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Onboarding Matters

All the things you need to better the most important part of your customer journey.

MCKINSEY

Poor onboarding, engagement and customer service make up 52% of the reasons customers leave in the first 90 days.

MCKINSEY

The First Few Days For Any New Customer Is Very Crucial

The First Few Days For Any New Customer Is Very Crucial

Ever installed a new app or signed up for a new service? We’ve all done that before, and the first thing we need to know is HOW to navigate our way through the service and get the value.

But when the initial experience is bumpy, new customers can start to disengage or even unsubscribe from the service, FREE or paid. This is why Customer Onboarding is very important so as to boost customer retention, increase customer satisfaction and reduce customer churn.

Start With A Welcome Email

Start With A Welcome Email

It always excites me when I receive a welcome email from the Founder/CEO of a company whose services I’ve signed up to. Many apps provide welcome emails to new users, but it can be adapted in any type of business, not apps alone.

It is such an effective way to excite customers and provide next steps. That way, you start to lead customers through a seamless customer journey they will equally be excited to look forward to.

Reducing Churn By Effective Onboarding

While signing new customers is obviously key to business growth, retaining those customers is just as important.

What reduces customer churn? One big factor stands out: effective onboarding. 

Nailing the onboarding process, especially for a product that may be constantly evolving with technology and customer needs, can sound daunting. But it can’t be ignored. Onboarding that isn’t optimized to increase retention costs you both the customers who churn, as well as the potential customers, warned away through reviews and word-of-mouth.

Getting The Right Customers

Before onboarding even begins, your business must attract customers who need what you offer. No onboarding process can rescue a customer hoping to burn CDs with a Spotify account.

Be sure that marketing and sales understand what your product does, and doesn’t, offer. Use customer cohorts to identify good and bad fits. Letting bad-fit customers through the door simply to raise acquisition will cost more than they spend. High churn rates and bad reviews quickly erode revenue gained in these situations.

Reinforce Customer Choice By Highlighting Your Best Features

People experience a range of emotions as they first hear about, research, and decide to invest in a product. Throughout this journey, it’s important to reinforce their interest, especially in those moments after the purchase.

Many digital companies accomplish this through a virtual “tour” of their features once an account is activated. These tours highlight the most exciting product offerings and help the user set up their account.

Show your customers your best side, reminding them why they signed up, and they’ll be more likely to experience early success and remain loyal to your product.

The benefits of customer onboarding automation

The benefits of customer onboarding automation

When you onboard new customers, you introduce them to how your business works. The right customer onboarding is vital to long-term satisfaction. The goal is to eliminate any friction between the initial customer contact point and post-purchase.

Automating customer onboarding:

  • Speeds up the onboarding process
  • Dematerialises the corresponding workflows
  • Reduces latency between touchpoints throughout the customer journey.

The importance of automating customer onboarding

Automating your onboarding process can free up human resources. Automation also helps with scalability.

Automating client onboarding solves the following challenges:

  • It makes the process shorter and more structured
  • Easier access and segmentation of documents
  • Eliminates errors and miscommunication.

The first steps in automating onboarding

  • Before you start automating customer onboarding, define your goals and customer journey. Which processes in the customer journey do you want to automate? Which segments of customers do you want to automate?
  • Ensure your onboarding tool is integrated with CRM. Using CRM as part of an onboarding initiative will help manage the process.
  • The next step is to create simple workflows, such as sending them a welcome email or high-value action steps.

A Perfect Customer Onboarding

Some professionals argue that the onboarding process is not easy. Basically, it is easy. However, the process of perfect onboarding, where the customers are happy, is tough! 

When you make the onboarding experience smooth for the customer, they are most likely to continue with your brand for a long time. That easily translates into continued recurring revenue for your business. 

Now, to tackle the difficulties in the process, a ‘Playbook’ can come to your rescue.

The Playbook

A playbook is a series of time-bound activities. It is a detailed checklist or blueprint of steps prescribed by the Head of Customer Success (CS) which should be followed during the customer journey. 

