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SaaS Onboarding: Increase Customer Loyalty and Retention

SaaS Onboarding: Increase Customer Loyalty and Retention

SaaS product
6 min

Software as a Service delivers applications through the internet. Customers have no hassle as they only sign up to use web-based software. The subscription to the service gives the unique access details (usually, these are a username and a password) to log in to the system. There’s no need to install the app on the device as all the data is kept on servers while the functionality is on the website. Simply put, SaaS is about convenience and security.

The rise of cloud technology adds much to the popularity of SaaS platforms, which generated $165.9bn in 2021 and are expected to continue their annual market growth by 11% in the next five years. But before customers make a decision that they need your SaaS product, there’s a stage called client onboarding. Here, the users should grasp the unique value of your software or, in other words, how it eases up their lives. 

If they can do it quickly, the interest leads further — to learn how the app works. To help your customers, use a discreet video tutorial, helpful tooltips, and other tactics that fit theproduct onboarding best. By this, you assist your customers in making the first steps while using your service. As a result, they feel confident, satisfied, and consequently, loyal. 

Based on Arounda’s SaaS onboarding experience, we prepared an ultimate guide on making the customer acquisition with your service smooth and easy. We’ll also illustrate the key types of user onboarding with fresh examples. Your customer loyalty is so close — go on reading!

What Is SaaS Onboarding and Its Importance?

The essence of web onboarding and mobile onboarding is similar: your task is to provide the best interaction with your brand to turn the first meeting into a long-term cooperation. When it comes to SaaS platforms, 86% of users confirm readiness to spend more for the sake of a better customer experience. 

The product owners should do the same — invest more to build the diverse and inspiring CX for their users. It’s better to do it from the very beginning as acquiring new clients is five times more expensive than retaining the existing ones. 

Besides, your early investments will return a hundredfold. Statistics prove that highly engaged users are more willing to purchase more often (by 90%) and spend more money per order (by 60%).

If a revenue increase isn’t your priority, consider preventing customer churn, strengthening the brand image, and avoiding costly mistakes. Does it sound worth trying?

Arounda`s Experience with Effective SaaS Onboarding

If you’re already motivated to build a smooth onboarding flow for your customers, Arounda is the right destination spot. We’ve completed 20+ SaaS projects, optimizing and refining our approach to building the comprehensive and fascinating customer journey. 

One of our recent user onboarding cases is Q Talent.

Our mission was to contribute to the successful digital experiences on the recruiting and sourcing platform by creating UX/UI design. With our help, the large Food & Beverage community got the intuitive and in-built tips that assist them in their daily operations. 

Eager to know how can we help you? It’s time to learn the different types of SaaS onboarding — right below.

What Are the Types of SaaS Onboarding and Examples?

We advise you not to stop on one angle of client onboarding and form a well-balanced mixture of 2-3 types instead. Thus, users’ acquaintance with your product will be varied and exciting, including fun and educational elements. And remember to leave an opportunity to skip the onboarding step(s) not to cause too much pressure on them. Make it optional and try to be creative to make it desired!

Segmented onboarding

In marketing, segmentation implies dividing the target audience into specific categories — segments. Usually, it’s done to customize the product content and advertising campaigns to properly serve the needs of different intended users. The same principle works well during the user onboarding process. Instead of having one-size-fits-all guidance, all customers are divided into separate segments to gain a tailored experience.

The segmented SaaS onboarding aims to differentiate your audience per use case (their goals and preferences) and behavior patterns (time spent inside the product, interaction with specific features, plan chosen — trial version, monthly subscription, annual subscription, etc.). 

However, you can offer more. For instance, sort your user base out per experience level (newbie, junior, middle, or senior), job titles, location, devices they use, gender, preferred language, marital status, etc. By focusing on each segment, you’ll make each CX an adventure.

Preply sets an excellent example of segmented onboarding. Suppose you’re a new student on the platform. In this case, you’ll be asked to pass the language acquisition test, choose the goal of mastering the language, and indicate preferences on the tutor’s cultural belonging, age, gender, or certification. If you’re a new tutor, you’ll be requested to upload your teacher’s diploma, shoot the video introduction, customize a calendar per the time zone, and choose the preferable hourly rate. As a result, a perfect student-tutor match is more than real.


