At its very core, “onboarding” is a term used to describe the process in which your prospective client learns about your product, makes an account, and decides whether its value is worth the subscription cost.
As such, successful client onboarding is much more complex than getting an individual to make an account or sign up for a freemium plan- it’s about a clean sales process which ultimately leads to client retention.
From the first point of contact all the way to the quality of your customer service, building a skillful onboarding process is an art form every SaaS Entrepreneur should learn, refine, and consistently update.
Looking to improve your current client onboarding process steps? See below for our top categories to keep in mind.
Reduce Your Friction
The main pillar of successful customer onboarding is managing “friction”.
Generally speaking, this term implies the level of difficulty a new customer encounters when making an account and learning to use your product. The more friction there is in your onboarding process, the less likely you are to have a successful onboarding attempt.
Depending on the type of population your software is built for, friction can occur in vastly different areas. To determine what your friction areas may be, consider asking yourself the following questions:
- What is the age of my target audience?
- What is their level of technological literacy?
- Is my software simple, or complex?
- Will future clients rely heavily on live tech support to troubleshoot?
In the sections below, we will explore how different methods of onboarding can reduce any challenges faced by your user base.
The Great Debate: High-Touch vs. Low-Touch Onboarding
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to onboarding: low-touch and high-touch. Low-touch onboarding is a simple, largely automated, process. High-touch onboarding is in-depth and offers live, personal, support.
When a team member, project manager, customer success manager, or any other dedicated personnel from your company helps the client run through onboarding, this is known as a high-touch approach. In these approaches, almost everything about the onboarding process is customized and personal to the individual clients from the initial kickoff call, support emails, and any account modifications.
On the other end of the spectrum, there is low-touch onboarding. This is an almost entirely automated process in which a client onboarding checklist is built into your software to take an individual through the process of making an account and experiencing an initial tutorial. Often, low-touch will also rely on chatbots in lieu of a support team to keep personal client contact to a minimum.
Which One is Better?
While there is a place in SaaS for both methods, which one is “better” remains a heavily contested topic.
Some companies believe that low-touch onboarding should solely be reserved for new start-ups who don’t have the power for a support team. Others believe that the personalized contact in high-touch onboarding complicates the process and will turn people away.
In reality, most companies find a happy medium by using a blended approach. How much of each style you use is really a matter of trial, error, and careful attention to the services your clients use most.
Looking at two examples, we can see the different uses of low vs. high-touch onboarding:
Example 1: Low-Touch
Let’s say that you are looking to market a simple SaaS product that helps people organize their bookmarks on the internet. The software has few advanced features and is something you want your audience to be able to use right away.
Here, signing up with an email and running through a short automated tutorial is often all you need. As such, having a low-touch onboarding process is going to create the least amount of friction. It will help your clients get up and running, perhaps even with a promotional free trial, with minimal barriers, steps, and annoyances.
Example 2: High-Touch
Now, let’s say you are looking to market a task management system that has the capacity to integrate several other products or services from your company. This system allows for several employee accounts, document management, scheduling, and many other advanced features. This technology is free for 30 days to allow everyone time for the full experience – maybe even to reach an “aha” moment where users see the full value of your product.
Here, you most definitely want a high-touch process. Not only will you initially need onboard administrators, but you will need the support system to navigate employee onboarding, multiple accounts, and potentially an entire suite of software each with their own purpose. The more complicated the services, the more need for personalized tech support and consumer relationship management.
When you put these ideas into practice, knowing your audience gives you valuable information about how to craft your onboarding experience. To see how this works in action, let’s look at two examples.
Testing Your Process
No matter which style or combination you implement, it’s important to look at the type of churn created by your system.
Churn rate is the silent killer of many SaaS companies. This is because there is a high percentage of clients who churn who will never give feedback as to why your software didn’t work for them.
Missing out on valuable information such as this could be detrimental to your company. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple poll asking for feedback to determine whether the problem was your product itself, or an onboarding system that missed the mark.
In either case, the information gathered will be of great use to the long-term success of your SaaS business.
The SaaS Experts Who Also Do Funding
This is where we talk about how RevTek Capital can help you on this incredible journey.
RevTek helps businesses grow. We do this by providing Capital in exchange for a percentage of your future revenue. In the world of SaaS, where upfront costs can put a real strain on lead generation, that added financial help can be the difference between a small growth spurt and truly amazing results.