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31. 07. 2015

10 Tips How to Improve Your SAAS Customer Onboarding Process

Successful onboarding is a key metric of success for any SaaS company. Weather you provide CRM, healthcare or apps, ensuring client satisfaction is your top priority.

10-Tips-How-to-Improve-Your-SAAS-Customer-Onboarding-Process

Selling the software to your customers is not enough to achieve success, especially if they decide to undertake a free trial first. You have to make sure they understand and use your software correctly, to be able to successfully onboard them in the future. Client’s success is your success.

To help you get on track, we will focus on 10 tips how to improve your onboarding process and provide maximum value and satisfaction to your clients.

1. Follow Up

When starting to use any new software/service, everybody is bound to face some kind of problems/difficulties in the process. Follow up with your clients frequently and see if everything is going smoothly or if they need help with anything particular.

This will help build up trust between you, while also proving that you are a responsible service provider. You can organize phone/Skype calls, online or outdoor meetings to discuss any issues they might have on a regular basis.

2. Educate Them

As a service/software provider in your industry, you should be familiar with all the latest trends/news and topics associated with it. Educate your clients about news, tips and tricks of your industry to make their user experience smoother.

Online schools, articles and webinars are a great way to accomplish this task. Share with them any new, relevant articles that you publish and invite them to webinars to inform/educate them and discuss their issues.

3. Provide Diversified Access

Providing diversified access to different team members is a great way to familiarize your client’s team with all the features of your software/service. Enable invitations to explore different parts of the software to specific people.

For example, if you are a CRM provider, you can invite the social media marketers to explore the parts connected with social engagement and give the sales team access to the contacts and leads features. This way everybody will get familiar with all the aspects of your service much quicker and the onboarding will proceed much smoother.

4. Share Your Success

Providing proof of having satisfied and successful clients before is a very powerful tool. It helps generate trust towards your company in no time and shows your client that you really know what you are doing. Create great, educational case studies regarding projects you have had before and define precisely what the problem was and how you helped find a solution.

5. Explain Your Features

Part of a successful onboarding plan is taking the time to explain all of the features of your software to your clients in detail. Educate them in the ways of your service, show all the ins and outs, provide useful tips and help improve their user experience.

6. Talk to Those Who Bounced

This might seem a little uncomfortable to do, but it’s a must. Some people used your software and didn’t convert, they were unwilling to continue using your product/service. You need to know why.

Send them an email in a plain text, tell them everything that you do for your clients and ask them what went wrong. This might bring out reasons that you haven’t even thought of before. It’s some kind of a hidden problem that is hurting you from the inside and you aren’t even aware of it.

There might be cases that people wouldn’t be willing to talk to you and explain their objections. In this case you have to put in effort to make them willing. Don’t rush them or schedule meetings or calls right away. Treat them as fellow humans and make them understand that you are trying to improve your service and nothing else.

Also ask them why they didn’t tell you about the problem beforehand. Was it a communication problem? Maybe it was a customer support issue? Find out as much information as you can.

7. Enhance Communication and Feedback

There may be cases that your clients are unhappy with some features of your software or would like them to function in a slightly different way. Encourage client feedback and idea generation for this purpose.

Your clients are the ones that use your software/app/service every day and if they have any ideas that can help tune your product, you should seize that opportunity. Discuss their ideas and suggestions in detail, to understand what is it that they really want and consider its implementation.

Never discard ideas that cannot be implemented. Even if your client wants something that simply cannot be done, take the time to explain why that’s impossible and suggest alternatives.

This will build trust between you and your clients, prolong their lifetime value and prove that you are a caring and responsible vendor. The chances of successful onboarding rise up when your client satisfaction rises up.

8. Don’t Sell Features, Sell Success

After you have explained all the ins and outs of your app/service to your clients, it’s important to take a look at it from their perspective. After all, understanding all the features and knowing how they work is all well, but what your clients really want is success.

Knowing and understanding features doesn’t necessarily mean they will achieve their goals. To maximize the value you provide as a vendor, you have to show some ways and guide your client to their success with the help of using the features of your service. Your customers have to understand that they can actually achieve success with your software, and that’s exactly why they should stick with you.

9. Signify Early Conversions

If your clients started to use your service and they are in the free trial period, it technically means that they are ready to convert. Your service attracted them enough to undertake a free trial, so why not focus on a faster conversion? You don’t have to wait for the full 30 day trial period to expire to convert your customers.

The first few days are your best shot. During the first days clients are mostly open to ideas, discussions and learning. They are keen to see what your service offers, what are the features and what tricks and tips they can implement to achieve their goals faster.

With a good communication strategy, listening to them and providing suggestions and solutions, you will be able to build a solid reputation during the first days of service usage and actually have high chances of converting the client, say on day 2 or 3.

As time goes by, clients get accustomed to the service little by little, and their willingness, resolution and enthusiasm tends to decrease. If you wait for the full time of the trial to expire, they might very well find a much more fitting solution and not even consider customization and long term relationship with your company.

10. Constantly Update Your Tactics

Even if you have created the perfect onboarding strategy, it’s important to make the task a constant one. With each coming/going customer, you have the chance to learn something new, something you didn’t know or hadn’t thought about before.

Focus on this data and always come up with new ideas on how to improve the process. This will not only help you with constant innovation, but aslo boost client satisfaction and give you the opportunity to differentiate yourself from competitors. Build a reputation of a SaaS company who truly cares and listens to his/her clients.

Keep in mind that your clients are real humans and value communication and caring as much as (if not more) they value good features, friendly user interface, etc.

Good relationships will increase your client retention, even if something goes wrong and they will be willing to invest time to find a solution for the problem at hand, and not consider changing their service provider from the first minute of having an issue.

Problems/issues happen all the time, with all the companies, in every industry. Caring and listening to your clients is what matters. 

Next Steps 

Saas companies can have an easier time with their marketing if they choose to embrace inbound.

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Pavel Aramyan
Content manager at Incredo. I am a doctor who happens to have an MBA degree and generates content for an inbound agency. I am a do-it-all kind of person: When I am not writing, I am busy curing people, when I am not curing people, I tend to kill WCG competitions. Life is fun, and full of wonders: Do what you enjoy most, even if its everything at once
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