Reducing Churn with Better Customer Onboarding

By Peter Ord
Dec 14, 2020

One of the most important metrics SaaS companies track is “churn”, a term that describes customers who don’t renew. The key to reducing churn is not simply to have a great product (although that helps), it’s making sure your onboarding process is streamlined and effective at getting customer to that ‘aha’ moment as quickly as possible. A bad implementation experience was by far the top reason cited for customer churn.


After analyzing more than 5,000 customer onboarding and implementation processes, GUIDEcx has discovered that there are three key factors that can boost customer loyalty and reduce the likelihood of a customer leaving.


1: Shorten time-to-value (TTV)


TTV is the king of all onboarding metrics. The sooner a person can see the value of your product, the more likely they will stick around. For many companies, the biggest challenges are either:


  • Not knowing what the ‘aha’ moment is for a customer—the critical point where someone really understands how your product is going to satisfy their needs.
  • Not measuring definitively when that ‘aha’ moment occurs.


If you’re relying on anecdotal evidence about TTV, that’s not good enough. You need a tool that allows you to see clearly what actions translate to customer retention, and how long it takes to get a customer to that point. Then, work backwards to remove roadblocks slowing it down or find areas of opportunity to speed it up.


2: Increase customer engagement


One of the best predictors of customer loyalty—even better than NPS, which is an industry favorite—is a customer effort score (CES). This metric evaluates how easy it is for a customer to get value from your product. Customers won’t keep coming back if you make it hard for them to get value or require them to put a lot of effort to achieve value.


There are two key things that can improve a CES:


  • Create resources that show customers how to use your product (video, checklists, etc.) and make them easy to find in your knowledge base.
  • Communicate expectations to everyone on the team about their role in the onboarding process, including the customer, so they can achieve TTV sooner.


3: Show them the “finish line”


If you were running a race and had no idea how long it was, what the course looked like, or where the finish line would be, you might have a hard time staying motivated to keep running and it’s unlikely you would finish the race. That’s how your customers feel when you have no clear course map or finish line for their onboarding. Giving vague timelines and general directives about them needing to do something at some point in the future isn’t helpful. Instead:


  • Automate communications in the process.
  • Use GUIDEcx project management software so everyone on your team and the client’s team knows exactly what they are responsible for completing and when it’s due.
  • Show clear progress with milestones and frequent check-ins.
  • Provide reports to all key stakeholders at regular intervals.


Ready for a Better Onboarding Experience?


If your onboarding is leading to more customer churn, GUIDEcx implementation software can help. Find out how our project management software makes onboarding easy by signing up for a 14-day free trial now.

Peter Ord


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