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Perfecting the Onboarding Experience to Minimize Churn

Customer onboarding is the process that takes place after purchase and comprises leading a new customer through a product/service, teaching them how to use it, and making your customer feel comfortable with it.

When done right, onboarding can help your company build relationships with your customer, minimize churn, and close more loyal customers.

A welcome mat

If you want to learn more about a good onboarding process and ways to improve yours, keep reading.

What Makes a Good Onboarding Process?

A successful onboarding process familiarizes your customers with your brand, easing them into your product/service, making them feel supported and helped. It can involve step-by-step tutorials, guidance, solid customer service, and regular emails that target what may be confusing to new users, etc.

For an onboarding process to be considered successful, you must ensure that your customers understand your product/service even if that means a little bit of hand-holding.

It should offer them something that benefits them, something that offers a certain value to them to keep using it and keep being your client.

But why is a good onboarding process so essential for a SaaS company?

Why Do SaaS Companies Need to Improve their Customer Onboarding Process?

An average SaaS company loses about 10% of its revenue to churn each year, making improving its customer onboarding process even more crucial.

Your customers want easy-to-use products that can solve complex problems. As a SaaS business, this is exactly what you need to offer.

A good customer onboarding process is essential to reduce your churn and make your new customers become loyal clients by assisting them through their customer journey, helping them figure out your service and what it offers to them, much quicker.

Here are a few benefits of having a good onboarding process.

1. More revenue

Acquiring a new customer can cost you up to 7 times more than retaining existing ones. Also, it can take double the effort to attract a new customer than keeping your existing customers, as returning customers already trust your brand and products/services, and will need less marketing effort from you.

Properly onboarded customers are more likely to stay and sustain your revenues.

2. Reduce customer service costs

Customer service might be the core of customer onboarding. But it goes beyond that.

A successful onboarding will ensure that your customers will have a seamless transition from just knowing about your product/service to knowing how to use it.

You don’t want customers constantly calling your customer service and getting frustrated when they have problems about how your product/service works.

It visibly reduces the costs of the customer support department while improving overall efficiency.

If your customers don’t feel the need to contact your customer support service, naturally you won’t need to invest in it as much. 

3. Minimize churn

As I mentioned before, a good customer onboarding will convince more of your customers to stay with you, reducing your churn, and making them a valuable asset to your company.

For example, a successfully onboarded customer is less likely to get lost in the features and interface of your product/service and will use it more effectively, making them more likely to stay with you.

How Does Customer Onboarding Affect Customer Loyalty?

A study revealed that most companies lose up to 75% of their new users within the first week. This is caused by leaving customers to their own accord after the purchase, while they were still trying to figure out the product/service.

If a customer feels lost after their purchase and can not figure out how to utilize your product/service, or doesn’t see solutions offered to the problems they may come across, they are not very likely to keep purchasing from you.

An effective onboarding process leads to a better customer experience, as they feel guided and supported, thanks to your successful efforts. And keeping your customers satisfied means they are more likely to stick around, keep using your product/service, and become crucial parts of the expansion of your business.

Hockeystack marketing expansion journey dashboard from live demo
Screenshot from live demo

Steps to Improve the Onboarding Process

Now that you know the benefits of having an effective customer onboarding process, let’s take a look at some steps you should take to improve your onboarding process

1. Reduce friction during sign-up

Ask only as much information as you need to get your customers up and running. If the information you ask for doesn’t have an impact on the users’ first experience with your product/service, they might feel frustrated and drop off.

You can wait to get more of their personal details such as job title or industry until after they have gone through at least a part of your onboarding process.  

2. Figure out your ideal customer profile 

Doing a fair amount of research on your target audience and ideal customer profile is imperative. This will help you better understand your customer to make your onboarding program better.

Begin by collecting and analyzing data with the help of a tool like Hockeystack, in which you can see all your data in one place, and create all kinds of dashboards in minutes.

Find out their pain points, struggles, and challenges they are facing. Research and find out who are your best customers, analyze customer feedback, and define important customer characteristics like location, age range, budget, etc.

This way you can have a better understanding of your audience and target your efforts toward these groups, making you able to offer a more personalized onboarding experience.

3. Clarify what to expect

Your customers should know what your product/service offers and what to expect before making a purchase.

Lay out the functions and abilities of your product/service in your marketing campaigns.

Offering more than what you can provide can leave your customers disappointed.

4. Demonstrate the value of your product

You’ve already told your customers what your product can do.

Now, it’s time to show them. 

Demonstrating how your tool will address their problems and how your customers will benefit from it will help you convince them of your product’s value much quicker. You can also include detailed training or offer documents that you think will be valuable.

The better your product can show customers how to solve their problems, the more they will want to use your product. When you demonstrate quick wins to your customers, it will create a momentum that makes your clients feel like your product/service is easy-to-use.

5. Keep it simple

Reducing the time it takes for a customer to complete their onboarding journey by making it easier and simpler will have an important effect on customer satisfaction. 

Keep your guides and tutorials short and clear. You shouldn’t try to explain everything your product/service can do all in one step, or you risk confusing and overwhelming your client.

One way to do this is by starting your onboarding process by demonstrating the core features and explaining how they work. If your product/service is complex, try to create an onboarding process for each section of your product and remember to keep it brief.

6. Maintain communication with your customers

Make sure to remain in touch with your customers after you have familiarized them with your product/service.

An illustration of a person with headsets with a microphone

You can use emails to send them guides, tutorials, software upgrades, and other information that you think will be necessary for them – especially when they’ve just started using your product.

You can also use built-in tutorials and user interface tours in your product/service to ease them into using it more efficiently.

Check your analytics often to keep your churn rate in check. Reach your customers, send them surveys with the help of an easy-to-use tool like Hockeystack to check your analytics and create and conduct surveys easily.

Hockeystack churn rate dashboard from live demo
Screenshot from live demo

Review your data, then turn your findings into improvements in your onboarding process.

7. Offer a more personalized onboarding process

Let your product/service be more customer-centric. Allow your customers to define their goals, and help them learn the features of your product/service they need most.

Personalization increases the users’ engagement with your product/service. All of your customers will not be using your product the same way or for the same purposes. So offer different paths where you ask customers what they need so you can direct them to a tutorial that targets their needs.

For example, you could ask your customers to fill out a form while welcoming them to better target their needs. Then show them a tour of your product/service that hones on features that aligns with what they indicated they need.

8. Measure your success

Track key metrics, and measure customer satisfaction through surveys and other means with the help of a tool like Hockeystack to review all your sales, product, and marketing data unfragmented, and in one place, with its easy-to-use user interface. 

A good customer onboarding is not a one-off process. It needs to keep evolving in order to meet the changing needs of your customers. It is basically a process that you will need to give the necessary attention and care to. Do the necessary improvements and watch your onboarding process return your business, a higher revenue, and loyal, paying customers.


Why is customer onboarding so important?

A good customer onboarding process is important because it increases activation, conversion, and retention while eliminating churn.

Is onboarding part of customer success?

Customer onboarding is one of the most essential customer success processes to apply to your business plan.

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