5 Things You Didn’t Consider in Your User Onboarding Process

5 Things You Didn't Consider In Your User Onboarding Process

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User onboarding.

It’s both a powerful and terrifying concept that if you don’t get it right the first time, you have little chance of getting right again.

Want to know the best part?

When your customers are successfully on board the first time, they continue to use your SaaS product after that. With up to 90% of apps only used once, investing time and research into making your user onboarding experience the best can help you impress users.

Many things could be responsible for this according to TechCrunch, as seen in the chart below. From a slow load time to just not being what the user expects, apps need to be user friendly today more than ever.

Mobile Friendly User Onboarding


Getting great conversion numbers isn’t about having the best product or even about marketing your product to a specific set of users.

Conversions are about letting your customer realize your product’s value and full potential in that first trial run. Because if they don’t realize how beneficial your product is the first time, statistics show they won’t try for a second time.

But how to make it right?

Entrepreneurs need to consider all angles of their product and its potential beneficiaries when it comes to SaaS.

It’s likely you didn’t consider these five things in your new client onboarding process. Never fear—with a little more work and some solid solutions, you have the power to get your customer onboarding best practices right the first time and therefore make your SaaS more successful!

Why Is User Onboarding So Important?

So you got your user to signup and download your app. Congratulations!  The real work has just begun.


-Not every user will want to be shown around via your tutorial process.

-Your SaaS product needs to be intuitive with easy signups. A social login can help. For example, Dropbox features a Google sign in, therefore allowing the user to bypass making a new account.

User Onboarding Through Social Logins


-The moment when your user realizes your product’s value is crucial and should be orchestrated.

These are just a few ideas that a successful onboarding process forces you to consider and digest. The first experience of your user can either make your app successful or cause it to be largely forgotten.

What does this mean?

That you’ll need to properly plan and research your user onboarding process long before your actual users have a chance to test it out. Here are the five things you didn’t consider while designing your user onboarding process.

The 5 Things You Didn’t Consider in Your User Onboarding Process

1. Simplicity is underrated.

Complicated and overwhelming experiences the first time can lead to a customer bouncing from your product and not returning, as happens with many SaaS products.

Simple User Onboarding


To sign up to Insight Squared, customers are required to provide several types of information. While not overly complicated, customers may not take the time to fill out the free trial form. Keep things simple: a name, an email; or better yet, a social login such as Google or Facebook.

What’s the bottom line here?

Users value simplicity. Keep your sign-up process as simple as possible while still conveying the necessary information for user success during the first trial.

2. The customer’s measure of success and desired outcome.

Understanding your customers and what they need from you to value your product and keep using it is paramount in reaching your desired outcome.

Having a customer convert from a free trial to a paid subscription means you were successful. However, success for your users means achieving their desired outcome with your product.

What their desired outcome is depends on your customer’s business. Does your SaaS product solve problems your customers didn’t even know they had? Take a look at SalesForce:

Customer's Measure Of Success


SalesForce incorporates a busy page with many options for users. Is this something that customers immediately see the value in? Knowing what your customers need and delivering on it with a simple onboarding process is the key.

Measure your customer’s success through their business outcomes, know what’s important to them, and let their success be your success.

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3. The importance of initial success.

Customers don’t have time to be trying to figure out your product if it doesn’t work the first time. The importance of the initial success they achieve when using your product is paramount.

Many SaaS products don’t make initial success easy.

Initial Customer Success


Consider Glance’s homepage. Finding that “wow” moment when your customer realizes your value isn’t easy here. Do customer’s click “TRY/BUY NOW!” (what is it, by the way?), or do they sign up for the free eBook by entering in information they’d likely prefer to keep private, such as their phone number?

When your customers can’t initially achieve success, they leave. Yes, anywhere from 40-90% of them will leave and never open your SaaS product again.

4. How the planning process should work.

Before you even consider developing your product, you should fully research your customers, their needs, and their success. This will lay the foundation for your product development.

Sometimes the simplest steps are the best. Like asking your potential customers why they would sign up for your product, or conducting surveys. Or watching someone go through the tutorial on your product.

How do they use it? What are the actions they take most? These examples and other customer success metrics will help you measure your customer’s success as well as your own to reduce SaaS churn.

Take for example Slack, a teamwork tool that grew from 8,000 companies using it to having over 800,000 paying users today. And they’re continuing to grow! They had friends try out their software to determine what needed to change in order to be successful. Today they are one of the most successful SaaS products in the market.

