For some reason, a number of businesses tend to forget about the importance of customer onboarding.
They focus on marketing their products, getting users to sign up, and then, after they’ve earned their customer, they vanish into thin air.
SaaS customer onboarding
Hidden behind the scenes, a good customer onboarding process can change the way people feel about and interact with your brand. Why? Because as the very first step of a customer’s journey, a top customer onboarding experience will only lead to an instant click between a new user and your product. And you know what they say: First impressions are the most lasting.
In this post, we’re exploring the best eight new customer onboarding steps for a SaaS company, as well as tips to keep them hooked and boost customer satisfaction. But let’s take it from the top.
What is customer onboarding?
When someone refers to customer onboarding, they basically mean the way a company treats a new user when they get their foot in the door. The meaning of customer onboarding in a nutshell is the series of interactions between a SaaS product and a new customer.
Even though we’re talking about first impressions here, a good customer onboarding program can prove beneficial in the long run. Because if a company captures a customer’s attention right off the bat, customer retention rates increase rapidly.
Now, let's look into the benefits.
Why is customer onboarding important for SaaS companies?
Asking yourself why a proper customer onboarding process is worth it, is like asking yourself this: do you want your customers to be happy and form an ongoing relationship with you?
If you answered yes (which you most probably did), you can understand why investing in an exceptional new customer onboarding process might be as wise as Solomon.
But customer satisfaction is literally just the beginning. Because satisfaction brings engagement, engagement brings loyalty, and loyalty brings money. Here are the main benefits of following the best new customer onboarding practices.
- Recurring revenue. Happy customers are loyal customers and they want to keep coming back for more. Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost 5 times more than retaining an existing one. In other words, keeping your customer retention rates as high as possible will save you a lot of money.
- Building reputation. If your customers are happy with your product, they will spread the word. Word-of-mouth marketing is still among the hottest techniques when promoting a product or service. A good customer onboarding process will work as a free marketing tool and will boost your social proof, which still is among the most important factors in a buying decision process.
- Customer support without the hassle. Providing a great customer onboarding experience means less demand on your customer support team, which can focus on solving real problems and not try to explain the product. This, alone, will allow you to save money by not hiring too many customer support representatives when they are not needed.
Now that you know why customer onboarding deserves your attention, you have to make sure you do it the right way.
TIP: Marketers also use reviews to grow their brand awareness and connect with buyers. Use customer feedback to create content that adds authenticity and credibility.
So, how do you do it? These eight steps to an outstanding customer onboarding experience will turn your new users into loyal, engaged customers that will provide value and money to your company.8 best practices for onboarding new customers
1. Mind your signup form
So, the very first thing you want to pay attention to, is your signup form. Of course, each company has a different branding, color palette, or message they want to pass through. However, there are some things you need to consider.
Being the first official interaction a user has with your product, a signup form should make clear that the overall customer onboarding experience will be fast and easy as pie. So, for starters, your signup form should consist of as few fields as possible. Include only the ones that you need from a user to create their account because if you ask for too much, they will most probably close your tab.
If more personal details are required, make sure you provide reasoning and include a link to your terms and conditions.
2. Craft the perfect welcome email
We all know these automated emails. It’s true that a welcome email is part of a customer onboarding automation but it still matters.
Much like the signup form, the first email you’ll ever send to your customers is the first piece of official communication between you two. Speak their language, show how much you appreciate the time they took to sign up, and don’t send a dull message with just a link to confirm their account.
TIP: Use an email template builder that you can alter and personalize for individual customers. Nobody likes canned emails that seem impersonal and robotic, so use the right software to build a modifiable template that speaks directly to an individual rather than to a general audience.
When figuring out what your customer onboarding steps should be made of, keep in mind that encouraging new users to start a conversation is crucial. If it’s too hard, make sure you provide them with tips on how they can get more out of your platform.
This is not just a smart way to get people to like you, but also a clever method to get them to log in for the first time. The first login is also part of the customer onboarding experience and must be carefully thought out and simple for anyone unfamiliar with your product.
And it usually begins with a product tour.
3. Create a stunning product tour
An easy way to make things easier for users unfamiliar with your SaaS is to include a product tour when onboarding new customers. No matter how user-friendly your product might be, you need to make sure that the average person who is logging in for the first time will know exactly what to do.
An interactive product tour sounds like a perfect onboarding idea.but it needs to look fun, shinny, interesting, and of course, detailed. However, don’t forget that many users want to explore new tools by themselves, so you’d better include a “Skip” button.
4. Train your customers like a pro
The most common practice most companies use is providing users with tutorials — usually video tutorials. And for users who might be in need of some in-depth understanding on how to use your SaaS, this sounds like a perfect plan.
But why not take it one step further and train your new users? A trained customer is a better customer, and as soon they get a handle on your product, they will have more demands and be willing to pay more to meet them.
5. Train your customer service team
There’s not a single successful SaaS that doesn’t come with a great customer support and/or success team. As much as we hate to be the bearers of bad news, even the best customer onboarding process will never be enough. Because, more or less, your users will inevitably face problems that your team will have to solve.
To help them overcome them, have your customer service team available round the clock. Include additional services like live chat, phone calls, and a ticket system so customers can reach out exactly when they need it.
Your team should also have a complete lock on your product. And the best way to assure that all of your customer service team members are on the same page is to invest in their onboarding training, too.
The benefits of onboarding training are already known, but, in short, it allows new hires to get a deep understanding of your product from day one. In fact, according to SurveyMonkey’s VP of Customer Operations, training a customer service team should be an ongoing process.
6. Collect and analyze data
While onboarding new customers, gather as much data as you can. Lots of data. Tons. Find out how they navigate on your platform, what they do, the buttons they click, details on the people behind the account, and the objective behind their decision to sign up.
This way, you’ll be able to make decisions based on your customers’ needs and behavior. There are many tools out there with add-ons that help you learn more about the way users interact with your website or app.
Related: Read what the saturation of the SaaS industry means for buyers.
7. Talk to your customers
Successful businesses don’t only focus on business plans, strategies, and money-making plans. Successful businesses are also accessible by their customers. So, keep in touch.
Communication during the customer onboarding process is essential to keep the bond between you and your customers strong. Never leave them at the sale, and always be there during their first steps toward engaging with your product.
Always be available; it’s always appreciated.
8. Focus on relationships
Once more. We’re not talking about selling your product here. We’re talking about forming a genuine relationship between your brand and your users. After all, this is what a great customer onboarding experience is all about.
Selling SaaS is not the same thing as selling goods. It’s not just a friendly interaction with the cashier, bill, cash, goodbye, and out of the door. It’s forming an on-the-spot relationship with your customer so you don’t let the opportunity slide on by.
Show that you care. Follow up, check in, ask how they’re doing, and get your social media manager to show your company’s friendly face by interacting with your potential audience and clientele.
Don’t forget that trust should be your number one priority
It’s no secret that if a new user trusts you (even way before their customer onboarding experience) the possibility to buy increases significantly. But it’s not just a one-off thing. At the same time, if an existing customer has trust in a company, they’re more likely to expand their plans, try other products by the same company, and promote them for free to peers and friends.
Trust is a powerful word. And also trust converts.
So, invest in your relationship with your customers from day one with the right onboarding, and see their trust in your company rise day by day. Ditto for your revenue.
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