Creating a Seamless Customer Onboarding Experience
In our recent post on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Product Launch, we highlighted a few of standout features unique to bringing SaaS products to market, one of which is creating a seamless customer onboarding experience. Today we'll delve in deeper to this critical element of SaaS product success with some of the best principles for customer onboarding design.
Every time I talk to a low-touch, self-service SaaS company experiencing massive drop-off immediately after sign-up, low Free Trial-to-Paid conversion rates, few customers staying past 90 days post-conversion, etc. it is always an onboarding issue. – Lincoln Murphy, Sixteen Ventures
Planning and designing a seamless customer onboarding experience is crucial when transitioning a product out of pre-launch, into beta phase, and beyond. Skilljar explains that customer onboarding really is the process by which you "get customers to value." A well-designed onboarding experience can minimize frustration and hesitation for trying a new product, and generally ensures a good first impression.
The Landing Page
The landing page is where customer onboarding begins, where a visitor becomes a lead, and where a lead becomes a customer. It is at the heart of all SaaS customer onboarding processes. Featuring personalized Calls to Action, such as "Start your free trial" or "Request a demo," the landing page is where your conversion strategy and customer onboarding strategy meet, and you start guiding your customer toward the value you offer. Below are some key features for effective landing pages.
An excellent tool for showing your product off, video facilitates customer onboarding in two ways. Videos that detail the product itself - virtual tours, walkthroughs, demos - help the customer know what they are getting and, hopefully, that the product is right for them. Meanwhile, other marketing and/or animation videos can help to convey specific product features and benefits.
Calls to Action
Calls to Action should be personalized to your customer type: If you have more than one type of customer, make sure each type receives its own call to action. For example, business simulation games that are targeted at professors, students, and corporate trainers should offer a clear path for each of these customer types to follow on the landing page. The Call To Action should then lead the user down a path toward value, depending on where they are in their buyers' journey. Possible landing page Calls to Actions include:
- Request a Demo
- Start your free trial
- Sign up for free
- Register today
- Request a meeting/call to learn more
Description of Features & Benefits
Include the most important product features and benefits in clear, simple web copy on the landing page. Don't try to boil the ocean when it comes to detail: Hub Spot recommends sticking to the top 3-5 features that you need customers to know and that set you apart from your competitors.
Testimonials & Reviews
Include testimonials and/or reviews on the landing page to let the user know that your product is tested and approved. Match testimonials with the same buyer personas you are targeting, with the aim of letting users see themselves in the people who have used and enjoyed your product.
"A successful onboarding paves the way to retention, renewal and even upsell in the future."
Branding Identity & the Customer Onboarding Experience
Because the landing page is the first time leads/users will interact with our product and brand, it needs to adopt a strong branding identity. This will help users understand what our product is, how it helps them, and how it is unique.
Elements of Branding Persona & Branding Design
- Product Name
- Domain Name/Url
- Brand Key Colors
- Additional Color Pallet options
- Images, graphics, & other elements
Customer Onboarding Metrics
As it matures, you will want to start measuring the success of your onboarding process. Below are some of the most common and important metrics for customer onboarding.
Churn rate: the percentage rate at which SaaS customers cancel their recurring subscription
Customer lifetime value: prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer
Retention metrics: Net revenue retention is the “macro” metric that most companies track and public SaaS companies report. It measures the total change in recurring revenue from a pool of customers over time
Source: SaaS Capital
Net promoter score: performance management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm's customer relationships
Onboarding Strategy Development
In their Ultimate Guide to Customer Onboarding, Hub Spot lays out best practices and tips for customer onboarding strategy development and design. We've shared a few below, but to read their complete guide, click here.
Best Practices for Customer Onboarding Strategy
- Understand your customer
- Set clear expectations
- Stay in constant communication
- Seek to impress
- Measure your success
Helpful Tips for Onboarding Design & Development
Make it a personalized experience. Each customer has a unique set of concerns. The more we can tailor our solution to their needs, the easier it will be to achieve wins.
Break everything down. Disseminate information slowly and selectively. Only ask a new user to accomplish one task at a time and provide clear instructions on how to do it.
Be with your customer every step of the way. Be available to customers if they get stuck or have trouble. It will make their onboarding experience better and allow us to see where your process falls short.
Celebrate the small wins. Acknowledge every milestone along the path to customer-defined success to encourage a continued relationship.