All You Need To Know About SaaS Onboarding Audit in 2023

Usha Vadapalli
October 31, 2023

In the world of SaaS, onboarding isn't just about user experience; it's a direct line to your company's bottom line. Studies indicate that a whopping 86% of users are less inclined to churn when the onboarding process is educational and informative. If you are struggling with low product adoption and high churn rates, the solution becomes clear: a thorough overhaul of your onboarding experience is the key to revitalizing your customer base.

But, how to vibe check your entire onboarding process?

Simple! Sign up for your product and go through the onboarding experience yourself.

By evaluating the user experience through a critical lens, you can identify areas of improvement that can accelerate your growth.

Before you roll up your sleeves, be mindful of your ideal user personas. To build a tailored SaaS onboarding experience to meet the specific needs, preferences, and behaviors of different user segments, you want to review the onboarding process while putting yourself in the shoes of your ICP.

Here are some key sections you should consider when evaluating your onboarding process:

User Experience (UX):

  • Evaluate the intuitiveness of your sign-up screens and elements.
  • Check if there are help tips and instructions offered when stuck.
  • Rate the information available for clarity and ease of understanding to users.
  • Assess how easily users can move through the onboarding steps and find necessary information, in other words, ease of navigation.
  • Check if the signing up and onboarding process is seamless across different devices and screen sizes.
  • Evaluate how the system handles user errors during the onboarding process.

Onboarding Communication:

  • Assess the content and timing of emails and notifications sent to users during the onboarding process. For example, emails like ‘How to create your first …’ are not really relevant if the user has already done the activity in your product.
  • Review any in-app messages or pop-ups that guide users through the onboarding steps for clarity and relevance.
  • Rate if the onboarding personalization is limited to, addressing users by their name or extends to their product activity and firmographic data. For example, suggesting joining the user’s team if their business already has a workspace in the product.
  • Ensure the language is user-friendly, professional, and aligns with your brand identity.

User Guidance and Support:

  • Evaluate the availability and effectiveness of tutorials, guides, or tooltips that assist users in understanding features. Especially at junctures where the user is likely to reach out to support.
  • Check the accessibility and usefulness of your help center or knowledge base articles related to onboarding topics.
  • Assess the responsiveness and helpfulness of live chat support or customer service during the onboarding process.

User Feedback and Surveys:

  • Review any feedback forms or surveys presented to users during or after onboarding to gather user information and their opinions.
  • Take notes on the length of the forms and the time required to complete them.
  • Assess any communication post feedback submission. For example, if there is an acknowledgment or an action plan on certain suggestions the user shared.

Post-Onboarding Engagement:

  • Analyze how long it can take a novice user to get to the key features after onboarding and how easy or difficult it is to adapt those.
  • Assess the post-onboarding support for response time.

By thoroughly assessing these sections, you can identify strengths and weaknesses in your SaaS product's user onboarding process and make necessary improvements to enhance user satisfaction and product adoption.

Take this free test to assess your SaaS onboarding effectiveness.

Measuring Onboarding Success

You might come up with a laundry list of items you might want to improve in the product onboarding process. But, it is equally important to figure out which improvement can get you better results, faster.

Figure out what your onboarding goals are and what tangible metrics you can measure to analyze the current performance before suggesting improvements. Especially if multiple teams are responsible for onboarding success, start by defining onboarding. Coming up with a description of when a customer or user is considered to be onboarded is a great place to start streamlining your onboarding overhaul.

Here are some common onboarding metrics you can add to your audit checklist:

Conversion Rates

  • Visitor to Sign-up: The percentage of website visitors who sign up for your product.
  • Sign-up to Activation: The percentage of users who complete essential actions, indicating activation.

Drop-off Rates

  • Form Abandonment Rate: Percentage of users who start filling out a form but do not complete it.
  • Activation to First Key Interaction: Percentage of users who drop off after sign-up but before the first key interaction with the product.

Engagement Metrics

  • Feature Adoption: The rate at which users start using key features after onboarding.
  • Daily/Weekly Active Users (DAU/WAU): The number of users who engage with your product daily/weekly.
  • Session Duration: Average time users spend in a single session.

