There is an innovation problem when it comes to onboarding.
Welcome emails, drip campaigns, in-app messages and other automated practices are the standard tools for SaaS onboarding. Everyone is using them and everyone is comfortable receiving them.
This isn’t inherently bad: automation is a necessity for scale and you can do some interesting stuff with these techniques. But familiarity breeds contempt and safe, standard onboarding is keeping many businesses insulated from their new users.
Customer onboarding is not a “one size fits all” process. To differentiate yourself from your competition and make a lasting connection to your customer, you have to get personal. Here are three easy ways to do it:
1. Identify your new user’s existing tools and environment
Your user will always know more about their problems and their workflow than you. They’ll know what value they want to get from your product and they’ll have their own standards that they expect you to meet. Figuring out who exactly your users are will improve your onboarding immeasurably and the easiest way to do this is with sweet, sweet data.
Tools like ClearBit provide dozens of data points (social profiles, job title, seniority, etc) that can get you started. BuiltWith is a great tool for identifying the existing systems that customers already use that may integrate with yours, or systems that you may be replacing. If you want to go an extra step, go through their LinkedIn to find out something unique about them.
Use this information to provide specific suggestions about how to use your product. Show them how it applies to them or their team and how they can easily integrate it into their workflow. With a little extra effort, you’ve just distinguished yourself from the vast majority of other companies.
2. Monitor how a new user initially interacts with your product
It's no secret that a lot of companies struggle to reduce churn. But like most problems, this challenge is also an opportunity. Make the most of the 24 hour window after a new user interacts with your product by reaching out to them with specific suggestions about how they can find the most value.
The team at HighRise does an amazing job of this. After a user signs up and has an opportunity to test the product, their customer support team follows up with a personal welcome message to give tips on next steps, like importing contacts or setting up workflows. Customers rave about the experience because it’s tailored exactly for them.
3. Put a face to your name
Automation in the onboarding process is necessary, especially as your product scales, but nothing is more personal than a real, face to face connection.
That’s why we send video messages to every one of our new signups (sometimes in a bear onesie). Video is a great way to put a face to your name, and can fit nicely alongside your current onboarding process.
For best results, combine this strategy with the two tips above. Refer specifically to the information that you’ve gathered about your user and their first interactions with your product. They’ll recognise that you are offering next level customer service.
I know what you’re thinking - “send a video to EVERY new user!? That would take so long!”. Well, you’re half right.
Recording a video message usually takes me 45 seconds to a minute. That’s less time than I spend on a personal email and the results are so much more impressive.
Have you ever had a user say “Wow that was the best thing I’ve ever seen!” in response to an automated email?
That’s exactly what the team at ConvertKit hear from their users on a weekly basis in response to the videos they send as part of their Brute Force Onboarding (it’s nicer than it sounds). They dedicate a couple of hours per day to send welcome videos directly to their sign ups’ email inboxes, where they share specific tips on how to get started and how to get the most value from ConvertKit. The result has been the lowest rate of churn they’ve ever experienced.
Check out this example from Matt Ragland at ConvertKit:
Onboarding is not a one size fits all approach and needs a level of personalization. Spend a little time getting to know your new users and reach out with some specific context. You’ll be rewarded with reduced churn, happier users and a whole lot of love from your customers.
If you fancy trying out video messaging in your onboarding, Bonjoro is the easiest way to do it. Take it for a spin with our free trial or find out what we learned when we sent a video message to every one of our customers.