SaaS customer onboarding plays a critical role in customer retention and success. The moment after customers first sign up to your product subscription is when you should first begin engaging them with the software – and ensuring they realize time to first value (TTFV), a vital customer onboarding goal.
Churn happens most often not because a product doesn’t fit a customer’s needs, but because it was too difficult to learn how to use the app. B2B SaaS companies are therefore tasked with teaching new users to use their product, in the fastest time possible.
While some churn is unavoidable, much can be prevented through some simple measures taken to avoid common SaaS customer onboarding mistakes. You need to thoroughly ensure that customers have spent enough time using the product so they can decide whether it is a good fit for them.
What is SaaS Customer Onboarding?
SaaS customer onboarding is concerned with bringing the user towards the first moment of value with the software product. Users go through the essential steps needed to understand how the product works and become active users of the software.
Without conscious and intentional SaaS customer onboarding, customers are likely to drift towards churn as they struggle to make use of the product. SaaS onboarding maximizes the chances of customer retention because customers see how the product is useful to them.
SaaS customer onboarding comprises all the interactions a customer has with your software during the first stage of the user journey. It leads them toward the “Aha!” moment when customers first realize the value of your product.
SaaS Customer Onboarding Mistakes
1. Treating all customers the same
It’s likely you will have plenty of different customer profiles of users who sign up to use your SaaS. A big mistake that SaaS businesses make is treating all customers the same, and assuming they all have the same needs and wants when it comes to your product.
This means the onboarding experience needs to be customized based on the requirements of your end users. Experienced users have the ability to choose a more in-depth onboarding flow, while beginner users can simply master the basics.
When you collect vital data from customers after they first sign up, you can use this to personalize the onboarding experience.
2. Overwhelming them with too much
You’re excited about your SaaS product and you want to teach your customers how to do everything right away. This is a mistake as customers are likely to feel overwhelmed by features if you try to introduce them to too much.
Less is more when it comes to SaaS customer onboarding. If customers get decision fatigue then they might decide to stop using your product altogether. Humans can only process so much information at once.
That means getting started with only the core features of your product – just enough to lead them to time to first value.
3. Failing to gather feedback from customers
It’s never too early to start gathering feedback from customers to find out how they feel about your onboarding experience. You can catch potential problems that might lead to churn and use their answers to improve the onboarding process.
Without gathering customer feedback, customers may have a satisfactory time with using your product but it’s hard to truly excel. Most customers who are dissatisfied with your product will just churn without saying anything, and your business has lost a valuable source of revenue.
Customer onboarding questions can also tell you more about the type of customer you are attracting, and help you understand what they need from the product.
4. Making the onboarding process too hard
Customers want to use SaaS products that are easy to familiarize themselves with. If your onboarding process requires too much from them, they will likely abandon the attempt and you will suffer from low product adoption.
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The onboarding process is too hard when features come across as confusing or customers have too many choices for what to do next. If a customer has to work too hard to onboard with your software, they might feel like they wasted their money and time on your product.
Onboarding experiences that are too technical or inflexible will invariably turn off hordes of customers.
5. Assuming new users will find help on their own
It’s highly likely that new users of your software will require further assistance during the onboarding phase. Unless you have a large team of customer success managers who are on standby to help your new customers whenever they need it, you’ll want to ensure that your SaaS company offers a store of self-service materials for your customers that enable them to find assistance on their own.
Giving your users access to a 24/7 chatbot or a self-service knowledge base is a great way to provide extra support to new customers familiarizing themselves with your product. Many SaaS companies make great use of video tutorials that show customers how to use particular features.
If your team is not available your customers will be empowered to help themselves and make the most of your software product.
When new customers first sign up for your SaaS product, this is your big opportunity to onboard them and ensure they become successful users of your product. Without an emphasis on perfecting the onboarding process, your customers become at high risk of churn and your company will struggle to achieve consistent growth.
Investing in customers during the first stage of the customer journey is one of the most reliable ways to guarantee consistent recurring revenue from happy customers. Customers who are onboarded properly are likely to continue to see value in your software and gladly pay their subscription fee.