How to Create a Tech-Touch Customer Onboarding for Your SaaS

Shreelekha Singh
June 16, 2023
This is some text inside of a div block.

What’s one of the biggest struggles for PLG SaaS companies? Whether to onboard users with a high-touch or a low-touch model.

🤕 High touch is great for personalization, but it can be a drain on resources.

🥱 Low touch can scale easily, but it might lack the personal touch users love.

💪🏻 This is where tech-touch onboarding comes in as the best of both worlds.

The tech-touch customer onboarding process uses technology to guide users through your product and help them quickly find the value they came looking for. It offers a seamless and personalized user experience without hogging your entire budget.

Now, here’s the catch: while there’s a lot of buzz around high and low-touch onboarding models, not everyone knows how to deliver a seamless experience with tech-touch onboarding.

So, we created this detailed guide on how PLG SaaS companies can use tech-touch customer onboarding to maximize user delight and retention for new users.

Does your PLG SaaS need tech-touch customer onboarding?

Let me put you in a hypothetical situation for a second.

You're a chef in a bustling restaurant at peak dinner time. You've got a full house. You want to ensure every dish that leaves your kitchen is perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. But there's only one of you and so many orders coming in.

Cloning yourself is not an option (for now). How do you ensure every customer enjoys their meal and leaves satisfied?

This is exactly what PLG SaaS companies face when onboarding new users—one customer success executive for so many customers. How do you ensure every user starts on the right note?

In three words: tech-touch onboarding.

Tech-touch customer onboarding combines the best of high-touch and low-touch onboarding to deliver a tailored onboarding experience to new users. It's your robot butler who can not only serve drinks to all your guests but also remember their names, their favorite topics, and how they like their martinis.

Here's why it's a win for PLG SaaS companies

  • Scalability: Tech-touch onboarding allows you to onboard a large number of users simultaneously without compromising on the quality of the experience. This is crucial for PLG companies that often have a high volume of users to onboard.
  • Efficiency: By automating repetitive tasks, the tech-touch framework frees up your customer success team's time to focus on more complex issues and high-value activities.
  • Consistency: This onboarding model ensures every user gets a consistent onboarding experience, regardless of when they sign up or where they are in the world.
  • Data-Driven: You can easily track and analyze user behavior during the user onboarding process. This data can provide valuable insights to improve your product and onboarding strategy.
  • Customer Empowerment: Tech-touch onboarding empowers users to learn and explore the product at their own pace, which can lead to better product understanding and adoption.

6 Tactics to Design a Tech-Touch Process for Onboarding New Customers

The first step of a successful SaaS onboarding strategy is establishing alignment between sales, marketing, and customer success teams. To deliver a seamless customer journey in a product-led environment, it’s critical to bring these teams on the same page and set realistic expectations for new users.

1. Create a short and seamless sign-up process

Did you know that the average conversion rate from the sign-up process for 79 surveyed SaaS companies was 36.2%? That's a significant chunk of potential customers, and it all starts with the sign-up process.

A short and seamless sign-up process is the first step to a successful onboarding journey. It's like the opening scene of a movie—setting the tone for users to decide whether they’re going to stick around for the rest of the show.

At Floik, we have a super simple sign-up process 👇🏻

customer onboarding proecss

Here are some best practices to ensure your sign-up process is a hit among new users:

  • Prioritize Social Login: Make it easy for users to sign up with their existing social accounts like Google or Facebook. It's quicker, easier, and one less password for users to remember.
  • Split the Form in Multiple Steps: If you have multiple fields in your sign-up form, consider splitting them into logical steps. This reduces the intimidation factor of a long form and increases completion rates. Here’s a great example from Wordtune
customer onboarding sign-up flow
  • Add Progressive Profiling: Keep the number of required fields to a minimum during sign-up. Prompt users to provide extra information when they are more engaged with your product.
  • Validate Passwords in Real Time: Validate the password as the user types it with friendly messages and a progress checklist. This helps the user know when the password meets the requirements.
  • Make It Skippable: Let users skip any question or the entire process. This helps users easily identify preferences and reduces the time spent answering questions. Notice the Skip button in the Wordtune example above?

Remember, the goal is to get users onboard and explore your product as quickly as possible. The less friction there is in the sign-up process, the more likely users are to complete it and dive into your product.

2. Design a personalized welcome screen and email

A personalized welcome screen and email sequence can make a user feel seen and valued. It's your chance to show them that you're not just another faceless SaaS company but a team of real people genuinely interested in helping them succeed.

What’s more, a neat welcome email adds to customer delight. It builds engagement while guiding new users through your product interface—like a friendly store assistant who helps you find what you’re looking for and suggests other items you might like.

Saga creates a great welcome screen with a personalized workspace and three pre-built pages. You can get started with a blank page, or you can get a glimpse of how it works with the other two.

customer onboarding welcome screen

Want to know how you can set users up for success from the start? Here are a few tips:

  • Add the User's Name: This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's surprising how many companies don't do this. Using the user's name in your welcome screen and email can make them feel more connected to your product.
  • Tailor the Content to the User's Needs: If you know what the user is interested in or what they're using your product for, tailor your welcome content to that. For example, if a user signed up for your project management tool to manage their marketing projects, your welcome content could include tips for using your tool specifically for marketing projects.
  • Include a Personalized Call-to-Action: Instead of a generic "Get Started" button, try something more personalized. For example, if a user signed up for your email marketing tool, your call-to-action could be "Start Your First Email Campaign".
  • Send a Welcome Email Sequence: Instead of just one welcome email, consider sending a sequence of emails over the first few days or weeks after a user signs up. This can help keep your product top-of-mind and provide users with helpful information as they're getting started.
  • Here’s the welcome email I received from Saga.

customer onboarding welcome email

⚡ Pro tip: Add a customer onboarding video to your welcome screen and give viewers a super quick introduction to your product.