That’s probably the easiest way to help your customers navigate the learningprocess on the new SaaS platform. The tooltips serve this purpose perfectly. They’re the graphical UI elements offering explanations on clicking specific buttons. The pop-up windows appear only per your request and provide helpful information for you to take further action. Otherwise, they’re hidden within the interface not to evoke irritation. 

DuoLingo is a shining example of user onboarding with the help of tooltips. The majority of them appear on the screen in the initial series of lessons, which is logical as this is the time the customer learns to get the most benefit from the language learning app. Anyway, the tooltips are already available further for all as the option to show the translation for the unknown word or the rule in case of an error. As a means of encouragement, these quick features are a good stimulus for continuing the customer journey.

Product tours

Another frequently used type of SaaS onboarding is a product tour. Though it may take different forms, companies more often refer to short checklists or brief step-by-step descriptions on how to use the specific app’s features. The creation of product tours is relatively simple and cheap, while they’re good at transferring essential information to customers.

Grammarly builds the user onboarding process based on product tours. After the account creation, the new customer is welcomed by a quick product tour showing the demo version of how your document gets proofread. In the end, the user has the basic knowledge of how the platform functions and goes on with the independent editing attempts.

E-mail onboarding

The other widespread tactic of SaaS onboarding is sending welcome and interest-driven emails. With these online letters, you can pursue different goals: educate users, fuel their motivation, invite them to deeper interaction, show your care, send special offers, etc. 

While doing it, consider the optimal regularity of your emails. Try to find the golden mean between ‘being memorable’ and ‘being intrusive.’ If you overdo the number of emails, the new letters are most likely to be left unopened, while the users can wish to quit the cooperation.

Shopify is the perfect illustration of effective e-mail onboarding that sends welcome greetings, getting started guides, and tips to customize the solution per individual needs. The user gets a reminder of the personal login details, trial period duration, and CTAs suggesting a concrete reaction after reading. 

Video tutorials

Last but not least among popular client onboarding types is video. Though it demands thorough preparation and is notoriously more costly, it also is highly efficient in engaging newbies. Unsurprisingly, 97% of respondents consider the video format as the fast way to get things clear and plunge into the customer journey with gusto.

Google Drive is a wonderful proof of video tutorials easing up the life of numerous users all over the globe. Imagine that you’re new to this SaaS product and haven’t tried it before. Short explainer videos meet you, showing how it works in detail. Thus, you won’t be puzzled or lost while entering the system afterward.

Steps to Successful SaaS Customer Onboarding

As you’re already familiar with the types of product onboarding, it’s the right moment to check the final guide on how to do it smartly, step by step. Ready?

1. Identify Your Buyer Personas

Remember our talk about segmentation? Each category of users gives rise to a separate buyer persona whose needs should be respected and cared for. Learn your audience to come up with customer portraits.

2. Determine Users’ Pains and Needs

As your SaaS solution should obligatorily bring tangible value to users, do profound research to understand and anticipate their probable hardships while using the service.

3. List the Features of Your SaaS Product

Your entire functionality should reflect the attempt at covering users’ needs you’ve defined before (step #2). Check it out!

4. Find the Path to Solve Users’ Problem

In onboarding, the speed of catching everything on the fly matters a lot. That’s why you need to ensure the shortest path for your users to solve their problems.

5. Tie Customer Experience to Software’s Value

By working on the multifaceted CX, make the logical accents on features and perks that let you stand apart from the rest of the competitors. One should read your unique value between the lines.

6. Test the App and Make Corrections

As the customers’ demands are always changing, their onboarding can’t remain the same as well. Regular quality checks will keep you on track with the latest trends, so be ready for changes.

7. Continue Gathering Feedback 

Except for A/B testing and market research, you’ll also benefit from requesting ongoing feedback from users. Your care will boost their retention, making them feel that their opinions matter.

Final Thoughts

SaaS onboarding is an excellent tool for transforming your communication with users from accidental acquaintance to a trusted and long-term choice. Your investment in building this rapport is worthy of the results: facilitated product adoption, increased customer loyalty, boosted revenue and enhanced brand identity.

Being a reliable expert in client onboarding, Arounda will gladly help you with this task. Contact us anytime to discuss the details!


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