Build a better mousetrap and the world will be at your door, they said. Not if it is built in a jungle. Not if you don’t tell people that you have a better mousetrap and definitely not if your users are using your carefully built ‘better’ mousetrap incorrectly. If they are not satisfied they will get rid of it after one try. User experience matters a great deal. To ensure that your users have a great experience with your product and become your long term customers, you need to ensure that you onboard your users correctly. Teach them to use your product the right way. User onboarding is all about the journey you take the user on, once he buys your product and is ready to start using your product. You have to convince the user that your product will add promised value to his life if he uses the product the right way. And then, the onus is on you to make sure that it does.
The purpose of user onboarding process is to get to that ‘Aha’ moment when the user finally realises the value of your product and decides to continue using it for a longer period of time – at the earliest. User onboarding is all about constructing the journey to that ‘Aha’ moment. There can be different onboarding strategies. Best ones are designed around the popular functionalities of the product and on this fervent need of marketers to size up the user as soon as possible so that he is then provided with a customized onboarding strategy. SaaS marketers have to focus very early on customization as SaaS space is very competitive and only the products which are deemed to be a right fit, get attention.
#1 Along with ‘Hows’ Give Them Plenty of ‘Whys’ too
Onboarding is generally perceived to be the process of telling your users how to use your product. It turns out that telling your users why they should use your product will help you more. You need to stress on the benefits of using your product. You should accommodate value -oriented approach to onboarding in your overall onboarding strategy. Why should he like your product ? Give him reasons.
Emphasize the advantages of your product and tell each of your users how your product can prove to be relevant and advantageous to them. And, you need to understand customer’s ‘Whys’ too – as in why is he buying your product? What are his goals? What are his expectations? Figuring out the answers will make the onboarding journey better for everyone involved.
#2 Segregate The Users On The Basis of Their Technical Prowess
Onboarding processes should be different for different people. It should be customized. It could be based on their personas or technical prowess. From the time you have the initial contact with the SaaS user, use all your efforts, your landing pages and other resources at your disposal to get an idea about the technical proficiency of your user. Do you think he would be able to use your product efficiently after onboarding sessions? Yes? Good. Leave him alone to explore the product. Don’t bombard him with hints and suggestions. Unless, he gets stuck someplace and needs help.
You see a user struggling to find his way even after a good onboarding session? Focus on him. Do not presume anything. Start with tips on basics. Understand his problems and help him out. He would need all the helpful hints and suggestions you can provide and more.
#3 Onboarding And Product Implementation Process Should Be Transparent
You need to set up right expectations of the onboarding process. You have to tell your users in advance what the complete process looks like. How many stages are involved? When should they expect your calls and other relevant details. When you tell your users about the journey they are all set to take they are less anxious and more cooperative. You can pitch in your a la carte services to make the process more personalised and customized. When you set up the process transparently it also helps your marketing and sales team manage their processes. You ensure they are not over committing or under committing and are able to give right amount of attention at the right stage.
#4 Shorten Your Onboarding Process
If you can help, try to keep your onboarding process short. Dragging it into weeks and months lessens the interest and your chances of conversions generally reduce. More importantly – Do not give homework to your clients.
Get on the phone with them, interact with them live and fill in the questionnaires or feedback forms yourself if you must have one in your onboarding strategy. You have to avoid the back-and-forth-email stage initially at any cost.
#5 Make the Users Stick to the Onboarding Schedule
If you have several users of your product in a company, train the power users first. They will then become the advocates and trainers for others in the set up. It will make your job easier. Users sometimes drag their feet and find no time for onboarding process. To make sure your users remain committed to the onboarding and implementation process, you can schedule a specific number of hours per week as implementation hours.
If they don’t stick to the onboarding schedule or training module and do not stay committed to the implementation hours you can send them emails reminding them that their implementation hours expire by a certain date. You need to keep the users engaged consistently. If there is an executive sponsor, the person who actually sanctioned the dollars for your product, you can get in touch with him tactfully to get the associated users back into the process.
#6 Tell Them What Your Product Doesn’t Do
If you have been in the business for a certain period of time you know your users sometimes assume your product has functionalities which in fact it doesn’t. For conversions, you need to find the right fit of users. Make sure your sales and marketing people do not over promise. You don’t want to catch your users saying, “Oh, but I assumed you would be providing this functionality/service too.” If you are indeed planning to provide the said function or service in future -do let them know. If not, tell them the facts in the nicest way possible. Overtime you can make a list of the things your product doesn’t do and you can then share that list at the right time during the onboarding process.
#7 Pay More Attention To Whales
It is important to direct more attention and resources to nurture Whales- big users of your products. It makes more sense to garner big contracts with long term retention prospects in your portfolio of clients. Do not depend too much on using automated tools for dealing with these users. Human interaction is essential here. You must assure your user that there is a person at the other end of an email or phone who understands his business completely and is willing to go the distance for him at short notice. Some SaaS companies do not hesitate in sending their teams to client’s premises to smoothen the onboarding process even if it is a flight away. Sometimes onboarding process is long and can really go on for weeks. Put your best team in place for them. You don’t want user’s attention in your product dwindling at any point. For conversions therefore, for your high value clients, you should be ready to provide high touch engagement.
#8 Conduct Surveys and Help fill Questionnaires
Sometimes direct approach is the best way to get real insights. Questionnaires and surveys can do this job for you. You can send them out to your users anytime you think fit. As mentioned earlier, no homeworks – help them fill it. Fill the questionnaires on their behalf after getting them live on phone to answer the questions.
Let’s see an instance. To improve the conversions it is important to keep the churn rate minimal. 1st week is important. If you can keep your new users engaged fruitfully for a week, there are chances they will stick around. If you think your churn rate is high and users simply drive by – find out the reasons behind it.
Dan Wolchonoc , product guy at HubSpot did exactly this. He wanted to know the reason behind the 1st week churns of Sidekick, a product HubSpot launched. He conducted a survey and found that 30% of churns happened because users did not understand the product. 30% did not see the value. It is a valuable insight which stresses the fact that marketers have a small window during onboarding to explain the product as well as to enable the users to find value in it.
And that is all from my desk for now. Until next time, Adios.