SaaS business trying to work your way with user retention?
We’ve all been there.
Not being able to acquire users is hard, but it is harder to watch your active users churn.
And the hard truth is, you never know what the problem is until you start suffering the consequences.
But hey, happens to the best of us, all of our SaaS products.
Now, there is no easy solution to magically fix your user experience or customer journey to make your product more likable.
But there is a way to make it easier to use and valuable to users, which is a shortcut to…
Making your product more likable ❤️
I am talking about user onboarding for SaaS, and if you are still reading, you’ll find great value in what we’re talking about, which is:
- What a user onboarding software for SaaS is,
- Why user onboarding tools are crucial for any SaaS product,
- What to look for in a good SaaS user onboarding software,
- How to pick the right one, and
- The best SaaS user onboarding tools (free & paid) for startups and SaaS businesses on the scale
Let’s dive right in ⬇️
What is a SaaS User Onboarding Software?
A SaaS user onboarding software is any tool that is used to help onboard users of a SaaS product. By definition, a user onboarding tool used for SaaS products is a digital adoption platform or any other software that can help create user onboarding flows, effective product experiences, and different forms of in-app experiences for the best possible user adoption and retention rates.
Some key features of a SaaS user onboarding software include a wide range of user onboarding UX patterns (app guides, interactive tutorials, etc.), user engagement tools, analytics features, user segments, and other product features depending on the solution you need.
One thing to note is that a SaaS product can benefit from any software as a user or customer onboarding software.
👉 For example, a no-code user onboarding tool like UserGuiding can be the solution for a growing company.
👉 Meanwhile, a knowledge base software can be enough for a startup with 50 active users because all they need might be a demo with the sales team.
So, the user onboarding solution you need for your specific SaaS product matters!
But here’s a more important question:
Why every SaaS product needs user onboarding software?
There is more than one reason why you might want to do user onboarding the easy and effective way rather than the hard and ineffective way 🤷
But here’s the top 3 main reasons why you should consider a SaaS user onboarding solution:
1- Retention Made Easy
SaaS and customer retention.
You might know it by now but, no retention means no business for SaaS.
A SaaS is based on a subscription business model; you have to sell your product every month, not just once. In fact…
In SaaS, it is much cheaper and easier to keep your existing users than acquiring new customers.
Here’s some stats:
👉 55% of customers said that they have returned a product because they didn’t know how to use it.
👉 According to the same survey, 63% of users say that user onboarding is a crucial part of their buying decisions.
So, to make sure you are not constantly chasing users who will contribute to your churn rate in 2 weeks, creating a good user experience with a good user onboarding process is a non-negotiable.
And to do it the fastest and easiest way, you need a powerful tool.
2- Decreased Developer Time
Let’s be honest; there is no shortage of developers in 2023.
If you want your own product tour and checklist, you can find a freelancer or get your product team on the job in a matter of hours!
Yet you have to ask yourself:
❓ Do you really want to be that dependent on developers?
And the questions don’t end there:
❓ Do your developers have better things to do that would benefit your company more?
❓ Do you have enough resources to build an in-house user onboarding?
❓ Will you have all the features a user onboarding tool offers, and is it worth it?
Developers are always busy creating, maintaining, updating, and improving products.
The main question is…
👉 Do you want to spend precious developer time on maintaining and upgrading your product…
Or on creating a user onboarding experience that needs to be maintained by hand every few weeks?
If you think you wanna go with the former, make sure you check our article Developing Onboarding Walkthroughs Insource is Hard written by our CTO and Co-founder.
If you know the latter is the right answer, let’s roll.
3- Continous Value Proposition
In order to keep your customers each month, you have to make sure that they are using your product and keep getting value from it.
And tracking that value is not always easy with in-house efforts.
Only when you have the best onboarding possible for your product can you manage to segment users, use powerful analytics, check on conversion rate, user behavior, and continuous product adoption.
All in one user onboarding solution, all integrated together.
Don’t believe me?
👉 Fast-growing companies that are trying to reach product-market fit have a 20% 8-week customer retention rate.
While the top SaaS companies have around 38%.
The well-designed onboarding process for the new users makes the difference.
For metrics, examples, guidelines, and checklist, check out our HUGE guide to SaaS Onboarding.
What Makes a Good SaaS Onboarding Software?
There are so many user onboarding tools that assist you in different aspects when attending to new users, but I’ll try to provide you with just the right tool for onboarding users inside your product.
I’d rather tell you what to look for in your user onboarding tool than give you a name directly.
But since UserGuiding ticks all the boxes, let me walk you through its key features.
No technical knowledge necessary, not even a bit
Here’s the thing:
You are opting for a user onboarding tool because you don’t want to bother a developer in the first place.