Growing User Onboard


Consider Slack’s user growth over the years according to this chart. Measuring your customer’s success starts with simple trials and tutorials, but grows with your users.

5. You see the value—but do your customers?

Conveying value isn’t about marketing, it’s about the success and value users are able to see in your product. It doesn’t matter if you have the greatest product in the world—if your customer can’t see the value, you need to improve the design of your user onboarding process.

Creating that “aha” moment isn’t easy, but by considering the former four points, you can gain insight into how best to show your customers what you have to offer them.

When the Clear app first came out, it was ridiculed for having a seven-step introduction setup before a user could even access the app. Where’s the value in that? Long tutorials do not make for easy “aha” moments.

See The Value in User Onboarding Process


This example shows just how complicated the onboarding process initially was for Clear. When it takes seven different screens for your customer to understand your product’s value, many customers will not have the time to go through this process and will then leave.

The 5 Solutions When Designing Your User Onboarding Process

Considering your customer’s success and ease of use is paramount before, during, and after developing a product. Thorough testing and looking at examples of some companies that incorporate user onboarding best practices are both good ideas.

How can you ensure you consider the five things mentioned above?

1. Make your user onboarding process simple.

Clearly outline the benefits, construct an “aha” moment where your customers realize the value of your product, and keep your questions minimal. By constructing an easy-to-use yet sophisticated SaaS product, you can ensure success and welcome bigger conversion numbers.

Zendesk’s user experience is simple and provides only one option for signing up—a button that takes you to an easy sign up screen that requires minimal information and includes the option to log in with Google.

Clear And Simple User Onboarding


Not only do they keep their signup page simple and clean, but they also allow you to sign up with Google. This means your user won’t have to create a separate account to use your product.

Signup Through Social Login


Why is this important?

Because every time a user has to retrieve their information when they forget their login information, they tend to not return. In fact, 92% of them will leave instead of trying to regain that information.

Simplicity keeps your user focused and aware, therefore further leading to the moment when they realize your product’s full potential.

2. Know what your audience values.

Research your customers and their business. What are their greatest challenges? Many customers are tired of SaaS products that are complex or difficult to use. However, they don’t have another solution available to them that meets all their needs and solve all their problems.

Take Slack for example. They have constructed a simple way to show their customers the value of their product. They understand that their audience is looking for a cleaner, more efficient communication system.

Even their help system is easy and hassle-free.

Know What Your Audience Values


3. Ensure that the first time is the best time for your customers.

Conversions won’t happen if the first use by your customers isn’t the best. Look at what processes you can incorporate to make your user’s experience easy and efficient. That first impression is what will make the conversion, not the time they spend on your app or service after that.

First Time Is The Best Time For Your Customers


Consider Apple Music. A three-month free trial and two easy buttons that let you navigate the system yourself or watch guided tours. Easy. Efficient. Success the first time.

4. Think before you develop.

Have a process outlined. Incorporate a new customer onboarding checklist. Planning and preparedness are better generators of success, even more so than your SaaS idea.

Think Before You Develop


Contact your customers. Watch someone navigate your product, or better yet, have them explain their thought process to you. Remember that failure of a product the first time can help ensure your success the second time.

5. Guide, but don’t hold their hand.

Guide your customers in their first visit to see the value in your product, but don’t overwhelm them. If they don’t see or understand the value, they will not convert. This is where testing should be done—don’t be afraid to test yourself. This is all part of the process!

Guide Your Users Onboard


In Fantastical 2 for iPhone, this product allows users to learn by doing, which is what many mobile users desire in SaaS solutions. It allows them to engage with your product. This app is easy to use and takes a minimal amount of time to show the user how easy and accessible this app is.


Success with your SaaS product doesn’t happen by chance. Organizing and planning a service that delivers on your customer’s needs and defining your achievement requires deep insight into the needs of those who will be using your product, as well as insight into the SaaS product industry.

Many SaaS products get downloaded once and never opened again. Note these 5 things you didn’t consider in your user onboarding process to ensure your SaaS startup company is just as successful as its users will be!

What did you find helpful during your customer onboarding process? Let me know!

(Note: Join my Free Newsletter to get my weekly tips on Business Growth, Marketing, Technology and overcoming the challenges faced by me and other fellow entrepreneurs…Join Free Newsletter Now.)


8 Responses

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