Best Practices for Customer Onboarding of SaaS Products
The ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ mantra has never been more relevant in the software product landscape as it has been today. Today’s consumer wants to use simple products that solve complex problems. As software gets more integrated into the fabric of our lives, both personal and professional, businesses try to come up with the best product and services to drive up user adoption. However, it is interesting to note that people stop using a product not because it is not useful or because it doesn’t solve the intended problem. They stop using a product because it takes more than desired effort to get used to it. This is especially true for SaaS companies. Customer churn is a very real part of any business. Research suggests that 40-60% of users who sign up for a free trial of the software or SaaS application will use it once and never come back. Churn rates impact SaaS companies harder because the revenue for the service is delivered over an extended period of time. Did you also know that a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%? Clearly, as we move into the experience economy, SaaS companies have to become more focused in their efforts to reduce customer churn and drive up adoption. And customer onboarding is the first interaction area that decides the future course of product success. By enabling a smooth user onboarding process, you ensure the usability of your SaaS product.
The Purpose of Customer onboardingBroadly, having a defined customer onboarding process is essential as it is this step that assists the user in:
- Understanding the product, its features, benefits and how to use them
- Engaging the user to complete the product setups and configurations
- Avoiding the ‘ghost town’ effect when the customer interacts with the product interface
The Problem with Customer Onboarding TodayCustomer onboarding is a tall order. And while the users’ interactions with products have changed dramatically, customer onboarding still remains a bifurcated experience. Product education is only a part of the onboarding experience. What the customer wants today is:
- Immediate service
- Exceptional product experience
- Complete transparency
- Dealing with too many things screaming for their attention – The customer would just like to begin by learning how to use a product and not go on an exploratory tour.
- No clarity in defining what are the core product features and which are the bells and whistles – Which features should be introduced first? How do the core features work? When should the complex features be introduced? Too much information can be hard for the user to process
- Cognitive overload – Information overload only leads to distraction and causes the user to lose interest in the product. Too many pop-ups or instructions end up making product comprehension harder and leads to cognitive overload.
- Improper feedback – Yes, feedback begins with customer onboarding. Not all unhappy customers complain. So it becomes imperative that gathering feedback becomes a proactive and data-driven process so that the right support can be given proactively to the client.