So, why would you select a tool that requires coding or any technical knowledge?
“No-code” means no code. Not at all.
👉 The tool that you are going to pick should be so simple that anyone from any department in your company should be able to create, maintain, and edit guides as they see fit.
With UserGuiding, creating an onboarding element is as simple as dragging and dropping.
Personalized experiences via user segmentation
One size does never fit all.
A user might have a different native language, might have a different traffic source, might be a different type of user in your websites with different permissions.
👉 The SaaS user onboarding tool you will choose should allow you to choose which guides will work for which segment of users.
With Userguiding, you can easily create segments with a wide range of filters and access the exact group of users or even individual users that you want to target.
This way, you can easily see user activities and user behavior analytics while orchestrating personalized onboarding journeys for your power users and each user segment.
The more onboarding UX patterns, the better
One of the main advantages of using a tool for in-app onboarding experiences is that you have access to a wide range of core and additional features.
From big features like product analytics tools to smaller feats like feature tags, you can have many capabilities on your onboarding tech stack.
But more importantly, the onboarding materials at hand and how they are delivered matter greatly too.
If you have a product that has more than a single feature, just a single interactive product tour will most likely be insufficient to fully onboard a user. This is where checklists, tooltips, hotspots, surveys, and help centers come into play.
UserGuiding offers various onboarding elements to complete your user onboarding process.
Full customization to fit them into your product
Yes, you are using a third-party product onboarding tool to create your onboarding materials.
But those elements have to look like they are a part of your own product.
You most likely have a brand identity and a brand voice.
If the tool that you will use to create an onboarding checklist with, for example, has its own non-customizable design, it will not be that pleasing to look at.
Most tools offer customization, but it is usually limited to a few options. Meanwhile, in UserGuiding, you can turn the onboarding elements you have created into actual parts of your product.
Reach onboarding materials on-demand
You don’t know when a user needs help.
Now, an immediate popup at the beginning of an onboarding journey you can’t find later won’t do any good for you or your users.
All the info will go forgotten.
Instead, user onboarding materials should be available whenever users need them.
That’s why we have resource centers among UserGuiding’s key features.
In our own panel, the very first customer onboarding experience users go through is 2 clicks away ⬇️
In-depth analytics to measure performance
How can you improve something if you don’t track it?
For SaaS products, a good detailed analytics feature can give you great insight into customer satisfaction, customer engagement, product usage, other user actions, and other data.
Plus, rich analytics that section its data into different features (like so ⬇️) can be extra helpful.
But then, how do you pick the best SaaS user onboarding tool for you?
Before we dive into our list of best SaaS user onboarding software, let’s take a look at:
How to Pick the Right SaaS User Onboarding Software for You?
Through all the core features and additional features, user interfaces, and pricing plans, choosing the right in-app user onboarding tool for your SaaS product can turn into a hassle.
There is always too much to consider and too many criteria to take into account.
So to make it easier, I’ve come up with the 3 most important criteria to consider before purchasing any user or customer onboarding tool.
Let’s see ⬇️
1- Know your needs
Essentially, the most important criterion to be aware of is your own needs for your SaaS product.
Some questions to keep in mind can be:
❓ What is the problem you are facing?
❓ What brings you to look for a product onboarding tool?
❓ What is already in your tech stack and what else will you potentially need?
Many SaaS businesses on the smaller side fall into the pitfall of going with an “all-in-one” SaaS onboarding solution with more features than they need.
Eventually, they end up paying for an onboarding emails feature when they have an email platform on their stack or prioritize analytics features when their analytics tool at hand can offer more detailed analytics data.
To avoid that pitfall, here’s your guideline in knowing your needs:
✅ Define Your Onboarding Goals
Start by understanding the objectives you want to achieve with the software.
Do you want to increase user activation rates?
Reduce user churn?
Introduce personalized onboarding experiences?
Or perhaps just shorten the product adoption time?
Your goals will dictate the features you need.
✅ Evaluate Features
Different onboarding tools offer a variety of features, from interactive walkthroughs to tooltips, in-app messages, video tutorials, and more.
Most are powerful tools, but only some offer the right set of features for you.
List down the features that are essential for your users and match these with what’s available in the market.
Make sure you are not overwhelmed or underwhelmed with any tool’s capabilities.
✅ Integration and Compatibility
Here is the other side of the feature evaluation.
You might think that a feature is necessary for your new Saas customer onboarding tool, while you might already have access to it via another tool you already have.
Another point to keep in mind is integration.
If you are considering a tool with your tech stack in mind and it doesn’t integrate with your tools at hand(e.g. CRM, analytics tools), that means a whole lotta manual labor.
Also, make sure you always check if the tool offers services for your app format.
