How do users experience your Software as a Service (SaaS) product for the first time? The answer to this question decides how much of a bond they build with your brand and how often they interact with your product in the future. User onboarding determines whether prospects become true fans and your tool becomes their new everyday tool.
What is User Onboarding?
What do we mean by user onboarding?
The user onboarding process is particularly important because a good user experience needs a sense of achievement. It would be disadvantageous if users do not know how to use the tool or do not understand the full range of functions of a software. If the "aha" moment is missing, the motivation to use the tool and establish it in their everyday life will leave them after a short time.
Today, users have more options than ever - and there are already many tools with similar functions from which they can freely choose. Moreover, our attention span is shorter than ever and the next possible experience is only a click away. That's why it's so important to convince your users quickly and keep their attention on your software.
The onboarding process is the kick-start for a long-term subscription.
As a rule, SaaS companies work with a subscription model. This means that as long as a person uses the respective tool, he or she pays a monthly or annual subscription fee. Unlike a one-time purchase, it is therefore decisive for turnover how long someone finds fun and benefit in a software.
Advantages of a well thought-out user onboarding
Before we go into concrete measures that explain what a good onboarding process could look like, we would like to explain its benefits in detail in order to be able to properly assess its importance.
You increase your conversion rate
Many SaaS tools work with a free trial period or with a freemium model, where users can use the functions to a limited extent, but have to pay to purchase extras.
Your user onboarding can be a decisive factor here, as it has a decisive influence on whether the users understand the tool in its completeness and use it meaningfully for their challenges - and also how easy it is for them to do so. The easier it is to use, the more likely users will enjoy it and achieve what they set out to do when they registered.
You relieve your customer support
With a good user onboarding process, many of your users' questions will answer themselves - and instead of having to ask your customer support for help, they can focus on getting results with your tool.
This not only prevents frustration on the part of your users, but also relieves your support at the same time. This saves you resources that can be used for the further development of your product.
You increase the confidence of the users in your product.
People are more likely to trust you if they understand what you have to offer them - and user onboarding helps them do just that. If this is clearly understandable, detailed and professionally prepared, it increases the perceived seriousness of your company. And it also strengthens the belief that the tool has a future and will be continuously available and developed.
You lower the churn rate
Those who understand your product, know how to use it and get results will be satisfied with it - and those who are satisfied are likely to remain customers. The more it becomes part of the user's daily routine, the less likely they are to unsubscribe. And the key to understanding your SaaS tool is user onboarding.
You increase the recommendation rate
Increasing satisfaction also increases the chance that users will recommend your tool to others. Already during onboarding, they get to know features that they know could also support friends or business partners in their processes. And since everyone wants to be the one to give a good recommendation, user onboarding can work wonders.
What makes for good user onboarding?
Now that we know how important user onboarding can be for your business, let's look at the following question: What can onboarding look like in order to turn prospects into long-term users?
One thing is clear: three short sliders that explain the core functions of your tool are not enough. But they are a good start. In the first step, it is advisable to name the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of your product and clearly state what problem it actually solves. If readers feel addressed at that moment, they will continue to listen attentively to you and you can initiate the next phases of your onboarding.
All this happens on your website before readers register. With concise information, illustrations and clear call-to-actions, you lead them to registration. Screenshots of your SaaS create additional trust.
Finally, the registration should be as simple as possible and only ask for the data that is actually necessary. At the same time, you can ask here for voluntary information concerning the use of the tool.
For example, what challenge they are facing that the tool can solve. With this information, you can of course further optimise the future user experience by learning more and more about the problems of your users.
On the other hand, you also have the option of making the subsequent Dashboard of the users dependent on the answers to their questions - and to highlight the decisive functions in particular. This way you simplify the use of your tool for your users, increase their satisfaction and enable them to achieve even better results more easily.
After successful registration, you should automatically send new users an email that describes the next steps and includes direct call-to-actions that encourage users to interact directly with your tool. At the same time, you can refer to possible documentation or other resources in your email that can help users get to know your product.
A call-to-action from your email should lead the recipient to the login. The first impression counts! After the first login, keep the screen simple, visually appealing and give your users the opportunity to decide for themselves what happens next. For example, whether they want to watch a video that explains the product or start using it directly.
And if someone wants to start using the software straight away, you can explain the individual functions with tool tips at Dashboard . For example, by displaying corresponding notes on the various buttons and icons of your software, explaining what they mean and what they do. In this way, users can playfully get to know the functions of your siteand use them directly.
In this product tour, it is also advisable to include a checklist that users can work through to complete the onboarding process. This can suggest to them that once they have completed this list, they are ready to use the tool to its full extent.
More tips for successful user onboarding
In addition, there are various other ways to take your users by the hand after the first use and thus ensure that they continue to work with your tool in the long term.
3 tips for ongoing user onboarding:
- Emails: Send your users emails at regular intervals to make them aware of different features of your tool. Invite them to invite their team members, send them new case studies or draw their attention to new features. Pay attention to the open rates of your emails and adjust the frequency accordingly.
- Documentation: While many users only work superficially with your tool, there are others who want to go into more detail - for these users you should provide detailed documentation. This will increase their satisfaction and at the same time relieve your support. You can also use public documentation to increase your SEO rankings.
- Onboarding Call: Everyone is different. Some people like to watch videos for onboarding, others prefer to read and still others would like to receive an introduction by phone. Give your users the chance to arrange an onboarding call with your team, where they explain the features of the tool accordingly.
Once you have a good user onboarding process in place, keep an eye on it and measure user behaviour. You can use various metrics to see which measures are working and how well. This is particularly interesting with regard to test phases or freemium models, to monitor which part of the process ultimately leads to turning users into paying customers.
User onboarding is a decisive factor in determining the level of your turnover. Accordingly, you should attach a lot of importance to it. There are various ways to optimise the first impression a person has of your product.
The more your users feel understood, the more they will be willing to become and stay customers. Your task is to make it as easy as possible for your users to achieve results with your product. The user onboarding process lays the foundation for this.