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SaaS: What is a great product onboarding process?

Product onboarding is an important part of the process known as “Product Adoption.” In simple terms, product onboarding focuses on introducing the product or service to the users or customers. It enables your customers to learn about the features of the product and develop their first impression regarding it.

product onboarding process

Product adoption, on the other hand, focuses on implementing, integrating, and utilizing the product in the day-to-day life of customers. Product adoption emphasizes support and training as well.

It is important to understand the basic idea of product onboarding and adoption process. It is because they are necessary for your business – especially when you are looking to improve the process of onboarding.

Today, the business world is rapidly fitting in the digital work environment. Those businesses or companies, which are indolent to adopt new technology will lose productivity and eventually go bankrupt. So, the adoption of the latest technology holds significant value.

Software developers including SaaS providers show concern about product onboarding. Therefore, continuous efforts are being made to increase the product’s “Return on Investment” (ROI) – and this is why an effective onboarding process requires product onboarding and adoption strategies.

In today’s article, we are going to talk about product onboarding practices. Read on!

The Significance of Product Onboarding

Product onboarding involves both business processes and functions. They are pre-adoption communications including marketing and sales communication, technical and customer support practices, as well as product training – which helps your employees and your customers understand what the product is about and how it is beneficial for them.

When you want to optimize the process of onboarding, you must focus on the profitability of the product. It must be your top concern to make productive investments. For example, if you are running a new business and implementing a new SaaS platform, you must focus on a few important things, which are:

  • Increased employees’ productivity.
  • Simplify and streamline the product onboarding and customer onboarding experience.
  • Strategies to reduce frustration and burnout
  • Fast and effective skill level recognition and improvement
  • Increasing Return on Investment “ROI” for the product

If you have an inadequate onboarding process, it will lead to frustration and your customers might not be attracted to your product. Attracting new customers for your product is out of the question in this regard.

Your product onboarding experience via SaaS influences specific metrics including customer engagement, retention, productivity, longevity, and levels of professionalism along with product’s profitability.

So, product onboarding is vital and valuable in the overall product adoption process. This has a considerable impact on your business in terms of technology or product such as SaaS.

The difference between the product and customer onboarding

Although both product and customer onboarding are important for your business, it is important to differentiate between these two concepts so that there is a clearly defined strategy for your business.

Once you can find key differences between the product onboarding and user or customer onboarding, you won’t only improve your product’s efficiency but also increase your business productivity. This also gives you valuable insights to change or make alternations in your strategy for future product adoption.

The key difference is all about the model, strategy, and framework for product and customer onboarding. As the name indicates, customer onboarding focuses on customers and their experience. In contrast, product onboarding is an adoption process focusing on the product experience.

Likewise, product onboarding also involves the important process of the employee life cycle, which allows them to understand product onboarding and how they can get the most out of it. Product onboarding also involves digital onboarding such as the development of relevant content for marketing and advertising purposes.

To understand product onboarding, you have to grasp essential knowledge about customer onboarding, digital onboarding, and employee onboarding. This is useful for your business operations and for improving your product’s profitability.

In addition, it is important to establish key strategies for your employees and users so that they can adopt new digital technology – for instance, SaaS. Product and customer onboarding processes are also different because they have varying audiences. As a product creator or developer, you will focus on the design, experience, and adoption of the product.

Product Onboarding Practices – why you should focus on the design?

For successful product onboarding, it is important to focus on a few design aspects. These include simplicity, usability, utility, and usefulness. Your product design must not be complex because it won’t keep your employees and customers engaged.

On the other hand, a simple product design allows for decreased mental efforts and support your employees and customers to achieve the company’s goals effortlessly.

When it comes to the design of the product, you should also focus on usability, which means finding out whether or not the product is easy-to-use and does it benefit your customers.