If you are a mobile app and the onboarding tool doesn’t work for you, there is no point in consideration.
And lastly, consider how the software will accommodate your needs as your user base grows.
Will it still be effective if you have 10,000 users?
2- Know your budget
The pricing of a tool is a factor none of us can overlook.
But if you know to take into account 3 key factors, you’ll sail smoothly ⬇️
✅ Understand Pricing Models
Onboarding tools might have different pricing plans and models – some charge per active user, some have a flat monthly fee, and others might offer tiered pricing based on features.
Understand what you’re paying for and see if it aligns with your expected ROI.
✅ Hidden Costs
Always and always look out for potential hidden costs.
This can be in the form of additional charges for premium features, overage fees for exceeding user limits, or costs related to implementing the tool.
In any case, make sure to talk to a representative in advance to confirm a pricing plan in fact has the exact same promises you think they do.
You don’t want those extra fees dawning on you after making a commitment.
✅ Trial Periods and Demos
Many SaaS onboarding tools offer a trial period or a demo.
And to be honest, if an in-app onboarding solution doesn’t let you get in-app and hands-on, believe me, that’s probably not your solution.
Utilize trials to get a feel for the software and to understand its true value before committing to a purchase.
Plus, this might be a chance to see if your plan is what is offered and evade additional fees before making a commitment.
3- Know when it’s not a good fit
I don’t know for how long you’ve been looking for a SaaS user onboarding application, but take it from me; there are too many times you might need to back away and look for a different solution.
Simply because the fit isn’t good.
And to prevent that before it happens to you, be careful with:
✅ Complexity vs. Simplicity
If your team finds the software too complex to set up or manage, it might end up being more of a hindrance than a help.
An effective tool should make your processes smoother, not add to the confusion.
And again, just between the two of us…
What kind of an onboarding tool fails at onboarding its users, no matter the complexity?
✅ Feedback from Users
Your users are your livelihood; why not get their opinion?
Make sure to collect feedback from your users regarding the onboarding experience.
If they find the onboarding flow disruptive or unhelpful, it’s a sign that you might need to reevaluate your onboarding approach.
Or just that the tool might not be the right fit for your product 🤷
✅ Performance Impact
Some onboarding tools might affect the performance of your application, especially if they’re heavy or not optimized.
Always test and monitor your app’s performance after implementing an onboarding solution.
✅ Lack of Support and Updates
Continuous support from the software provider is crucial.
And yet, often overlooked.
If you’re experiencing issues and not receiving timely assistance, or if the software isn’t regularly updated to add new features or patch bugs, it might be time to reconsider your choice.
Just to underline it once again:
If it doesn’t help and instead adds to the chaos, it’s not your tool.
So overall, once you know your needs and budget and when you know the difference between a tool working for you and when it’s undermining you…
You are good to pick your user onboarding software for your SaaS product.
And since we’re at that point now…
10 Best SaaS User Onboarding Software in 2023
Now that you know what to look for in a SaaS onboarding tool and yourself, let’s talk about some of the best SaaS user onboarding software.
UserGuiding helps you create unique in-app experiences for each user through user segmentation and various features such as interactive product tours, user guides, tooltips, user onboarding checklists, in-app surveys and NPS surveys, and self-service resource centers.
The best thing about UserGuiding though, is that it requires zero technical knowledge.
Unless you want to code for free, full-on customization.
So, anyone on your team, from marketing and sales to customer support and customer success teams can create customer experiences, user journeys, all sorts of in-app experiences in a matter of minutes.
✅ Fast and easy setup
✅ No coding is required
✅ Easy to use
✅ More affordable than many other products
✅ You can try the product without the need to talk to a salesperson
✅ Satisfying customer support
❌ No mobile support
Basic Plan: $89/month when billed annually for up to 2,500 MAU
Professional Plan: $389/month when billed annually for up to 20,000 MAU
Corporate Plan: $689+/month when billed annually for custom MAU
✅ Capable product
✅ Good at demonstrating new features
✅ In-depth Analytics
❌ Difficult implementation
❌ Limited customization
❌ High pricing
❌ You can face numerous bugs
- 14-day free trial (no credit card required)
- Traction Plan: $249/month when billed annually for up to 2500 MAU
- Growth Plan: $599/month when billed annually for up to 20,000 MAU
- Enterprise Plan: Starting from $1,000/month when billed annually.
Chameleon is an onboarding tool that positions itself as a highly customizable tool. Different types of flows can be created and customized with this tool. You can use UI elements such as modals and checklists. Chameleon also has a segmentation feature but you shouldn’t expect something advanced from it.