User Progression

  • Time to First Value (TTV): The time it takes for a user to experience the first value or benefit from the product.
  • Time to Aha Moment: The time it takes for a user to experience a significant, delightful moment with the product.
  • User Milestones: Tracking progress through key steps or milestones in the onboarding process.

Retention Metrics

  • Churn Rate: Percentage of users who stop using the product after a specific period.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): Predicted revenue a business can make from a customer throughout their entire relationship with the company.

Customer Satisfaction and Feedback

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Measures customer loyalty by asking how likely customers are to recommend your product to others.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES): Measures how much effort a customer has to exert to get an issue resolved or a need met.
  • Qualitative Feedback: Gathered through surveys, interviews, and support tickets to understand user sentiment and pain points.

Revenue Metrics

  • Conversion to Paid Customers: Percentage of free trial users or freemium users who convert to paying customers.
  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU): The average revenue generated per user, indicating the financial health of your user base.

Support and Interaction Metrics

  • Number of Support Tickets: Indicates user confusion or problems during onboarding.
  • Response and Resolution Time: Time taken to respond to and resolve user issues raised during onboarding.

Like an efficient process, audit your product’s onboarding periodically for better results.

Wes Bush, founder and CEO of ProductLed, lists out some critical questions you should ask yourself while auditing SaaS onboarding. Let’s explore how they can help you craft a better onboarding experience.

1. Does the first-run experience lead to a meaningful quick win?

Heard of first impressions? The first interaction a user has with your product is pivotal. It's essential to design the onboarding process in a way that leads to a specific, relevant, and meaningful quick win for the user. This positive experience right off the bat can set the tone for their entire journey with your product.

2. Is the workflow streamlined to humanly possible levels?

Simplicity is key. The more streamlined and intuitive your onboarding process, the more likely users are to engage with it. Complicated or convoluted workflows can lead to frustration and drop-offs. Ensuring that your onboarding steps are clear, concise, and easy to follow is crucial for user retention.

3. Is user time managed effectively to prevent “limbo” states?

Users should never feel stranded or stuck in a state of confusion while navigating your product. Effective onboarding manages users’ time efficiently, guiding them from one step to another seamlessly. Clear instructions, progress indicators, and prompt feedback can prevent users from feeling lost or unsure about their next actions.

4. Are tooltip tours leveraged to drive users to quick wins?

Tooltip tours can be immensely helpful for new users. These interactive guides can highlight essential features and functionalities, providing users with context and encouraging exploration. By strategically implementing tooltips, you can gently guide users toward discovering the value your product offers.

5. Are social and directional cues provided to encourage valued behaviors?

Humans are social beings, and we often look for cues from others to validate our actions. Incorporating social and directional cues within your onboarding process can guide users toward behaviors that are highly valued. This could be in the form of testimonials, user success stories, or subtle nudges indicating what other successful users have done.

6. Which key tasks are celebrated with a success state?

Acknowledging users' achievements is powerful. Just like Mailchimp’s high-five, celebrating users' completion of key tasks with a success state fosters a sense of accomplishment. This positive reinforcement strengthens the user’s connection with your product, making them more likely to continue engaging with it.

7. Are lifecycle emails positioned to drive meaningful outcomes?

Effective communication is essential throughout the user journey. Strategically timed lifecycle emails can guide users, provide valuable tips, and motivate them to achieve meaningful outcomes within your product. These emails can act as personalized guides, offering support and encouragement tailored to each user's progress and needs.

If you are bound to find ways to optimize your onboarding process for maximum impact, answering these questions will help you find your version of onboarding success.

Wrapping Up

By taking the time to evaluate your onboarding process through these lenses, you can uncover opportunities for improvement. Remember, the key is to put yourself in the user's shoes and experience the onboarding process firsthand. By doing so, you’ll gain valuable insights that can be used to enhance your free-to-paid conversion rate.

Dive into your own onboarding experience, ask these critical questions, and watch as your SaaS product transforms into a user-friendly, conversion-driven powerhouse. If you are thinking of revamping your onboarding, Inflection can help. Request a demo.

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