3. Use tooltips, videos, and guided tours for in-app guidance

Signing up for a new tool without any guidance can feel a lot like roaming around in an unknown city without a map—you feel so lost.

Tooltips, videos, how-to guides, and product tours serve as city signs, guiding users through your product interface and ensuring they can find their way around.

But how do you create these self-serve resources to deliver a seamless experience? Here’s a handy checklist:

  • Action-Oriented Copy: Keep your copy firmly oriented towards the next viable action. The tooltip should guide the user toward what they need to do next.
  • Give Users a Way Out: Always add a skip button to your product tours to avoid user frustration. Not every user will need or want the guidance, so give them the option to explore on their own.
  • Include CTAs: Where it makes sense, include clear CTAs. This could be a prompt to try out a feature, complete a task, or move to the next step.
  • Showcase Your Brand Personality: Define clear UI patterns which showcase your brand colors in your tooltips. This helps your users understand the significance of certain types of notifications.
  • Add a Progress Bar: When using multiple tooltips to create interactive guides, include a progress indicator. This helps users 'see the finish line', and might encourage them to persevere with a journey.
  • Avoid Clutter and Tooltip Overlap: When messages overlap, and the user struggles to read them, they lose their effectiveness. Set specific conditions for when and where tooltips should appear to avoid this.

🚩 Don't Rely on Tooltips to Compensate for a Bad UI: Tooltips can't fix a poor user interface. Your SaaS should still make sense and be as clear as possible without them. Use tooltips as a way of enhancing the user experience, not as a crutch for poor design.

Looking for a hassle-free way to create these self-serve support resources? Your search ends with Floik.

Floik is an all-in-one solution to create product collateral for guiding users inside your product. Instead of spending hours capturing and annotating screenshots for how-to guides, you can use Floik to simply record your product in action and automatically create annotated step-by-step guides, complete with text, visuals, click marks, and more.

Once a guide is ready, you can convert it into a video with a single click. Then you can:

  • Add your own voice or AI voiceover
  • Crop and trim the video
  • Transcribe the audio
  • Add a custom CTA

Fine-tune your video, hit publish, embed anywhere, or download! All of this and a lot more is possible with Floik, a powerful solution to create customer education content.

4. Create an onboarding checklist for activation

An onboarding checklist is a step-by-step list of actions that help new users understand your product's features and interface. It helps them find value in your product quickly and reach their aha! moments.

To create an onboarding checklist, you first need to identify what success looks like for every user persona and create segmented activation milestones. Activation milestones are actions that users need to take to find value in your product.

These could be sending their first email using your platform or making their first sale. Once you've identified these milestones, map them out and include them in your onboarding checklist.

Keep these points in mind when creating an onboarding checklist:

  • Design it from the user's perspective to guide them towards achieving their goals, not just using your product.
  • Keep the checklist simple and easy to understand, minus jargon and complex terms.
  • Include a progress tracker in the checklist to give users a sense of accomplishment as they complete each step.
  • Keep it flexible and adaptable to the user's pace, allowing users to progress flexibly.

Here’s a simple checklist available on the Grammarly welcome screen. It’s short, easy, and skippable!

onboarding checklist

5. Deliver support and take feedback proactively

Self-serve onboarding empowers customers to navigate through your product independently. It allows them to understand the interface at their own pace and according to their own needs.

It also saves time for both the customer and the company. Customers can access the information they need when they need it without having to wait for assistance. On the company's side, it reduces the burden on customer support teams.

More importantly, self-serve onboarding is highly scalable. It allows companies to onboard a large number of customers simultaneously without the need for additional resources.

Deliver just-in-time support and offer proactive guidance with how-to guides and explainer videos. Here’s an example of how WATI answers customer questions with rich content made with Floik:

support and feedback gif

Customer marketing teams can optimize your self-serve resources by taking consistent feedback from new users.

  • Regular Check-ins: Regularly check your analytics to see if your churn rate is increasing or decreasing. This will give you an idea of how effective your onboarding process is and where improvements can be made.
  • Surveys and Interviews: Send surveys and conduct interviews with customers to get their feedback on the user onboarding process. This will provide valuable insights into what's working and what's not.
  • Internal Collaboration: Develop continuous feedback and ideation loops inside your organization. Regularly reflect on the qualitative and quantitative data and turn those findings into onboarding improvements. Collaboration between different teams (such as product, customer success, and engineering) is key to tweaking and improving the onboarding process.

Remember, onboarding is a journey for everyone involved, and building a customer onboarding flow is not a one-and-done project. It's an ongoing process that needs constant attention and care.

6. Measure success to find gaps and opportunities

The final piece of the puzzle is to measure the success of your customer onboarding process. Without data, you're essentially flying blind. You need to know what's working, what's not, and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Customer metrics eliminate the need to toss things at a wall and hope something sticks. You already know the answers.

Remember to choose relevant customer onboarding metrics that align with your users’ definition of success. Then regularly track and analyze these metrics.

Look for trends and patterns. Are customers getting stuck at a particular stage? Is there a drop in engagement after a certain point? This data will help you identify gaps and opportunities in your onboarding process.

Optimize your product-led onboarding efforts with technology

Tech touch onboarding, with its blend of automation and personalization, offers a great solution to onboard new users for your SaaS. It empowers users, saves resources, and scales effectively.

But remember, it's not a set-and-forget strategy.

You have to constantly measure, tweak, and improve your onboarding process based on user feedback and data. So, bookmark this guide and keep optimizing your customer onboarding process.

Now, it's over to you to put these tactics into action and supercharge your onboarding process!