Top customer onboarding metrics for SaaS products

Metrics you can use to assess engagement, adoption, and progress through the onboarding phase.
January 20, 2022
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Fact: A solid customer onboarding experience will most definitely improve customer retention and reduce churn. 

Yet, we all struggle to set up a failsafe system for our businesses, to monitor and fix all the chinks in our customer onboarding and implementation armor. 

Let's face it. The post-sale period is bumpy and chaotic. There's the kickoff, planning, setting up, implementation, testing, and finally going live. Your customers expect you to do most of the heavy lifting because they've paid good money for your product. The onus, therefore, is on you to establish a system that guarantees a consistently pleasant experience for your customers. 

Before we think about improving our overall approach, we need to have the right onboarding metrics to measure our current process's effectiveness and then identify areas for improvement. 

This post looks at the metrics you can use to assess engagement, adoption, and progress through the customer onboarding phase.

Product and project metrics

1. Go-live time: If you’re an early-stage team or at an early phase of customer onboarding, measuring the time taken to go live is the best place to start. This works best if your product has limited features or has a more homogeneous set of users. This also works best if your service means a longer time before customers start observing and deriving value from your service. In such a case, a simple onboarding process and a shorter time to go live so customers can move further along their adoption journey. 

2. Completion percentage at go-live: In addition to measuring go-live times, you can also look at the project’s completion percentage at go-live. Sometimes go-lives happen on time, but after sacrificing quite a lot of the initially identified scope. So the percentage of agreed-upon scope is delivered at go-live is a valuable metric to know. 

3. ROI/Value Delivery: Capturing value delivered at go-live or soon after go-live is hard but perhaps the most important for your team to measure. As scope changes happen during implementation, it is critical to keep a tab on how that has influenced your value delivery. Too little ROI delivered at the promised time is not enough to ensure retention and usage. 

4. Time to First Value (TTFV): TTFV is when your customer starts to derive actual value from your product and is no longer just learning how it works. This value can be measured in various ways, like cost or time saved in their workflow or the number of transactions executed in a given time. In mature companies, go-live times are replaced by Time-to-First-Value (TTFV).  

TTFV is a subjective metric based on your product and your customer needs. But, it is the most critical metric for mature customer support teams and if your customers use features that provide different elements of value to them. 

Though ascertaining when a customer officially finishes onboarding will vary from team to team and company to company, TTFV is an excellent metric to support more diverse sets of users. In such a case, customize your onboarding to show them an early value, so they needn’t learn about all the features during the onboarding process itself. 

5. Customer Onboarding NPS: Another simple metric for early-stage teams is the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Customers are asked to fill out a single-question survey that expresses their sentiment towards your product. This, again, could vary across teams, organizations, or products, based on the onboarding pathway that works best. Here though, timing is everything. The more accurately timed your NPS survey is, the more reliable and accurate the result.

6. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Rating: While NPS measures overall satisfaction, CSAT is helpful to measure a user’s satisfaction with a particular feature. This metric is most effective when there are different onboarding journeys based on various features and their values to different sets of users. 

To calculate CSAT, you ask your users to rank your product on a numerical scale (say 1-10) to find the average ranking across respondents. 

Task/Phase-wise CSAT: You could also introduce intermediary CSAT ratings for critical tasks or phase completion when you are farther along your customer journey. 

7. Customer onboarding engagement: There are several ways to measure this engagement, and it's a good idea to start tracking the following: 

  1. Percentage of customers that start and complete the onboarding process
  2. Average time to complete the customer onboarding sequence
  3. Customer onboarding abandonment - identifying the percentage of customers who stop using the product before understanding it fully. 

8. Product adoption and usage: This is an excellent indicator of both the success of your customer onboarding and future retention.  Product adoption/usage rate allows you to measure the level of engagement your customer has with your product based on how often they use it and for how long. You can use Daily active users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU) to calculate how many users are active on your platform daily or monitor login activity to see how many customers log in and how often.

Four strategies to improve product adoption

9.  Number of customer support tickets: This indicates your training or customer onboarding modules’ effectiveness and highlights areas where proactive support and retraining may be necessary.

Customer onboarding/project team metrics

1. Average Time to Resolution: This is simply a measure of the time between the logging of a complaint and its resolution. Unsurprisingly, how you deal with customer issues directly affects customer loyalty and retention. Understanding this metric will help you know how efficient and well-trained your team is. 

2. First Contact Resolution Rate (FCRR): The First Contact Resolution Rate metric tracks the percentage of customer service cases resolved within the first interaction. A higher percentage indicates that you have a well-oiled machine and that your customer success team can easily understand and support your customers. 

A low FCRR is a good place to start investigating why it’s taking longer to resolve customer support issues. Is this because your product/features are complicated? Or does your team need to be further trained?  Identifying the problem can help lower your First Contact Resolution Rate and improve customer satisfaction.

3. Time spent on critical tasks or phases: As your team grows, tracking the time taken and the delays associated with key project tasks and phases of the onboarding projects makes sense. This way, you can benchmark time duration for a phase or key milestone across regions and team members and understand where you have bottlenecks or process challenges.

4. Team utilization: If you have a large professional services team working on implementation and onboarding, utilization is a metric that will help measure the team’s efficiency and be aware of when they need to staff up/staff down.

The metrics you choose will depend entirely on the size and stage of growth your organization currently is in. The more you measure, the more data and information you have at your disposal to identify and improve your onboarding process and provide top-of-the-shelf value to your customers.

 Introducing Rocketlane's Time Tracking for Customer Projects

If you’re looking to improve the onboarding experience for your customers drastically, give Rocketlane a try!

Rocketlane, with its purpose-built customer onboarding platform, enables businesses to accelerate the time-to-value of their products, achieve faster go-lives, increase renewals and boost customer satisfaction. It brings the focus back to the customer in customer onboarding through a fully collaborative experience. Rocketlane replaces general project management, communication, and document collaboration tools with a unique, unified workspace that improves communication, collaboration, and project visibility for teams and their customers. With insights from trends and benchmarks across projects, teams can develop and optimize playbooks and best practices with continuous improvement.

See also

  1. The Ultimate Guide to SaaS Customer Onboarding (2022)
  2. Tips to Craft An Effective Customer Onboarding Methodology
  3. The Customer Onboarding Maturity Model

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Rahul Sridhar
Content Marketer @ Rocketlane

Content Marketer at Rocketlane. Former teacher turned tech writer. Occasionally dabbles in comedy and rap music.

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