For any SaaS organization, the ultimate goal is to enable customers to achieve their business goals. Proper customer onboarding is the first step. It sets the tone for steady product adoption and determines whether the business sustains its use of your product in the longer term.
Why should customer onboarding be a priority for you? In June 2014, Deloitte published their annual consumer review in which they stated this:
“Consumers now have the power to influence not only what they buy, but what others buy as well.”
Successful onboarding entails knowing your customers’ desired outcomes and their expectations regarding your product. You can get these insights by tracking key performance indicator data on your customers’ brand interactions and behaviors.
This article gives a list of four essential metrics to track to determine whether your customer onboarding is successful. While no two businesses are alike, most businesses can use these metrics in some way.
Four Essential Customer Onboarding Metrics
1. Customer Engagement
Knowing your customer engagement data early can help monitor progress, anticipate pitfalls, and take corrective measures. You must never wait until the end of the onboarding process to know whether customers will use your product or not.
Perhaps the customer hasn’t understood the basic information, and that must be addressed before moving forward. Specific areas to track include:
a) Login activity – how many customers log in and how often. Low activity increases the potential for churn and must be investigated
b) Feature adoption – how many features are used and where the most time is spent. During onboarding, you should see high feature adoption. Low, stagnant or declining numbers demand proactive intervention
c) Onboarding abandonment – customers that stop using the product before understanding it fully. Active guidance can determine where the communication breakdown is and bring them back.
Customer success software makes a significant difference in predicting issues your customers are facing. If you notice that customers are not actively using your software, this is a warning sign; follow up and understand why this is.
2. Time-to-Value (TTV)
Reducing the customer's TTV is critical to increasing SaaS adoption, particularly in the onboarding phase. If customers don't realize some value early, they may doubt whether you will deliver on promises.
Reducing user TTV is to establish ways to deliver perceived value as soon as the user receives and uses your product. You can do this by:
a) Maintaining user excitement or “wow” moments – they go “wow!” at your benefits
b) Improve users’ lives to build their confidence in your ability to deliver
c) Offer high-quality customer-product interactions to ensure the realize ROI quickly
Onboarding metrics should reveal whether you’re succeeding or failing at helping customers achieve desired business outcomes. You can reduce TTV by splitting your training sessions to allow customers to use parts of the product that add immediate value first. Training at one go increases TTV because of the time spent in training.
3. Customer Support Analysis
There is abundant data available on consumer behaviors and brand interactions. All this data can provide valuable insights, but the amount of value depends on your desired business outcomes. The following is some key performance indicator data that can give useable insights:
a) Number of customers raising support tickets – indicates training or onboarding was not successful; proactive support and retraining may be necessary
b) Too many open tickets – if customers have to wait long before queries are addressed they will jump ship
You can learn areas of the onboarding process that need improvement using specific data analysis. If you shorten your onboarding period without sacrificing value, customers are more likely to renew their contracts.
4. Milestones Completed
Milestones are the steps the customer must pass through before achieving business goals. They are vital to determining the customer’s business process to understand how your SaaS solution can fast-track their success.
Milestones are typically provided through the customer success platform or the CS manager according to their business goals. They must be time-bound, and the customer must understand the importance of sticking to the process.
Ideally, the completion of milestones should increase product adoption. You should have an onboarding checklist to ensure all customers experience a consistent and exciting onboarding process.
How Can DashboardFox Help?
Most of the essential metrics mentioned above are not cookie-cutter, and you won’t find a BI solution that can generate the formulas and extract the data needed to calculate them automatically.
In fact, for most SaaS solutions, much of the data needed to generate these metrics are stored inside your own, private databases. DashboardFox is self-hosted BI, so it makes sense to use a tool that you can control and install locally so that there is no need for external 3rd party access to your sensitive databases and servers.
In some cases, the calculation may require manual collection, from external sources such as customer support, accounting, or other milestones that may be more qualitative in nature than quantitative. DashboardFox allows you to upload those manual spreadsheets to automatically convert the data into a database format and then do data blending to calculate the custom metrics needed from your internal database and the spreadsheet data.
Perhaps most importantly, cash flow is king to a SaaS business, whether you are a start-up or growing rapidly, spending dollars in the right place is essential. DashboardFox provides a one-time fee for BI software, not the annually recurring fee that many leading BI tools like Tableau or Power BI offer.
Lastly, DashboardFox is a self-service BI tool. It doesn’t require weeks and months to get running, and you can start to delegate the task of dashboards and reports to a non-developer. This is the reason more SaaS providers prefer DashboardFox over others.
The thing to remember is that tracking the right onboarding KPI data tracking is pivotal to understanding and addressing customers' pain points. While many metrics offer valuable insights, each company should determine one or two of its most important metrics. You can then identify the underlying leading indicators driving those metrics.
As you make your onboarding process more customer-centric, you should notice lower churn rates and higher renewals. This, in turn, increases the lifetime value (LTV) of each SaaS customer.
Remember, a key performance indicator is meaningful when considered against an objective. The same numbers may mean different things to different businesses. Learn how to find your leading indicators to make your metrics more meaningful and drive business success.