This post of mine was originally published in Portuguese on Useronboarding.com.br
Have you ever heard about “user onboarding”? Some time ago this term wasn’t well-known, but now it is getting more and more common – especially in the SaaS companies universe. And then comes the doubt: “Should I care about user onboarding in my business as well?”
Quite often I hear this question from all types of companies. And, always, my answer begins with: “What is the pain and/or the opportunity that made you start thinking about onboarding?”. The point is: if you plan to have a good onboarding strategy for leads and customers, full of metrics to track results, you must know what you want to solve or even improve within the Product/Sales/Customer Success process. That’s what I’ll talk about in this article.
First, I’ll just explain quickly the concept for those not used to it: onboarding is a process to guide your company’s leads or new customers in the usage of a product, in order to remove technical barriers and show them an initial result – known as “First Value”. In this way they will be satisfied with your product and engaged to keep using it. Making the process of seeing a first result easier is crucial to sell more and retain them as customers – avoiding churn.
Some of the most common reasons that drives companies to invest in First Value delivery are:
1- Few Sales
Sometimes it’s hard to buy a new product without knowing exactly how it works. For this, many companies offer a trial period of usage for possible customers, which helps customers explore and choose the solution better. However, if the customer doesn’t receive proper guidance, with a easy method to be followed, the result can be worse than without the trial offer. Bad user experience, lack of understanding and no result can become a weapon against your own company. Here is when a well-done onboarding process can make the difference.
2 – Post Sales: the complexity of first steps
Another moment that can be critical is after the sales process. That’s when new clients are happy, engaged, seeking results. However, if a client finds it hard to reach their goal, even a small one, in the first interactions with your solution, a yellow flag can appear for you: they may abandon your product soon. Let’s face the truth: when we buy something new, we buy together an expectation. And when this expectation is not met, we get frustrated. I don’t like seeing my customers getting frustrated, especially in the very beginning of their experiences, and I hope you don’t like it either.
Offering a well-structured onboarding process just after the sales process can be crucial to help customers have first results and be satisfied, so they can see the First Value and get engaged for the next steps.
3 – Avoid Churn
No one likes losing customers: they are a source of revenue. Do you know it’s 7x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one? With this in mind, reflect: how much money are you losing right now only because you don’t care about delivering success for them?
In a SaaS company, the onboarding process is not only essential for customers to see value, but also for the company to grow faster by reducing churn rate. The onboarding process must guarantee not only the delivery of a First Value, but also the continuous usage after the onboarding stage.
Keep in mind: the first impression is always the most important one. The better the experience during the first steps, the more engaged your customers will be for the next stages of their life cycle.
4 – Advocacy
Satisfied customers are a really good (and easy) way to generate more customers through recommendation. It’s a strong tool for growing easier and faster. For this, an great onboarding process can also be useful: you can measure the satisfaction of your customers right after the onboarding stage by sending a NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey. If the rate is high, you can ask them to recommend your solution to other companies, generating new opportunities for your comercial team.
How to offer a proper onboarding process
Lastly, it’s important to say the onboarding process can be offered in many ways, according to your solution and customers’ reality and profile. There’s no “one size fits all” solution.
Some common ways to support customers in the first steps are:
- Product: whenever possible, your own solution must show the way to success by itself, leading the customers through the first steps
- Support materials: successful customer cases and a Help Center full of useful content are good examples of how you can offer more support for your customers
- Videos: step-by-step videos are useful when you have technical configurations
- Automated emails: you can guide clients through a flow of automatic content that shows the steps they must do at each moment
- Customized support: depending on the complexity to deliver First Value and guarantee retention, your company can offer professionals to help your customer base during the onboarding process.
As we saw here, there are many ways to organize your onboarding process. The most important is always understand the best way to lead your customers to success, regarding your solution and customers’ reality. After this, just enjoy the compliments from your customers that surely will come with a great onboarding process construction.
Do you have comments or doubts? Feel free to write them here, let’s talk more about it.