Similarly, usability won’t only decrease frustration but also increase customer engagement. Another important component of product design in the onboarding process is utility, which means functionality – allowing your customers to understand what the product is about and can it fulfill their particular needs.

product onboarding process

According to Jakob Nielson from the Neilson Norman Group, if you have a good usability and utility strategy designed for your product, it will lead to the usefulness of the company’s product.

In simple terms, your product must be easy-to-use and relevant to the customer’s needs and/or requirements. This way, you can attract new customers because the rule of thumb is that when customers are satisfied – they do word-of-mouth marketing for you.

You must also focus on the design, training, support, and customer experience of the product. All of these factors play a vital role in the product onboarding process. If you want to enhance the product onboarding experience, you need carefully analyze the product features and emphasize your customer’s journey with it. If both go hand-in-hand, you are on the right path to achieve your goals.

How to make the product onboarding more engaging?

Product onboarding is not an overnight job. This requires careful planning and expert personnel. For instance, if you are running a medium or large enterprise, you will need directors, specialists, and managers.

On the other hand, if you are running a small company or SME, you should employ IT specialists and cross-functional teams including human resources to outline strategies that would lead to successful product onboarding.

Moreover, if you are developing SaaS products, for example, you need onboarding experts who will outline strategies for customer engagement, reduction of churn, and retention.

If you opt to adopt SaaS platforms, it is important to hire specialists with many years of experience in employee onboarding. Not only will they employ sophisticated strategies but also carry out product onboarding and training.

Product Onboarding Practices – What are Challenges?

Improved customer experience, enhanced productivity, and better future engagement is some of the advantages of product onboarding. However, there are certain challenges that many companies come across. Simply put, product onboarding requires you to overcome a few challenges. Let’s talk about them. Continue reading!

When it comes to SaaS product onboarding, the first challenge you may face is about the “learning curves.” Onboarding requires learnability because every SaaS software solution has a specific learning curve.

Therefore, product design, training, and support all affect this important aspect. In this sense, you must carefully make plans and remain engaged with the product onboarding outline to improve and optimize learnability over time.  

Again, the key is to focus on the design of the product. If your product is not interesting or if it does not appeal to your customers, you will face the challenge of disengagement, which can cause many issues – including customer churns and low productivity.

Training is another important aspect of product onboarding. If you fail to provide adequate training, this can lead to ineffective product design, inappropriate support to customers, and eventually the poor customer experience.

All of the above challenges eventually cause burnout and abandonment. For instance, when your customers abandon your product, there is a higher probability that they won’t be engaged and come again to buy your product.

What are the best product onboarding practices?

In this section, we will tell you some useful product onboarding practices. Continue reading!

Establish a structure onboarding process

If you are running a medium or large enterprise and looking to develop a new product, the first step is to properly structure the product onboarding process for a higher “Return on Investment” (ROI). In this regard, you have to show commitment and dedication by deciding to implement a structured product onboarding process.

To do this, you need to demonstrate the value of the process and obtain executive sponsorship. Another important thing is to develop proposals, strategies, and plans. In case you have a formal product onboarding process already implemented, then you simply skip the step of structuring the onboarding process.

Make Data-Driven Informed Decisions

The product onboarding process entails analysis of data for your business. If you have proper tools and techniques employed for data and analytics, you would be able to offer insights that would help your company in the development of a successful onboarding process.

In this sense, key performance indicators “KPIs” and other metrics allow for determining the value of onboarding, tracking progress, recognizing pros and cons, insights on what requires further improvement, and how to keep customers engaged.

When it comes to making informed decisions, you must focus on data and information that show you customer behavior, sentiment, performance, and engagement.

Customer metrics including productivity, engagement, and proficiency play a key role in the product onboarding process. Therefore, you must comprehend all these metrics so that you know how your customers are interacting with your product.

Analysis of data also allows you to develop insights that help in the product design. For instance, customer or user testing – which is the earlier stage of the product design – can help you understand the basic design of the product.