✅ Advanced customization
✅ Can code your elements for you
✅ Enables you to embed self-serve product announcements and onboarding menus to your product
❌ Difficult for non-technical people
❌ Slow and clunky design
❌ Issues with support
❌ Weak segmentation
- Free trial available for 14 days
- Startup plan: $279/month for 2000 MAU, $753/month for 15.000 MAU, including 3 surveys, 3 launchers, and no A/B testing
- Growth plan: $999/month for 2000 MAU, $1949/month for 15.000 MAU, including unlimited experiences and A/B testing
- Enterprise plan: Custom quote
Userlane allows you to onboard users, customers, vendors, and employees to your products. Its implementation is relatively easy like UserGuiding, and its price is optimal for recently established businesses with low-budgets.
✅ Automated employee training
✅ Optimal pricing
✅ Good UX and UI
❌ No pricing model for starters
❌ Challenging to implement for smaller
❌ Can’t try the product on your own (you need to talk to a salesperson)
Userlane offers custom prices for each of their customers because they believe that “custom pricing is the best way to effectively serve such a diverse customer base“.
Appcues is a user onboarding platform that helps you create interactive user onboarding experiences, and is one of the first to do it.
✅ Advanced segmentation
✅ Data visualization
✅ Various templates
✅ Flexibility (You can embed custom code into tooltips to change their appearance, run scripts, embed an iframe, or insert buttons that do custom actions)
❌ Not truly no-code
❌ Difficult for non-technical people
❌ Support is not responsive
❌ Takes time to adopt
- The Essentials Package starts at $249/month when billed annually with 2500 MAU.
- The Growth Package starts at $879/month when billed annually, again at 2500 MAU.
- The Enterprise Package doesn’t have a set pricing; you need to get a custom quotation with the sales team
✅ Solid for enterprises
✅ Enhanced creativity
✅ Good customer support
❌ Requires technical knowledge
❌ Takes time to implement
❌ Above average pricing
WalkMe offers customized plans for each of their customers according to their product.
According to the market, these customizations end up resulting in higher prices than their competitors. WalkMe users claim that the average pricing hovers around $9000/month.
✅Solid for enterprises
✅ Allows you to export scenarios into Powerpoint and articles
✅ Responsive support
❌ Lacks systematic quality analytics
❌ Unorganized content
❌ Needs to improve UX and UI
Whatfix’s doesn’t provide you with a fixed price.
They offer each customer a customized plan. The pricing can vary depending on the size of your product, and the number of your monthly users.
✅ Responsive to issues
✅ Open source library
✅ Free to use
❌ Limited capability
❌ Hard to maintain
❌ Doesn’t support all browsers
Shepher is free to use.
Intercom is known as one of the most popular customer messaging platforms.
In April 2019, Intercom launched its “Product Tours” feature. It allows you to create step-by-step interactive onboarding guides. Intercom’s Product Tours helps you manage adoption and onboard new visitors by building product walkthroughs and tours within your product.
✅ Easy to use
✅ Intuitive setup
❌ Not many options (such as checklists, modals, and other key elements)
❌ Limited functionality
❌ Limited analytics
Intercom Product Tours Pricing
Using Intercom Product Tours will cost, at the very least, around $273/month, as the Product Tours add-on is sold for $199/month and to get the add-on, you must possess an already existing subscription which starts from $74/month.
Stonly is a self-serve support and user education platform that offers engaging and interactive guides for software products.
✅ Engaging Help Centers and Knowledge Bases
✅ Responsive customer service
❌ Hard and slow setup
❌ Requires technical knowledge
❌ Limited customization
❌ Not interactive enough
- Free plan forever without charge for up to 1000 MAU and 5 guides.
- Business Plan: $199/month with 4000 monthly guide views, $399 with 15000 monthly guide views, unlimited guides, and additional VIP features.
- Custom Enterprise Plans: Additional Enterprise features with increased usage limits, but you need to contact Stonly’s sales team for a custom quote.
To Wrap It Up…
SaaS user onboarding software are fundamental tools to help you increase customer retention and acquisition.
With detailed analytics, interactive guides, in-app messages, surveys, self-serve knowledge base solutions, and more, you can offer a better onboarding process for not only your monthly users but also potential customers.
And one of the solutions I shared above can be the right one for you.
Now, there is no time to waste, and it is time you started out with a good SaaS user onboarding tool.
So, give UserGuiding’s free trial a try! ⬇️
Frequently Asked Questions
What is user onboarding software?
User onboarding software helps you educate, guide, and train your users about your product and eventually help them find value in your product and adopt it.
How can SaaS improve onboarding process?
Using a third-party platform will help you save much-needed time and energy and will provide you with the necessary abilities to improve your SaaS onboarding process.
What is an onboarding platform?
An onboarding platform helps your employees or users to easily adopt your product and find value in it.