When designing products, it’s easier to think about what the customers will experience once the product has a lot of data in it, but this is typically not the first experience new customers will have. It’s important to help new customers see the value of the product right away, even before they’ve invested time and energy to get them to the “Aha” moment—when they see the value.
Example Projects & Data
One technique for helping people see the potential value of your product is to populate new instances with example or demo data. This allows new users to directly see what your system can do without entering their own information or trying to imagine it.
Another technique for faster onboarding is to reduce data entry time by creating a tool (or provide white-glove help) for importing existing data into your platform. System connectors like Zapier can help customers do this on their own, while a Professional Services team can do it for them.
Starting from scratch can be daunting. In cases where customers don’t have existing data to port over or might need guidance on getting started, providing templates can help them get start using your product faster and use it in the best way possible.
For complex systems that may require custom configuration or training of many people, an initial dedicated account manager can be one of the best ways to ensure a customer gets fully onboarded and adopts your product. This is especially true if typical onboarding takes weeks or months rather than hours or days.
As new users first begin navigating your system, or new features are introduced, in-app guidance can be a quick way to draw the user’s attention to key elements. A word of caution, though: as helpful as these can be, it’s also just as important to not get in the way of users trying to perform a specific task. Too many in-app messages and guides can detract from the experience.
Tools like Intercom and Pendo allow you to target in-app messages based on particular event triggers or when people run into issues. Other tools like Crisp Chat allow you to provide real-time help.
Most SaaS products do not regularly revisit a full onboarding experience, even though customers are regularly signing up for their services through continued sales. With ever changing features and personas, it’s easy for this to be disrupted and misaligned into an awkward or confusing experience.
We recommend revisiting the full onboarding experience (from visit to data) on at least a quarterly basis. Having an intern, your newest team member, or a customer facing representative will both give them new insights and improve your product.