Best Practices for Customer Onboarding in SaaS apps

When I built Engagespot, I thought people who signup for our product will learn to use the product by themselves. But I was wrong. After monitoring over 10000 customer interactions, I found that they’re confused when they land on the page after completing the signup. Their behaviour is not as I’ve imagined. They’re going through random pages without reading anything, trying to click all buttons to go somewhere else. Because we didn’t have a customer onboarding strategy.

Customers don’t think the way we think they’ll use our product.

Around 60% of the users who signup will never come back. They’ll use your product only once! But you can change it by adopting a better strategy for customer onboarding. In this post, I’ll share some tips from my experience in onboarding customers on our SaaS product – Engagespot.

Use Step by Step Onboarding approach

Initially, we didn’t have this step by step onboarding approach on Engagespot. We simply displayed a message that “Your account is ready” and also, placed links to the docs section, assuming that they’ll click the link to read the installation guide.

Also, we displayed integration instructions in a single page without listing them as tasks.

This confused the customers. Some tried to do the steps randomly without an order. Some others skipped after completing only one step. Once they skip the onboarding step, they’ll reach the dashboard and will never be reminded about the pending steps.

Result? Their setup was not complete and they were not able to use the product. This, in fact, caused them to abandon their account.

So, always use a step by step on-boarding approach. On each step, make it clear what to do and how to do. Also, use buttons to mark a step as completed and move to the next step.

step based customer onboarding saas

 

Mark steps as complete when they’re done

Users love to complete goals. Showing users how much they have left to do is a great way to encourage them to complete the setup. So, instead of simply numbering the steps 1,2,3 use an unchecked box to show the steps that are yet to be completed.

And when they complete a particular step, change it to a checked box. Or you can use a progress bar to create the same effect.

Don’t let them skip the Onboarding Step if it’s necessary.

If you show them two buttons and if one is Skip, most of them will click the skip button. Because it’s a user’s natural urge to get rid of steps and processes as quickly as possible.

So, if a step is necessary and is required for the proper functioning of your product, don’t let them skip.

When we first launched Engagespot, our onboarding steps could be skipped. As a result, most of the new customers skipped the step (because of the urge to click the Skip button) and after that, when they really wanted to integrate, they couldn’t find the steps again and they never came back!

Let them verify if they’ve done it properly

Don’t assume your users will paste that integration code correctly to their website, or install the plugin as you imagine. They are seeing your product for the first time and they have no idea how it works.

You can add a button to the final step of your customer onboarding process to let them verify if they have completed the steps properly.

customer onboarding verification

You could either verify the installation by looking for a file they’ve uploaded, or by checking if any data has been sent from their website.

You should mark the onboarding step as complete only if the verification has passed. Otherwise, you should let your users know that they’ve not done the integration steps properly.

This helps to ensure that all your users do the integration properly.

Show In-App notifications at the right time.

Not everything can be taught initially. You need to send messages to your customers when it is relevant for them. For example, we used our own product to send realtime notifications to users to help them when they’re trying to use a particular feature.

notifications for customer onboarding

In-App notifications are a great way to onboard your customers because it is received in the right context. Also, unlike popups, it’s not obstructive.

Let them explore themselves. That’s important too.

You shouldn’t be teaching each and every minute features of your product. You just have to teach them the important steps and features that are essential for your solution to work. That’s it.

Once they’re comfortable with that, they will start exploring the hidden features of your app themselves. Also, you can explain all the other features in a knowledge base.

 

 
Anand

Anand

I'm the Co-founder of Engagespot. I love blogging about digital marketing and customer engagement on websites. Follow me on twitter - https://twitter.com/anandrmedia