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Onboarding on SaaS is an important step for activating a customer. Founders looking for product-market fit (PMF) want to find new ways, beyond email and in-app messages, to get better responses from users signing up. In this article, I will show why WhatsApp can be the best channel to create a personal experience, increase engagement, and ultimately improve user onboarding on your SaaS product.
Finding product-market fit (PMF) is hard
Finding product-market fit for your SaaS startup is a critical early-stage challenge. It’s the first point of real success in your startup journey. If you build your product before you’ve found a market for it, you may burn up lots of cash on improvements before it meets the market’s requirements.
Finding PMF means understanding and validating the core value hypothesis of your product—the single fundamental element that solves a burning problem for your customers. And that’s where WhatsApp comes into play. Being able to have a real-time conversation with your customers is crucial.
Can using WhatsApp do a better job for your business than email?
Email communication is becoming ineffective
The most effective way to learn your customers’ opinions is through conversations. Even though email is convenient, it is one of the worst means of effective communication. It has low open rates, and lacks the interactivity and immediate feedback that WhatsApp can bring you.
People don’t respond to emails anymore, especially Millennials and Gen Z, who prefer text messaging over email because it’s more personal. They also happen to be the largest demographic, accounting for 53% of the world’s population.
People live on their messaging apps
Everyone’s on WhatsApp. More than two billion people worldwide so far have downloaded, installed, and use it daily to chat with friends and family. Businesses aren’t falling behind either. Fifty million of them use the business version of the most popular messaging app to communicate with their clients, sell products, offer customer support, and build long-lasting relationships with their customers.
In the world of SaaS, responding to customer queries, receiving feedback, and offering support in real-time are crucial for converting leads into customers.
How can I use WhatsApp as a channel to improve new sign-up engagement?
Once a person starts a free trial, monitoring customer experience is important. If people aren’t coming back to your service and paying you, it’s likely because the customer:
- Doesn’t know how to use your product correctly,
- Doesn’t have a correct understanding of what your product does,
- Isn’t brought back to the product frequently enough,
- Doesn’t understand the value of your product.
WhatsApp can be your best friend in overcoming these issues. Having an open channel where customers can reach out to you and where you can stimulate further engagement with your product is essential.
Businesses can use either the WhatsApp Business app or WhatsApp Business Platform/API. While the WhatsApp Business app is designed to help micro-businesses build and maintain their customer relationships, the Platform/API can help you unlock the full potential of your B2C communications via unlimited broadcasts, advanced automation, team inbox, analytics, and more. To learn more about this platform, read our article “What Is the WhatsApp Business API?”
So, where to start? Here are a few tips to help you improve user onboarding:
Start with a question.
What is the best way to start a conversation? Simply ask a question. Questions will help you qualify your leads. Ask your new users what they’re looking to get out of your product, and then propose a tailored onboarding path. This will ensure a level of interactivity in your onboarding approach, and increasing engagement.
Potential questions that can help you customize your onboarding approach:
- How much do you know about the product?
- Do you want us to help you when setting up?
- What’s your team size?
With WhatsApp Business Platform/API, these messages can be automated.
Don’t sell them the product. Sell them the emotion.
In your startup’s early days, quantitative data like engagement may be helpful, but the most important thing is to talk and listen to customers. Once a person starts a free trial, that’s when you need to focus on helping them discover the value of your product.
A good onboarding experience is more than showing a new user where to click. It should guide them to finding their version of value and success within the product. Just to give you an example, the third step in the signup process with Wave reminds new users of the value of their invoicing software. The copy reads, “Send professional invoices. Designed to get you paid 3x faster, with over $24 billion in invoices sent each year.”
SaaS companies’ greatest mistake when dealing with prospects is showcasing all their features. That can be overwhelming for a newcomer. Instead, use the trial period to show them how your product can improve their lives. Help them understand why they need to use it. That’s the value they’re expecting to get from your product. Once they see the value, the features that come with your software will make more sense.
