How to Reduce Customer Onboarding Time By Shortening TTV
Learning to reduce customer onboarding time will impact your business in no small way. Your new users will experience the product quickly, and your adoption and retention rates will go up.
But what exactly is an onboarding time, and how do you improve it for your SaaS? This article answers your questions. Read on to find 15 strategies to shorten time to value (TTV) and delight customers.
- The customer onboarding time is the amount of time it takes SaaS companies to educate and turn new users into regular customers. This can be anything from a few minutes to several weeks, depending on product complexity.
- Reducing customer onboarding time helps to increase conversion and increase customer retention.
15 Strategies to reduce customer onboarding time:
- Adopt a continuous onboarding approach instead of overwhelming users all at once
- Offer SSO options to simplify the signup flow
- Use welcome screens to understand customer expectations and deliver accordingly
- Drive customer success with a personalized onboarding process
- Populate empty states with clear CTAs to prompt action
- Pair your in-app marketing with onboarding emails to accelerate activation
- Drive users toward key actions using onboarding checklists
- Replace product tours with interactive walkthroughs to reduce time to value
- Drive users to discover and engage with key features using tooltips
- Leverage webinars to drive the adoption of certain features
- Offer self-serve support for a better customer onboarding experience
- Use micro-videos to increase customer engagement and help users learn faster
- Understand and replicate power users’ behavior for the new customer onboarding process
- Collect customer feedback and act on it to improve user experience
- Identify friction points in the customer journey and fix them
- Userpilot is a powerful product adoption tool that can help you track customer behavior, set onboarding goals, and design engaging in-app flows. Book a demo to try it out.
What is customer onboarding time?
The customer onboarding time is the amount of time it takes SaaS companies to educate and turn new users into regular customers. This can be anything from a few minutes to several weeks, depending on product complexity.
On the other hand, onboarding time goes beyond the time to value to include users exploring all the core and key features of a product.
Why is reducing customer onboarding time important?
Your customers come to the tool hoping it can solve their problems. Quick onboarding cuts to the chase and shows customers they didn’t make a mistake choosing you.
The two primary benefits:
- Increased conversions: Customers will start seeing value after a few clicks, motivating them to continue exploring your product. The more they do this and discover features suitable to their JTBD, the more likely customers will convert into paid or higher-tier users.
- Prevent churn: Customers are impatient, especially in the initial phases of their journey. A long onboarding process can make your product appear difficult and as a result, users may abandon your product and move to the next tool. Optimizing the onboarding length and removing unnecessary friction will ensure users your product is easy to use.
15 Strategies to reduce customer onboarding time
Now let’s look at some strategies to reduce time to value and create an effective onboarding process.
Adopt a continuous onboarding approach instead of overwhelming users all at once
Companies make this onboarding mistake all the time—they try to educate customers at once and get it over with. That approach is fine if you run a simple app that customers can learn to use in minutes. But it’s impractical for most B2B SaaS products.
SaaS onboarding isn’t a one-time event where you dump all the product-related info on users. Break it into stages—primary, secondary, and tertiary onboarding, each stage serving a different purpose.
Adopting a continuous onboarding process gives you structure. It enables you to plan the content and goals for each stage and align them to the customer journey. The result is improved customer experience and less overwhelmed customers. You’ll also find it easier to track onboarding analytics.
Simplify the sign-up flow with SSO options
Adding SSO options is a powerful way to keep your sign-up flow simple. Single Sign-On (SSO) lets users sign up to multiple platforms with the same login credential.
Implementing it helps your customers register with ease, saving them time and energy they can use on more important onboarding steps.
Understand what value means to customers with welcome screens
Don’t treat users as a generic bunch that comes to your product for the same purpose.
Everyone has slightly different reasons for signing up, so it’s important to collect customer data and understand their expectations.
Then you can use this information to create the shortest path to success for their specific use case.
Drive customer success with a personalized onboarding process
This strategy builds on the previous point.
Having understood your customers’ expectations and JTBD, begin your onboarding by introducing only parts of the product that are relevant to the user. Streamline the steps as much as possible so customers don’t feel overwhelmed.