Remember, this is a continuous strategy – for instance, the more customers are onboard, the more data you have to analyze and work with. This also helps in improving product design and development in the future.

Moreover, it is important to focus on improving and optimizing the onboarding funnel. You can use data to update and improve product onboarding – but for this, the approach must be data-driven and customer-oriented. Note: product and customer onboarding go hand-in-hand.

To achieve optimal results and outcomes, you as a business leader must ask your managers to gather and analyze product onboarding data regularly. This way, your managers can make changes if required. Simply put, this is an ongoing process. You can rely on different data sources such as training data, customer feedback including polls and surveys (questionnaires), as well as software analytics.

Furthermore, both technical and customer service calls will help you comprehend the requirements, needs, and concerns of customers about your product. Knowing this, you can make data-driven and informed decisions.

Create Customers Oriented Strategy

When we talk about the business strategy, you must know that digital transformation is not only based on employing the latest and relevant technology tools – it is also about delivering value to your customers.

So, your product onboarding strategy must be customer-oriented. After all, your customers and their needs are the trigger points behind your product’s success. A customer-oriented strategy is an important component of your business model and product onboarding process.

It requires your company to focus on the varying demands, needs, and concerns of your customers. Likewise, this should be your company’s philosophy to meet the needs, demands, and/or requirements of your customers. This should also be your management and employees’ priority.

Emphasize on Agile Environment/Approach

No matter what area of your business you want to improve, being agile and encouraging agile approaches are the key to cusses. As with many customer-oriented processes, you must make onboarding programs with a focus on users.

It is important to note that with time, the needs of your customers will change – so, you must bring changes in your product, product adoption, and onboarding strategy according to their demands and needs. Otherwise, product onboarding can lead to failure.

Your product onboarding process should readily adopt changes. The process must also be lean and effective – which means a reduction in the waste within processes of your business. The product onboarding process – being agile – will be responsive to the customer’s input. So, if you manage to shorten the gap between the customer input and product changes, you are on your way to implement and maintain a successful product onboarding strategy. This makes an agile environment or approaches one of the best practices.

Update your Digital Tools

“Change” is the most obvious thing when it comes to working in a digital environment. Experts say that familiarizing yourself with new technology and tools are important for your product onboarding process.

So, you must learn new digital tools constantly. This will allow you to stay competitive and enable your employees to learn to use relevant technology tools such as SaaS for development and training.

Most organizations in the U.S and Canada are still not prepared for adopting digital transformation strategies. Recent data shows that most employees working medium and large enterprises are not skillful enough to use technology tools – so, the lack of digital skills is an alarming situation for employers.

How to solve this problem? Well, you need to employ mechanisms for learning and change. You must encourage your employees to use digital tools effectively – for example, the simplest among them is the use of content development tools, which help create engaging product content to attract new customers.

At the same time, it is important to integrate and streamline the digital workflow. You can use many tools to achieve your goals – therefore, product onboarding specialists must learn digital tools and go in line with the digital workflow.

You can improve productivity across multiple platforms and tools. Productivity, primarily, depends on how well your users use different tools. So, your product onboarding strategy must employ several tools instead of just one.

One of the most important aspects of adopting digital tools is providing continuous support to your employees and customers. You must train them – because upgrades in software mean constantly adopting development skills.

In simple words, your employees must be prepared for continuous learning and readily adopt changes made in the digital tools. Not only will this save you money but also equip your users to use the tools effectively.

Conclusion

Each customer is of great value to your company. Product onboarding requires you to successfully demonstrate your product features to customers, allow them to understand the usability, utility, and functions of the product. It is up to you and based on your strategy in SaaS, how you engage with your customers.

So much so, product onboarding is an essential component of your product adoption process by your customers. You must focus on product design – which we have already explained in detail in this article. Lastly, you must measure the progress and get feedback from your users or customers so that you know the satisfaction level of your customers, their needs, requirements, as well as making changes according to the feedback.

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