Here are a few tips to improve your user onboarding process while you engage with your customers via WhatsApp:
- Provide a quick path to discovering value
- Showcase core product features that are relevant to the customer
- Offer a delightful experience throughout
- Provide a path to evolve from the “evaluate” to the “use” phase when the value is clear
Slow and steady wins the race.
Customer onboarding takes a long time, especially if you have a more complicated product that requires a high-touch onboarding model. You know the product inside and out, but a new user is seeing your product for the first time, and they likely don’t need every single feature.
Instead of showcasing all your product’s bells and whistles during the first onboarding session, focus on the features that really matter to them, and pace yourself. Be prepared to have more than one conversation, and leave them enough time between sessions to try out new features and ways to use your product. One week is the optimal time.
Stay available to answer customer queries.
The onboarding process requires a two-way conversation. Users should be able to ask questions about an area of your product they can’t find through the onboarding experience and get a response in real time.
Why is this important? Picture this - you’re using a new product, and there’s an operation you can’t find a way to perform. No worries, you think. You can send an email to ask for help or fill out that awful contact form some businesses have on their website, connected to an info@ email address to which no one remembers the password. Or would you rather click a WhatsApp button on their website and get an immediate response?
So, you got new sign-ups. Now what?
If you’re building your customer base via WhatsApp, you should customize the onboarding experience to fit the requirements of WhatsApp. Once new sign-ups start to arrive, the first thing to do is to reach out to them via email to welcome them and ask for their WhatsApp number and consent (opt-in) to receive your messages. Once they respond, you can start communicating with them via WhatsApp. If you’re using WhatsApp Business Platform/API, you can connect it to a customer communication platform like Rasayel and leverage all the advanced features designed to help you build and maintain your relationship with your customers and prospects.
Rasayel’s shared Team Inbox will allow your sales team to collaborate, and the mobile app helps them answer customer queries wherever they are.
When new users sign up for your product, you want to engage them immediately and ensure they get the attention they deserve. You can send messages to one or multiple contacts, assign conversations to team members, or even use proactive messaging to contact someone before receiving an inbound message from them.
With the proactive messaging feature, you can set up a one-on-one call with each customer to explore what value they are looking for from your product and show them how it can help them achieve their goals.
If you use a CRM, you can import existing contacts to Rasayel, and the data attributes you filled in your CRM software. That way, you can have all the information for your customers without switching between systems.
You need to capture prospects the first moment they sign up for the free trial and turn them into users down the road.
You can choose to create a simple auto-responder for incoming messages or build an elaborate chatbot that your users can interact with for their most common queries or before they speak with a human. With Rasayel, you can do this using an easy to use, visual bot builder.
If you have a more extensive customer base that you want to get in touch with, you can take advantage of the Broadcast feature to send out bulk messages to multiple users. If you use WhatsApp Business Platform/API, you can create message templates with placeholders and variables in Rasayel. Adding data to the variables will customize the messages for each recipient, which significantly increases engagement.
Not all of them will respond to the first message you send. Develop a communication strategy and send them weekly messages to strengthen the value of your product.
Finally, you need to understand how your team and your strategy are performing. While the WhatsApp Business app gives you the most basic statistics, such as the number of active conversations and how many messages were sent, delivered, and received, with Rasayel and the WhatsApp Business Platform, you can have complete insight into:
- Opened conversations
- Closed conversations
- Resolution time
- Average first response time
- Conversations per agent
- Number of messages before closing (per agent)
With these insights, you can unlock new opportunities to improve your onboarding process.
In a nutshell
The user onboarding process can (and should) be the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship between your business and your customer. As with any relationship, the experience should be continuously improved through proactive communication from both parties.
Using email as the primary communication channel can be slow and ineffective. Consider using WhatsApp with the Rasayel customer communication platform. With our collaborative team inbox, chatbot builder, automation, campaigns, and more, you can significantly improve your customer experience and onboarding.
If you’d like to learn more about how WhatsApp can help you grow your business, please reach out to us on WhatsApp at: +13024070488.
We also offer a free consultation session where we review your use case, answer any questions about WhatsApp, and help you build a strategy to make the best out of the platform. Book a call with us here. We’d love to speak with you: