As a SaaS provider, you
know the importance of ensuring customer success. If your SaaS doesn’t provide
measurable value quickly, customers will cancel and look elsewhere for a
solution. Ever-increasing competition and a monthly subscription revenue model
make cancellation a simpler option, so SaaS providers have to sell their
benefits continuously to ensure customer satisfaction. The first 90 days of a
customer relationship are crucial for optimizing use, adoption, and derived
value from a SaaS service.
Think about the investment it takes to earn one new customer. Moving from contact to prospect to qualified opportunity and finally to the customer takes time and money. SaaS businesses recoup this investment over time, and it often takes beyond 90 days to do so. This period, however, is also when most SaaS customer churn occurs. The risk is not just losing a customer but also netting zero return on investment.
Onboarding is the key
to customer success
To reduce churn rate,
SaaS providers have to build a customer onboarding process that encompasses
everything from gaining insight into customer goals to ensuring a high adoption
rate. While this onboarding process cannot occur overnight — rushed onboarding
increases the risk of low usage — it is important to find small wins for a
customer that show the present and future value that a product holds.
Here is a breakdown of
the first 90 days of onboarding, with goals at each stage:
First 30 Days
At this stage, your
customer is new and likely has high hopes for your SaaS. During this time, it
is crucial to collect and verify customer data to ensure that the product is a
good fit and that onboarding is aligned with customer goals. It’s also
essential to provide a quick win for your customer, to encourage continued productive
use of your SaaS.
Your onboarding efforts
during this first 30-day period should include a series of onboarding-focused
communication, either email or messages through your app. This communication is
vital because it creates the first steps of a customer’s path. It also can
alert new users of areas where other customers have found success or struggles.
activities during this first month include:
- Starting basic segmentation. Know where your
customer is coming from, and the desired amount of contact needed or
- Delivering continuous value. Educate customers on
ways that your solution can help them quickly. Go for that low hanging fruit
and demonstrate the value of your product early on and often.
- Setting up usage metrics. Use is key to customer
success, but not every SaaS product needs to be constantly used to create
value. Find that optimal amount of usage and measure it on an ongoing basis.
- Establishing a method of directly monitoring
customer sentiment. Surveys, Net Promoter Score, and follow-up emails help know
your customer’s opinion on your product.
Next 30 Days
Ensuring customer success during the first month is a tall order. You may lack the necessary customer data and feedback to steer them in the right direction. During the second month of the customer relationship, SaaS companies can use the data obtained during the initial onboarding to put a plan into action that leads to customer success.
A key component of
onboarding is customer segmentation — the process of putting customers or users
into different buckets. It is not absolutely necessary to fully tailor
onboarding for each individual customer, but a system of segmentation allows
you to direct support and onboarding resources efficiently.
Segmentation can be
based on factors such as:
- Company size. Larger customers may have more complex onboarding needs, and smaller ones may require more handholding.
- Industry. Understanding the customer’s industry helps drive success, especially when looking at other customer success stories.
- User role. Onboarding for different users may require different tactics to ensure continued value.
- The customer desired “touch level.” Some customers want to explore the products on their own, and others want training and education.
In addition to using the
data collected in the sales period and the first month as a customer,
businesses should use this second month as a time to continue to deliver value
and also begin documenting customer outcomes.
Concluding 30 Days
By now, your customer relationship has begun to uncover truly valuable insights, assuming your customer has been using your SaaS, and you’ve been providing the right onboarding experience for the customer. This last 30-day period is crucial because It is also the stage where most churn occurs. Churn at this stage can result from several things, including the misalignment of marketing and customer needs, and poor onboarding experience during the first two months. 12
By this period, you
should have established dashboards to provide customer transparency. Use the
KPIs produced from customer use to ensure an appropriate level of adoption.
Insight into your customer journey can be facilitated with a customer success
solution, such as
dashboards provide comprehensive views of customers, allow for easy touchpoint
management, so your segments are treated appropriately, and enable automation
of tasks, alerts, and actions. With these tools, onboarding becomes seamless
SmartKarrot also enables SaaS providers to
calculate customer health scores quickly. These scores combine crucial data
from multiple systems and touchpoints, reflecting use, and customer derived
value. SmartKarrot not only provides a platform for effective SaaS onboarding,
but it also continues along the customer journey to ensure customers are on the
right path to success.
Rohan has over 11 years of experience in client services, marketing and hospitality field. Previously, he was head of digital marketing for a hi-tech mobile application. Rohan is driven by new challenges and the possibility of making an impact on individuals and businesses.
Published February 01, 2020, Updated February 01, 2020