

2. Use Wizards and a Clear Layout

Wizards are vital in guiding users through a series of conditions or steps on a SaaS platform. It simplifies complicated tasks, making them smaller and manageable. A wizard provides simple and clear instructions on how users can complete given steps to reach an end goal.

The wizard can be a guide to help a user complete a purchase. It indicates the stage where the user is and the direction they should move next. However, it’s important to keep steps at the bare minimum when creating a wizard.

When it comes to customer onboarding for SaaS, wizards are vital in lowering the learning curve for first-time users. They make it possible for the untrained to achieve their goals by implementing a short sequence of steps.

3. Communicate with Customers Through Email

Email is one of the best ways to contact your customers. Once a customer signs up, you should send them a welcome email. Later on, you can use email to keep customers abreast of new developments in your business and SaaS product.

Since more than half of all emails get opened on mobile devices, it is best to reach your customers in real-time. Email is a mainstream method of communication, and people can engage with it in many ways. It presents options to forward, reply, or click through a built-in link.

Besides, it’s easier to measure email marketing through delivery rates, open rates, bounce rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates. With that, you can know how well potential customers sign up for your SaaS product.

When sending a welcome email, make sure the call to action directs them to the next step in engaging with your products. You could also send a thank you email after sign-up or a product promotional email afterward.

4. Use a Video Walk Through

Using short videos, you can guide potential customers through the essential features of the SaaS. You don’t have to explain all the product’s characteristics in greater detail. Neither do you need to show the product features the same way and in the same order.

Since you aim to have users sign up for your product, you desire to show only the features necessary. You can select product features based on the answers provided in the Welcome screen. With that, you can show your customers exactly what they need.

At this stage of customer onboarding, it should be possible for your customer to see sense in purchasing your product. As part of your customer onboarding checklist, you should include the tasks the customers should undertake to derive value from the product. Once they finish the checklist, they should activate their SaaS subscription.

5. Have Dedicated Support

Regardless of how carefully you guide potential customers through your SaaS product’s functionality, they are likely to have questions that need quick answers. It could be somewhere along the customer onboarding process or after subscribing.

Providing live support through chat or via phone is a good way to provide dedicated support. Although this could be an investment, it can set your onboarding process on a trajectory that retains new customers long-term.

You can also provide customer support through an online help center where customers can get answers to their questions. Since your business is online-based, the support center can operate 24/7. This is common in most SaaS products and customers have come to expect some form of FAQ or online “help desk” that is essentially a collection of instructions and how-to’s. Given that you’re constantly updating your SaaS product, make sure you provide new articles with the latest information that is easily accessible during onboarding.

Mentioned briefly above, it is important to have a thorough FAQs section where you can provide answers to the questions your potential customers may ask, especially during onboarding.

6. Implement a Simple UI/UX

Without a great user experience (UX), it’s impossible to have an excellent onboarding experience. However, UX is squarely tied to the user interface layout (UI). You can use simple UI devices to draw attention to the menus, buttons, and other areas of interaction.

This feature is significant on a complex SaaS platform in which navigation features aren’t immediately visible. You may include the colour tips and utilize coach marks to make the web page helpful.

When designing the UI, make it possible for your potential customers to use any functions they need. You can simplify the UI/UX for your SaaS in the following ways:

  • Using a progress bar, keep the customers engaged until they complete the process.
  • Avoid creating any mandatory steps but give customers the freedom to choose when to drop out. They can always come back to complete the process.
  • Add Skip and Back tabs.
  • Include clear cues to point users in a given direction.
  • Make it possible for new users to return to the introduction tutorials and product tours.

7. TEST It with Focus Groups of Unknown People

A focus group is a great way to find answers to questions, drive engagement, test ideas, and deal with surface issues. Before you set a focus group, you should have a clear goal of what you wish to accomplish.

You can formulate questions focusing on user motivations, frustrations, gain points, and pain points from your customer onboarding goals. For example, you can ask users to compare your onboarding to what they’ve experienced elsewhere.

With a small focus group, everyone can have their voice heard. It is essential to tell members of the focus group what to expect.

You can hold the onboarding focus group meetings online. Since the group members are perfect strangers who have only interacted with your product but not you, they’ll provide objective feedback.

8. Track Data to See Where Users Are Falling Away

Like all other aspects of your business, you need to collect data to know exactly where users are dropping off your SaaS platform. While a new customer may not have a lot of feedback to provide, they can provide insights on their user experience so far.

After facing problems with your SaaS onboarding process, some customers may choose to continue regardless and try to figure out how it works. Get answers from customers by asking questions based on specific patterns from the experiences of your previous customers. Avoid asking if a user liked or disliked your onboarding process.

Also, you should analyze your new customers’ behaviors to see the kind of interaction they have with your product. You can always wait until they sign up to send an email asking your customers for feedback. For example, you could ask what experience the user had with the onboarding process in the first week.

You can use several tools to collect data on your new customers and track their behavior. Since there are many types of technology, choose one that best works for you. Examples of essential tools include; heat maps, funnel analytics, and tools identifying at-risk customers.

How Long Should Successful Customer Onboarding Take?

The customer onboarding can take a short or long time, depending on several factors. If it takes a short time, it might be difficult for the customer to understand how to use the product appropriately. Similarly, it is a waste of precious time if it takes too long. SaaS products require a shorter time to onboard if they have the following features:

  • Single User: If your product is for use by a single person, the customer onboarding process should take a shorter time.
  • Simple: If you have a self-explanatory SaaS, customers can follow steps on their own and learn how to use it in a short time.
  • Out of the Box: The product doesn’t need any changes or reconfiguration and can be used as-is. That reduces the time required for the customer to start using it.
  • Tool: Your product’s purpose is to solve specific customer problems, and it’s impossible to add other uses later on.
  • Zero Effort to Value: The product is so simple that it doesn’t require the company’s input to provide value to the customers. It is easy for customers to follow instructions and solve their pain points. However, some SaaS products may take longer to onboard. The duration may range from 45 to 90 days or longer. The following are reasons why the customer onboarding may take longer:
  • Customizable: The product is customizable to meet the customer’s specific needs.
  • Complex: You have a complicated product with detailed instructions and a prolonged onboarding process.
  • Multiple Stakeholders: Probably, the SaaS product is expensive and is usable by a sizeable multi-department team. It can take a long time to approve its purchase, thus prolonging the customer onboarding process.
  • Platform: If you have a complete platform that can serve several purposes, it can take longer to bring customers on board.
  • Effort to Value: The extra value is required to configure the server or system before onboarding the customer.

The Bottom Line

You now know how to create a great customer onboarding framework for your SaaS product. Since it’s a continuous process, you should keep your customers engaged long after subscribing to your SaaS services. You’ll retain the customer and help them become loyal to your brand.