Self-Serve Customer Onboarding: A Step-by-Step Guide for SaaS Companies

What is the best way to conduct self-serve customer onboarding for B2B SaaS customers? Let us try to find out through this blog.

Self-Serve Customer Onboarding

You have landed a customer; this means that the customer has selected you over the rest of the options available! It indicates one thing – they believe that they see your value and consider you the best of the rest. This is the very reason you must give them the value ASAP.

But how do you do that? By ensuring that you have efficient customer onboarding, especially for a SaaS company.

For a SaaS company, customer onboarding involves familiarizing your client with how to use the product and its features so the client can derive its true value. The aim should be to make the process easy and efficient.

Want to make your SaaS customer onboarding smooth? Here is a 90-day plan for customer onboarding.

One major problem when planning customer onboarding for a SaaS company is that their products are unique in nature. Thus, the onboarding process must be unique to the product. One such unique onboarding situation sprouts with self-serve customer onboarding.

How do you do it? Where to start? We understand that B2B self-serve customer onboarding can be tricky, but we are here to help.

Meanwhile, go through this checklist for customer onboarding.

In this article, you will learn about

  1. What is self-serve customer onboarding?
  2. Why is self-serve customer onboarding better?
  3. Self-service Onboarding: Best Practices

So let us get started

What is self-serve customer onboarding?

Self-serve onboarding for B2B SaaS is the process where customers will onboard themselves to the SaaS platform. All you need to do is provide them with basic guidance on using the product or service so they derive value as soon as possible.

In self-serve onboarding, the customers will learn more about the product as they start using it. Therefore, the onboarding process must be extremely simple for them to absorb its value right from the word go.

In self-serve onboarding, the key to remember is that the product sells itself. This is also a major reason it fits the current product-led market.

Why is self-serve customer onboarding better?

There are several reasons why self-serve customer onboarding is a better approach than the traditional process of onboarding. Here are a few reasons why –

Designed to scale

Self-service onboarding means your product will take care of the customers’ onboarding. Hence, teams have more time to focus on improving the product. At the same time, the approach scales itself without depending on any support from the teams.

It is product-led

We are currently in the product-centric era, where the customers’ primary focus is on the product and the value they can derive from it, and want it ASAP. And how can they achieve it? By using your product right away! This is exactly what self-serve onboarding enables. This way, it drastically brings down the time-to-value.

More effective!

As self-serve onboarding eliminates the need for the users to go through long product demo videos to get started. Instead, the users will try the product and learn their way around it as they go on. This makes it more efficient as the users remember it better due to their first-hand experience.

Relevant instructions

With self-serve customer onboarding, the instructions for the user are more direct, relevant, and understandable. This way, your new business customers can register about the features, tools, and functions. However, you must ensure that the instructions are to the point and easy to understand.

Ultimately, self-serve onboarding empowers your customers to explore and know about your offering by themselves. This approach gives them a personalized experience that customers see as one of the factors influencing their loyalty to a brand.  By doing this, there is a greater chance of converting.

Not only is it more appealing to your customers, but self-serve onboarding also benefits your teams. As the process does not require your teams to hold the hands of your customers, the team members have more free time to work on improving the core operations. This way, there is an increase in productivity among your team members.

Self-service Onboarding: Best Practices

While self-service onboarding is a wonderful way to empower your customers and encourage them, it does not mean that you must leave them alone to figure it out by themselves. Instead, you will have to put extra effort into creating interactive guided instructions to help them at each stage to simplify the onboarding experience.

Here are a few best practices to help you create efficient self-serve customer onboarding experiences for your B2B customers.

1. Know your customer

As we have already discussed, you will have to come up with a unique onboarding customer experience for your customers. For that, you need to understand your customer segments better.

You may not know your new business customers very well. So you can start the first step on the onboarding by asking them questions about your industry, the size of your organization, and other details of their use cases. This type of onboarding is more personal, and your customers feel more connected to you.

2.  Focus on giving them an interactive walkthrough

Long product tours have always been ‘go-to’ approaches for B2B customer onboarding. Such an approach is boring, and the user might lose focus in the middle of the session. However, current-day customers need interaction and instant gratification. For this, having interactive walkthrough sessions – where the users can try and learn about the product as they go.

Canva has a good example of interactive walkthroughs

3. Allow them to create their own boundaries

By its essence, self-service onboarding is all about guiding the customer as they choose their own path. However, you should not leave them alone as they might take the wrong path. Instead, letting them know their own boundaries is a better option. This means that they can know deeper about a feature or tool based on their interest.

Trello sets a good example for this. The platform simply provides the users with an overview of its features and functions, along with some tips on how to go about it. If interested in a particular feature, users are provided with instructions so they can dig deeper.

4. Allow them to access their progress

It is always a great idea to allow your B2B customers to access their progress during the self-serve onboarding session. Doing this will provide them with an understanding of their progress in the onboarding process. Without the ability to track their progress on onboarding, it becomes difficult for the users to know if they are using the product right or if they have missed some elements.

Take the example of Etsy.com. The platform provides a clear frame of reference for users to track their progress.

Another way is by providing them with a score (gamification) for the progress that they have made.

This is a terrific way to keep the users engaged and interested in the process.

5. Remove friction where ever possible

Your customers may be facing friction at several touchpoints. For instance, the instructions provided could be ambiguous, or the landing page might be too long with unnecessary elements. This could be frustrating to the user. Therefore, you must reduce friction wherever possible.

You need to have a clear onboarding goal to remove friction during the process. If there is no clear goal, your onboarding effort goes all haywire, and this, in turn, leads to a lot of friction. In order to avoid this, you will have to come up with clear goals for the process according to your target segments and then start building your onboarding journey.

To make it more efficient, you need to get into your customers’ shoes occasionally and then make improvements to your customer onboarding process.

6. Make sure that your users get to see your value proposition from the word go

As we have iterated more than once, the customer onboarding process is an approach to help your users understand how the product works. A step ahead is self-serve customer onboarding, as the customers get to explore the product and understand how it fulfills their needs. Keeping this in mind, you will have to make sure that you communicate your

value proposition right. It must be simple, clear, and convey what makes your product unique.

You will have to give them the ‘aha’ moments – as many and as soon as possible in the onboarding flow.

Note: An ‘aha’ moment is when the customer learns about the value of your product – what it can do for them – but is yet to pursue it.

7. Be available whenever the customer needs

Self-serve means that you let your customers navigate and learn about your product on their own. You may have also provided them with the necessary support structures. However, you will have to be still available for them and get in touch with them whenever needed.42

Conclusion

Creating a self-serve B2B customer onboarding is not a very easy task; however, with the right guidance, you can achieve it. Do read our write-ups on the topic, and you will become ready to get started.

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