Concierge onboarding for SaaS

Concierge Onboarding for SaaS: A Step-by-Step Guide Ed Chessman February 28, 2023

If you've ever treated yourself to a big city 5-star hotel, chances are you remember the affable concierge and their heartfelt smile as they stood politely at the ready behind a desk with a tidy stack of maps and brochures of local entertainments. Never imposing, yet always ready to help with any request to make your stay that little bit more enjoyable.

Over 65% of us have higher expectations for customer service today than we did 3-5 years ago (Netomi), and a Gartner study confirmed that “value enhancement”—or impacting customers’ perceptions of a product or offering—can increase the probability a customer will stay with the company to 82%. (Gartner)

And 5-star hotels aren't the only place where we expect great customer service: it's now leveraged as a strategic differentiator by SaaS companies in a process called concierge onboarding.

What is concierge onboarding?

Concierge onboarding is a high-touch personal service designed to minimize the time it takes new users to learn a product, thereby accelerating time to value.

It's delivered by a friendly product expert, and offered as an optional user onboarding service to new customers as soon as they sign up for a product trial. The primary purpose of concierge onboarding is to offer the full support of product experts to ensure all people who want to start a trial get the most out of your product in the shortest amount of time.

What Is Concierge Onboarding?

First impressions matter to potential new customers, and concierge onboarding is a perfect way to show that you care and that you are ready to support new customers to achieve success with your product. It is fast becoming an important early step of a successful product-led growth strategy.

And concierge onboarding is tailored and focused on one super important metric: increasing the conversion rate of a lead into a paying customer. As we will see, it can be a great first step to building a strong and loyal partnership with new users of your SaaS product that will pay off in the long run.

What are the benefits of concierge onboarding for SaaS?

SaaS companies who provide a first-class onboarding concierge service realise a number of important benefits:

  1. Teaching new users about key product features significantly reduces the time and effort required to learn your product and accelerates time to value.

  2. Achieving early success in a product trial increases the likelihood of a new user converting to a paying customer.

  3. The high personal touch that characterises concierge onboarding creates an excellent first impression, showing any potential customer that you really do care about them.

  4. Creating a relationship by actually talking with customers provides you with a great opportunity to learn: you can identify product issues early, and it can help you understand what's wrong or learn what's missing from your product. It really is good to talk.

Step-by-step guide to developing concierge onboarding for your SaaS

Great Customer Service

Step 1. Create your concierge team

Passionate product experts make ideal concierge team members, but how you resource your team will, of course, depend on the size and maturity of your company.

In large companies, we often see customer success teams handed responsibility for the onboarding process, while in early stage startups, it's most likely the founder who onboards and directly supports new users.

Give careful thought to any new processes that might need to be created. For example, how to prioritise fixing product issues if they arise, to ensure everything runs like clockwork. Things don't always go as expected, so ensuring clear lines of communication, both internally and with new users, is key.

Step 2. Send a welcome email

As part of a new user onboarding process, it's important to provide a warm welcome email as soon as anyone signs up to start a trial. While there are many ways you can structure this, be sure to include the following in your welcome email:

  1. Your concierge's name (remember, the aim is friendly and personable) and an offer + link to book a meeting with them

  2. Your top 3 product features & benefits (the mantra of always be selling...)

  3. Links to additional content like a product demo, tutorials, documentation, etc.

It's important to ensure new users know your concierge onboarding service is completely optional, too. Some people just don't want to talk and are happy to give things a try by themselves, so make sure they have everything they need to be successful without your direct involvement.

Step 3. Do your research

Spending time researching new users enables you to understand and align your product to their business objectives and priorities from the very start. It's also a great way to show you care and that you will go the extra mile. And here's a tip: send them a LinkedIn connection request to prove you truly are a real human being.

Step 4. Nail the 1st concierge call

Now it's time to shine, but before you go showing off all those wonderful product features, you would be far wiser to spend the time talking to and learning about what's important to your new user. By gaining an understanding of their objectives and their priorities, you can align your product to meet and deliver against each requirement.

Avoid giving a standard product demo, rather suggest using the time to work together to create a first project. Building and seeing something of value together does several important things: it creates a natural affinity between the user and your product, it allows you to gauge their level of interest in becoming a paying customer, and it highlights how much more assistance they might require to become truly successful with your product.

Before the call ends, be sure to schedule a follow-up session to measure progress and to ensure they are getting the most from your product. Keep building and nurturing that all important relationship!

Step 5. Follow up and keep in touch

Once the call is done, send a follow up email summarising the product features you explored, restate how they meet the user's requirements, and confirm the follow-up session. Don't worry if they don't get straight back to you, simply set a reminder to drop them a line in a few days and check how they are doing. 

Another way to keep in touch is through’s in-app video chat helps with onboarding by allowing sales and customer support teams to talk with customers at points of friction with your SaaS product. While the product is somewhat similar to chatbots, the standout element of Glass is that it provides a means for users to connect with a real live person on your team whenever they appear stuck. 

Other websites The Glass Experience

Image. Use in-app video chat to provide personalized help at points of friction with your SaaS product

Other best practices and tips

There are several things to keep in mind to ensure you deliver a great concierge onboarding experience. First, be warm and authentic in all of your communications and interactions. It's ok to automate the welcome email, but a little personalisation can deliver that VIP red carpet-style first impression. And make sure you respond quickly to any questions or requests. These are your top leads, and you don't want to miss any opportunity to convert them to becoming a paying customer.

Work closely with marketing to A/B test your welcome email to find the version that creates the most engagement. You want every guest to feel welcome and have a great experience with your awesome product!

Every new user that engages with your concierge onboarding process provides the perfect opportunity to gather feedback, so check in with everyone frequently, and always ask how they're getting on with your product.

Finally, ensure you've got some retargeting emails lined up to continue nurturing the ones that don't convert when the trial ends. This is also a great time to send surveys and feedback forms to gather additional input to drive product and process improvements, too.

In closing

Great customer service is a proven differentiator when it comes to increasing conversions of trials to paid customers. It's a tried and proven method to create customer loyalty and increase customer retention. Concierge onboarding, when delivered by a knowledgeable and friendly expert, delivers a superior user onboarding experience by helping new users become successful fast and with minimal effort on their part.

And in the age of the attention economy, providing an onboarding concierge really should be a top priority for every SaaS business looking to increase their sales.

Ed Chessman is founder of cowXsales, a startup sales consultancy. He has created and closed over $22M in new business revenue leading sales for global software companies and early stage startups. Early stage tech startups are Ed’s true love where he enjoys working with founders to build great products. Ed lives on the south coast of England where he enjoys spending time with his family, running in the South Downs, and trying to master the art of sea swimming. 


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