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Ask GH: What are some common onboarding mistakes that SaaS startups make?
This is all good stuff so far.
If I had to pick one thing that I run into with my clients time and again around on-boarding (where I spend the majority of my time), it's this:
The confuse "Functional On-boarding" with "Emotional Engagement."
Engagement requires functional on-boarding, but you don't necessarily get emotional engagement simply by completing the steps required to "use" the product.
And emotional engagement is what we need to change behaviors and make conversion the most logical step at the end of the trial.
This is in-line with everyone who said put the customer first... most on-boarding processes are built around the product, features, functionality.
Turn that on it's head... make it about the prospect, the user, the customer.
I ask my clients when we're getting started "what does a successful Free Trial look like to your customer?"
That's a question most people have never asked themselves.
That requires you to know your customer... A successful trial for you is "they convert" but that's not the right answer from the customer POV (even if it leads to conversion).
This thought process can be extrapolated out to any on-boarding experience, Free Trial or not.
I love this answer. Lately I've been considering what it would look like for companies to focus on customer success more than conversion success. Instead of thinking, "Hmmm...how can we make more money," they could think, "Hmmm...how can we make our customers more successful." My current hypothesis is that doing the latter will accomplish the former.
Hear, hear, @JaceBlaut. Complicated onboarding process is a common mistake. So is an oversimplified onboarding process, leaving the users feeling insecure with the software. A few others:
1. Concluding the tutorial without mention of further help or guidance tools – once you’re done with the tutorial, you’re on your own.
2. Not stressing the “Service” aspect of SaaS enough, creating some confusion about the ongoing process (as opposed to Product onboarding).
A few to start:
1) Always asking for a credit card for a new trial. In Lean Analytics Yoskovitz and Croll present some pretty compelling data to suggest that it could be hurting conversions.
2) Focus on conversion, but not customer success. Activating the customer and really understanding what the triggers are that turn a trial/new customer into a lasting customer is critical to long-term SaaS growth.
3) Always offering a freemium version of the product, which can cannibalize sales and create a high-support cost, non-monetizable customer base to service.
Migrating customer data/files/digital stuffsnthings/info into the app or platform is usually overlooked during the buying and onboarding process. Usually adds more time and money which definitely pisses users off after they have gone through your whole funnel.
1. Assuming new users want to invite friends/colleagues before they've even tried the product.
2. Forgetting about the empty state and not giving new users a next step.
3. Giving new users too many next step options.
@LeeMunroe - I love your first point (though your other two are awesome as well).
Social capital - especially in the B2B world where I work - is super valuable. Few will invest theirs inviting coworkers into your app until they're confident of a positive ROI.
I wrote about that as one of my 21 Growth Hacks to test here:
But one of the things I suggest doing - at the right time in the process - is not to ask them to upload their entire address book or connect to their social network, but to instead recommend that they invite a couple of others to help them test this product.
Maybe suggest the types of people to invite - Project Managers, Developers, etc. - if that makes sense.
I like to make the invite email sent to the invitees "from" the person inviting them (or at least the copy) vs. from the system.
If you can, I'd even put their picture in the email.
Too often you see "New User Added to App..." emails... bleh.
Write the message for the person doing the inviting but let them customize it... but make the default message one that a human might send to another human.
Then, after (or you could test before) they invite their colleagues, remind them to go tell their colleagues - in person, via chat, or on the phone - that you invited them and to look for the email.
It's the little things...
1) The biggest mistake IMHO is rushing to release your product without building tools to measure performance on your conversion funnel. Focus on maximizing your time-to-lesson instead of time-to-market.
2) Dropping the customer in an empty room. Don't just explain the product, but get them to use it before they're done with the on-boarding process. It's not just a tour of the features, it's a tutorial of the value.
3) Don't *just* look at metrics, but do live, uninterrupted user tests. Watch them wriggle, struggle, and maybe fail. This is especially important in the early days when n-values are low and metrics are unreliable.
Some of the most common and most obvious.
1. Onboarding process too complicated. Too many fields to fill in, to many drop-downs to chose, to many page reloads.
2. Forgetting about users who dropped off during the onboarding process and didn’t finish it.
3. Forcing people to login with social media accounts only. It should be the default option, but not the only one.
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