Running an online business is hard enough. Marketing of Cloud based SaaS product is different from other marketing; to start with, it is a B2B product. It might not make sense to users in the first go. It is constantly evolving due to the never ending innovations in technology, making it even more difficult to keep the users updated. A SaaS startup faces numerous hurdles, especially when it comes to building their subscriber base. The number of on-boarding users become a major metric to see where they are leading. If you include a serious innovation parameter, as is the case with the most startups, things become much more unpredictable and risky, but also potentially more profitable. But that’s only if you manage to get the mix right, and that’s a big if.
However, there’s one factor which is particularly important when you’re trying to make people understand an innovative concept or at least a new way of executing a familiar process. That factor is none other than usability.
It is not an easy task to make your website or app user friendly. But there are a couple of cheats you can implement to manage some level of usability. The main concept behind these guidelines is to reduce the time it takes users to understand what they need to do. To create a better UX, here is a quick list of ideas you can refer to.
1. Online Help Tips for a SaaS startup
A good place to start is by designing online help tips, which appear while users work their way through your service. These are very helpful in solving questions on the spot. Keep in mind to keep them very short, otherwise your users will end up passing on them.
Especially in the initial steps, you might need to guide users along the most basic setups. ‘Wizards’ (multiple choice, step by step walkthroughs essentially) can help you train them in a more hands-on and playful way. This technique can be used while guiding users through your processes and limiting the ways they can make mistakes.
3. Hover Tips
When your users have to enter data or complete a form, it is important to introduce hover tips. Any time there’s a field that needs filling, it is nice to offer some kind of explanation or clarification that will appear once you hover the mouse over. Even trivial fields -like asking for an email- can have a hover of ‘we will not share your email with anyone’. It’s surprising how little sense some forms can make to an outsider or how for one reason or another you might lose people who simply will not fill a form – some of which you could have retained by a quick hover tip.
4. Video Walk Through Of Tasks
Video helps some people more than others, so make sure to give them the option to learn what your service is about. Some users grasp better with visuals while some prefer to learn on their downtime (eg in their lunch break) just by viewing a video and still, others like to see (and share) clips they can be fast forwarded to the helpful part. Video, though, is generally expensive to make. Even if you avoid hiring professionals and do this in-house, editing can take up to 8 hours of work for every 5 minutes of video, especially if you haven’t done this before. In any case, once the other methods are in place that’s the next thing to cover.
5. A Manual Or FAQ
For every customer that asks for the 100th time about your refund policy, there are many who have the same query but never bother contacting you. Those customers are most likely to immediately turn to a competitor to fulfill their objective. Even just a short FAQ can prevent some of them from immediately turning away and give your service a second chance. The drawback is that your manual or FAQ has to change as often as your service does. Its great advantage though, it is that frees up time on customer support department, because more people finding the answer on their own means less time for you on the phone. If you notice people ask you the same questions over and over again, it is a sign that you need to add those on your FAQ page of you SaaS startup website.
You can see a good example of how such ideas are implemented in our online inventory management service over at megaventory.com.
Of course, at the end of the day these are just tips and once you’ve grown in volume and traction it’s time to get an actual usability study done. Some people earn their living making websites that are easier to use and anyone who’s not done this has a lot to learn from the people who have. After all, you can spot websites which have that effort under their belt a mile away – and for good reason. Eventually, you can just hire one such professional.
A very popular alternative today is CRM systems of course, some of which have become very user-friendly for the non-tech-savvy people. One of the signs that a company is in need of a CRM solution is when customer support through e-mail is not enough anymore. Another good reason is if they want to reach a large base of leads that take a lot of time to turn into sales. Without a CRM system these tasks can be unmanageable.
Nevertheless, not all solutions are for every SaaS startup. When choosing a CRM solution, businesses should first of all think about their client base and their product. At Megaventory our product is a web-based system for inventory management and order tracking and it is quite helpful for our clients to have walk-through guides, that guide the users through every step of the business process.
Of course, not every SaaS startup is the same and for that reason a common mistake many businesses do is that they get carried away and buy a fully-featured solution, when they only need something very simple in the beginning. Even so, if you’re not satisfied, you can always cancel your subscription or change your package.
Note: This is a guest post by Eirini Kafourou of Megaventory.