Winning a new customer can feel like having an amazing first date: you seem to have the same objectives and you just know you’ll be a great fit. It all clicks. Then, a couple of weeks later…nothing.
Though it’s hard to admit, your onboarding process could be to blame. Recently, a product manager for Hubspot set out to see why customers were churning in the first week after registering for an email tracking tool called Sidekick, and he found that 60% of churned customers just couldn’t see the value. A strong onboarding process can keep customers interested in your product by quickly (and accurately!) proving value.
Here are a few questions to ask about your onboarding process if your promising new customer has suddenly turned into a dud.
Does your definition of value match your customers’?
Different-sized SaaS companies often measure customer success in very different ways. As well they should! Success for a five-person startup is probably much different than success for a 300-person company. However, one of the most common mistakes SaaS companies make when it comes to customer success is forgetting that, first and foremost, success should be customer-centric.
According to customer success expert Lincoln Murphy, “Customer Success is when your customer achieves their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company.”
Discovering your customer’s ideal outcome for the product and then successfully coaching them to achieve that ideal is one of the best ways to make sure you’re meeting your customer’s objectives. And the best way to discover those objectives, according to Murphy, is to ask.
His key questions for onboarding include simply asking questions about the client’s desired outcomes, what success looks like to them, and what success might look like to their boss. When it comes to onboarding, getting straight to those desired outcomes matters, and failing to do so could mean the difference between making a strong first impression and causing customers to lose interest completely.
Did they have a bad first impression?
No matter how simple and desired outcome-driven you think your onboarding process is, if you fail to make a good first impression, your customers could be coming away unsatisfied. According to a recent study, customers with a positive first impression of an app were much more likely to rate the app easy to use than those with a negative impression.
To make sure customers aren’t unfairly judging your company by its cover, make sure onboarding materials are not only getting customers to that “aha” moment quickly, but doing so in a way that isn’t boring.
According to Phil O’Doherty at Hubspot, the best way to maintain enthusiasm throughout the onboarding process is to engage quickly, instead of miring customers in tedious conversation:
“I’ve seen way too many customer success teams spend their first onboarding sessions simply welcoming the customer, discussing goals, and scheduling next steps and calls — without getting something tangible done. Those topics are, of course, important, but even if you can complete something as simple as turning on one tool or ticking off one basic task, the feeling of making progress can put the customer at ease.”– Phil O’Doherty
Is your onboarding fun?
One great example of an onboarding process that’s engaging while still adding value comes from Canva, a design tool that targets non-designers. After a short, fun video, the company then walks new users through a tutorial that proves value without being dull, according to Jackson Noel, co-founder and COO at Appcues.
“To make the tutorial delightful, each onboarding task tickles the user’s pleasure sense. Putting a hat on a monkey is amusing. Searching for your favorite food feels yummy. This tactic frames the new user’s first impression working with Canva as a fun positive and keeps them coming back for more.”– Jackson Noel
As someone who’s been an enthusiastic Canva user since I put my first hat on my first monkey, I can confirm that their fun onboarding process makes for loyal users.
Of course, if customers do slip through the cracks, there are a myriad of ways to bring them back from the brink. But it’s probably better for your business (as well as your sanity) to keep customers from churning by offering an onboarding process just as exciting as that first great sales pitch.