4 Successful SaaS Onboarding Strategies
Onboarding is a constantly evolving science – transforming with design trends, technological innovations and further understanding of user needs. Users adapt their expectations to onboarding developments and the cycle continues.
Some basic truths about onboarding remain the same since the dawn of technology (and I’m referring to that time Neolithic Dave tried to get Neolithic Bob to use that brand new plow effectively) – we just have to find a way to implement them seamlessly into a highly technological environment.
It matters a lot. This goes for products as much as for services. The truth is, one doesn’t always fully understand exactly what software one is getting into, even after the demo. Think about it: even after the demo and quite possibly during the trial period – users aren’t always exposed to the full feature capacity SaaS has to offer. Quite a few SaaS providers offer services with benefits that are more complicated to explain than “we do your laundry” or “we fix hardware”.
Companies who offer services like conversion optimization and improving customer engagement – aren’t always able to convey the richness of their vision through a demo video or even after the first few usage attempts. Being there for an extensive period of time, walking the user through their process of getting familiar and comfortable with your service – it matters. A lot.
Planning Expectation Management cautiously
While promising unlimited support to a new user is tempting, it also impossible to deliver. Most customers have reasonable standards of service, so that creating a framework of “do’s” and “don’ts” will be helpful in learning what to expect. If the Livechat hours are between 8 am and 4 pm or you have a 24-hr email returning policy – customers will adjust themselves accordingly.
And it’s true, what they say – people (users and customers included) respect someone saying no, because that means they can trust that person when he says “yes”. Just make sure to deliver outstanding customer service during the time it is available.
The Hands-On approach
We’ve said it before: different people have different learning mechanisms. Providing a plethora of learning tools wide enough to accommodate everyone, ever – is unrealistic. So it is probably safest to go with the Hands-On approach – provide guidance that allows for the user to try out the software themselves, get their hands dirty and gain confidence in their ability to handle the software.
This is as relevant for a single-function-webapp like Focus@Will as it is for an intricate web-based CRM system. You’ll notice this helps with processing the webapp’s visual patterns, addressing the needs of Visual Learners in the process.
Balancing Engagement with Un-intrusiveness
This may very well be the most delicate onboarding strategy to apply to reality. Where does the line draw? Can we make assumptions about other people’s personal sense of privacy?
It is safe to say, at this point of the Communication Revolution, that most SaaS users have broadened their definition of digital privacy by a lot, since the days when one’s main digital channel was email. Facebook has seen to that, as have the comforts of online shopping and GPS-based mobile apps. Sophisticated applications are expected to know enough about the user so as to anticipate moves and accommodate preferences. As such, guiding tools that can pick up where the user left off or pop up for specific user groups will be appreciated.