Ultimate UX Design Guide to SaaS On-Boarding, Part 6: Checkup Calls & Swag
SaaS Customer On-boarding is the process that users have to experience while initiating their journey on a company’s software application. Customer on-boarding initiates from the experience that employees previously had to undergo while joining a firm. The on-boarding process sets the tone for a good user experience. The SaaS customer on-boarding process is based on 6 comprehensive aspects, the first five of which we’ve already covered:
- Sign up Form
- Welcome Email
- Drip Campaigns
- First Login & Product Tutorial
- Data Import & Notifications
- Check Up Calls & Swag
All the aspects of the process play an equally important part in forming a desirable reputation of the brand in the eyes of the customers during the on-boarding process. Today we will be focusing on Checkup Calls and Swag.
[pullquote]interacting with a new user can be more effective than any other means of improving your customer retention[/pullquote] Check up calls can considerably impact your user on-boarding experience. This is simply because it affords human interaction with your user. The worth of directly interacting with a new user can be more effective than any other means of improving your customer retention and the overall growth of your business. Furthermore, there is the added benefit of getting a lot of feedback that could give you a number of actionable things to work on; Everybody benefits.
Benefits of Checkup Calls
A lot of SaaS founders say that calling over the phone is now obsolete. Furthermore they feel that their users would consider this annoying. Another argument company founders give is that they do not have the time to do that, as this is very demanding of human resources. So when you go ahead with that phone call and dial up a client, you are bound to see an increase in the rate of activation for your product — simply because you made the effort and your competitors did not. There may be users who won’t engage with you, but there will be a fair amount which will. And you have a great opportunity to build on your relationship with those that do engage. Customer development can be quicker; you will be able to acquire quick and valuable feedback and market intelligence that can very easily put you ahead in the game. You will see higher closing rates, long lasting customer relationships, and success along with very easily differentiating your brand through improved and personalized service.
But Our Users Might be Irritated!
It is understandable to think that your users would be “bothered” by a phone call. We live in an age where your average user is bombarded by companies vying for attention in a variety of innovative ways, so it is logical to think that a phone call would simply be another annoyance. However keep in mind that your user is interested in your product because he/she has signed up for it. The product represented some utility, hence the reason for the sign-up. And a company that manages to communicate personalized attention is definitely going to be well received. So do not worry about irritating your users, they will welcome some personal attention.
Call Within 5 Minutes of a Signup
A popular emerging approach actually suggests that calling up first time users within five minutes of signing up could be extremely beneficial. It doesn’t have to be long, it can simply be telling your user that you wanted to reach out personally, say hello and see if there was anything that you could help with. Companies report very favorable responses to this approach. Timing is everything. If you call too early your user probably will not have much to share — as a matter of fact they could be thinking that you are being a bit “needy”. If the call is made too late, they could have already decided that your product is not worth it and hence will not be paying for it. What are you going to do with all that information? There is every possibility that you have acquired very actionable information from your calls but at the same time you need to have a system through which you can filter the feedback that you get. For all the valuable feedback, there is also going to be feedback that may have no value at all and is incredibly personalized. It is very easy to get caught up in the feedback and completely move away from what you envision your product to be.
There is no one who doesn’t like some swag. Companies have tremendously innovated ways in which they can “wow” their users with the kind of swag packages that they send. Services like StartupThreads offer to manage your swag for you. [pullquote]There is no one who doesn’t like some swag[/pullquote] It helps to think of the following categories of things when you are thinking about what you could give away for free. So think along the lines of the following options when sending something to your customers:
- Small tools or apps
- Blog Posts
- Free Ebooks
- Access to free Webinars
- White Papers
- Beginner’s Guides
- Consultations that are free of cost
- Relevant interviews
- Bundles that contain more than one of the items above
Here are some excellent examples of companies that send swag to their users.
The swag can vary, but creativity never fails. Currently ChartMogul’s welcome bag, which new users get, is an excellent mix of useful material including cheat sheets, along with stickers and a branded T‑shirt. The current bundle contains:
- “The Ultimate Churn Rate Cheat Sheet”
- “The Ultimate SaaS Metrics Cheat Sheet”
- “The Ultimate Cohort Analysis Cheat Sheet”
- ChartMogul t‑shirt
A thousand supporters of the website Product Hunt received a Thank You note along with a kitten sticker. The response was tremendous across the world. People were extremely appreciative of the gesture and as a result, Product Hunt’s popularity received a massive boost. It’s usually the added cost of giving away swag that deters companies from even considering the simple ways in which this can be done. In this case, Product Hunt simply targeted its first thousand customers for this show of gratitude. The move was cost effective and the return that the company got was spectacular.
Rules of Thumb
Remember, swag won’t go a long way if your on-boarding experience is not up to the mark. It can prove to be the perfect icing on the cake but it can never change a bad experience into a good one. Be careful deciding what you send your users. They would not want anything that they can’t really use, so think about something that they would really benefit from, or would value. If you are currently not that big, personalize. Cards that have been hand written, or carry that mark of extra effort, go a long way towards making a user feel appreciated.