Prompt users to take action by adding CTAs in empty states
Users will see empty states in your app when they’re yet to add/import their data when they experience an error, or after running a search that turns up with no results.
An empty state can make new users freeze and contribute to delayed activation. But you can turn the table around by adding a prompt using tooltips or other in-app messages to drive engagement to relevant features:
Educate users and accelerate the activation process with onboarding emails
Combined with in-app messaging, onboarding emails can reduce customer onboarding time and help users adopt your product fast.
However, your emails can have incredibly low open rates if sent too frequently or, worse, at the wrong times in the user journey.
A way around this is to send your email sequence based on user behavior and make each contain info relevant to the task/part of the product the user is engaged with.
For example, you could trigger an email to encourage users that have spent days without progressing beyond a specific onboarding milestone. Enrich the email with an actionable CTA and other helpful links.
Drive users toward key actions using onboarding checklists
Checklists eliminate friction and ensure users know the path to take to experience value. It’s much better than leaving customers to learn by trial and error.
Here are three best tips for designing checklists that reduce the onboarding time:
- Customize the checklist for each user segment with relevant tasks and features.
- Create a checklist with only 1-4 activation points. Making them too long can reduce completion rates.
- Use a simple microcopy. You could also add progress bars to gamify the experience and improve completion rates.
Replace product tours with interactive walkthroughs to reduce time to value
Traditional product tours don’t actually teach users anything. They only showcase your features and load users with information—customers will have to go back and forth to gain actual value.
But interactive walkthroughs are not like that. This bite-sized information engages users and helps them learn by doing. Customers can’t move to the next feature until they’ve interacted with the current one, thus facilitating fast learning and reducing adoption time.
Drive key feature discovery and adoption with tooltips
One important thing to keep in mind when it comes to tooltips is to not bombard users with multiple tooltips at once and focus on one tip for each box.
Use webinars to drive the adoption of certain features
Dig into your product analytics and identify core features that users have interacted with but are yet to adopt. Then host a webinar that explains the importance of these features and how to adopt them.
Your primary audience for this webinar is the user groups that haven’t adopted the feature(s) in question, so trigger contextual invites to pull them in.
Offer self-serve support for a better customer onboarding experience
Robust self-serve support will reduce customer onboarding time because customers have something to visit when stranded.
Rather than wait to contact customer support and go through back-and-forth interactions to reach a resolution, they’ll simply go through your self-serve support on demand.
There are multiple ways to automate customer service, but you can start with an in-app knowledge base. Structure the content properly and include a search bar so customers can easily find information.
Use micro-videos to increase customer engagement and help users learn faster
Videos require less cognitive load and explain complex things in a more straightforward way. This makes it easy for users to follow instructions and replicate the actions they see.
Understand and replicate power users’ behavior for the new customer onboarding process
Power users are your best and most loyal customers. They’ve adopted your tool and regularly engage with it. In many cases, you’ve retained these users for a long, and they’ve upgraded to higher versions of your tool.
Go back and analyze their onboarding experiences. Understand the paths they took, the features they first used, the ones they interact most with, etc. Dig out every nuance and try to replicate the same behavior on your new users.
Improve customer experience by collecting and acting on user feedback
Customer feedback lets you measure the effectiveness of your onboarding process, get valuable insights from users and improve your onboarding accordingly.
To get a comprehensive understanding of the customer experience, you should collect both quantitative and qualitative feedback
Identify friction points in the customer journey and fix them
Employ user behavior analytics to analyze customer in-app activities. Observe behavior patterns and customer needs at different onboarding points.
This data will also show you customer drop-offs, and you can dig further to understand why, then decide on the best in-app flows you can use to fix them.
For example, you might notice increased drop-offs when users interact with a specific feature. By checking further using screen recordings, user interviews, and other methods, you could see it’s because the guide you provided wasn’t clear enough.
The role of new user onboarding is critical in driving product growth. A good primary onboarding flow should be personalized and concise, and help users experience value as fast as possible.
Userpilot can help. Our platform lets you track customer behavior, set onboarding goals, and design engaging in-app flows. Get a demo to see how we can help you reduce customer onboarding time with our help.