Also, it contains the best practises that you must follow while dealing with your customers to improve their overall experience with the product.

An onboarding playbook is, similarly, the detailed sketch of the onboarding process and the time required to complete the same.  

With playbooks, you will get a real-time view of which customers are in which step of onboarding.

Setting Up A Playbook

Setting Up A Playbook

While designing an onboarding playbook, you need to understand your existing onboarding process & divide it into various steps.

Once the steps are clearly defined, they can be categorised into either of the following elements. The onboarding playbook, typically, consists of:

  • Tasks- which the Customer Success Manager (CSM) has to perform
  • Product Adoption Milestones- the crucial product feature that the customer has used and how well the customer has adopted the product.
  • Outcome- A high-level business outcome that you expect your customer to achieve in this step.

SaaS Customer Onboarding

People these days demand simple products for solving complex problems. To stay competitive, you need to cater to those demands. Not all companies get this, which can put you ahead of a sizable number of SaaS businesses. 

Did you know that between 40% and 60% of everyone that signs up for a free trial use it once, never to log in again? What’s even more dramatic is that there are less than 3% of those remaining users who continue using the product after a month. 

While some churn is to be expected, the problem may lie at the first point of entry: SaaS customer onboarding.

Customer Onboarding Challenges

No matter who you are, your product’s onboarding process will likely have issues. Regardless of how great your product is and how well it’s positioned to become the killer of a more popular one on the market, if the onboarding process is complicated, it won’t matter. 

We are going to go over the top challenges in SaaS customer onboarding so that you can increase your SaaS customer retention levels. Once you learn more about them, you can more readily prevent them.

A Cluttered Interface

While choice is nice to have, when there are too many, people get overwhelmed. Interfaces that are too cluttered will cause a headache more than anything. Showing tons of options to a user before they have gotten familiar with a product will potentially turn them off from delving into it any further.

The onboarding process should start off simple. Direct the focus of users in one direction at a time. If there are too many elements grasping for their attention, they will either skip the onboarding process or return to it later.

Onboarding Metrics

When new customers begin using your product, they are not completely convinced until they start realising the value from it. Onboarding is not just about getting your customer familiar with the product.

It is also about hand-holding the customer in the initial usage which fits right in their context. They need to start finding value from the product to make sure that their ROI is soon and easily recovered. Hence, onboarding metrics help you gauge if your customers can attain those results or not.

Importance Of Onboarding Metrics

Using the customer onboarding metrics is crucial because only through this you can measure the efficiency of your onboarding process and identify the areas that need improvements. Onboarding is the most usage-sensitive time for your customer because only during this phase, most of the customers decide whether to continue with the product or not. If onboarding fails, there is no way you can expect your customer to continue their subscription for the next renewal cycle.

Time to First-time Value

First time value is the point during the onboarding phase when the customer realises the value of your product in their business context. And Time to first time value is the time taken for them to reach that result. 

Now, when you are setting up your product in their technical environment you may have to do the following: 

  • Make the technical configuration of the product according to the customer’s business needs
  • Integration with other software they use to collaborate seamlessly 
  • Setup users, assign roles and give access rights.

Create an onboarding schedule

Create an onboarding schedule

SaaS onboarding often takes about two weeks. The first week is for completing forms and collecting information, and the second week is for training and walkthroughs.

Consider what elements your onboarding should include and plot them on a timeline—for example, welcome messages, product walk-throughs, and guided tutorials. Always be proactive. Don't let people wait for your next email, message, or call.

Identify the key features you want to highlight

Your SaaS product likely has many exciting features.

To avoid overloading your customers with information, focus on two or three of the most valuable features to help customers see immediate results with your app. Consider the "time to value" metric when creating your SaaS onboarding checklist.

Provide a quick and achievable task

Include an easy and achievable task your customers can do during onboarding. Consider guiding them through the task with call-outs and flags.

Quick wins show customers immediate value and help them reach a milestone they can celebrate.

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