When a client creates a customer success account, they may have a wealth of questions. Customer Success Managers use the customer’s onboarding system to track, prioritize and answer their questions. This article explains how customer onboarding can be done successfully and efficiently.

The Importance of Customer Onboarding

Customer onboarding has to be one of the most underrated parts of the customer journey. It is by far the most important stage of the customer lifecycle. While it may not be the first interaction your customer has with your product, it is the first step in leading your customers’ to success with your product.

Customer onboarding can set the tone for their whole relationship with your product and your company. When acquiring a new customer, a positive introduction for your customer confirms that they made the right choice of purchasing your software. Providing a positive experience can set the tone of being a software partner rather than just a list of vendors.

The main reasons customers churn in the SaaS world are: they do not understand your product or they do not get any value from it. A stellar customer onboarding can solve both of these churn issues.

There is no question that you have an awesome product, but the key to customer onboarding is that customers need some hand holding to get started. The good thing is your sales and marketing teams have already done some of the heavy-lifting by helping your customers like the product, your job as the customer success department is to help them love the product they purchased.

One essential piece to remember when designing your customer onboarding is that the journey of how your customer starts to use your product can have a significant impact on whether a customer keeps using your product in the long run, or if they churn after a few months.

How to Create A Great Onboarding Experience

The key to creating the best onboarding experience for your customers is all about providing the right touchpoints at the right time, to ensure your customer feels supported as they start using your product and start to learn best practices.

The best SaaS products today use in-app pop-ups, video content, live chat, and interactive learning while using products to ensure that each customer is treated like an individual and not just another number in a database. Ensuring your customers are treated like humans even while engaging with them in a digital manner is critical to successful onboarding.

The same rule applies if your onboarding experience for your customers is with a 1-1 customer success manager –  again if you truly want successful outcomes you need to humanize the experience, have the CSM understand their business and their goals with your product and tailor the user experience around their goals.

There is no one size fits all for onboarding, although the one thing that applies to all customers from Enterprise to SMB is that you need to pay attention to your users and understand what they need from your product.

You need to make sure you are delivering constant value, especially during their first interactions with your software. It is also important to note that onboarding works best when you look at the entire customer journey and consider it as an ongoing process in delivering value to your customers, not just something that lasts for the first 30, 60, or 90 days.

Humanize and Personalize Onboarding

In summary, for SaaS and other subscription-based companies, it is important to recognize the different types of users you will have, but one underlying truth remains a constant in any onboarding process, which is you need to humanize and individualize onboarding as much as possible for your users.

You can do this by implementing segmentation of users into different use cases or verticals, but just remember at the end of the day regardless if your customer is paying $1 or $1,000,000 for your product they are still looking to reach their business goals with your product and the best way to help them on their journey is with a flawless onboarding experience that is tailored to their needs.

After a decade of building customer experiences at multiple SaaS companies, these are just some of my learnings and if I can leave you with any advice when designing your onboarding experience for your customer it would be to always humanize and personalize the approach as much as possible.

We live in a digital world but it is important to think of your customers as people that are trying to learn about your product when building out a world-class onboarding program. It is not easy building out a world-class onboarding process and it will likely take many iterations before you get it right, but I hope my tips, tricks, and learnings help you with your customer’s success journey.

Good luck!

Understand the importance of customer onboarding in customer success. Customer success expert Anika Zubair explains the different ways to enhance your onboarding, and how to choose the right tools for your team.