customer onboarding metrics

4 customer onboarding metrics for SaaS companies

Customer Onboarding Metrics help measure how efficient the onboarding process is and which parts need improvement.

Different companies can measure different customer onboarding metrics as per requirements.

Why customer onboarding metrics?

Customer Onboarding is one of the most important aspects of the customer journey.

Customer onboarding should be one of the first focus areas when the customer success practice is set up in your company. Why? We recorded a video with our Founder & CEO, Puneet Kataria to discuss the same.

As you know, the importance of post sales functions is increasing in the subscription economy. Customer onboarding is one of the most crucial and first post sales function that the customer experiences and their experience decides whether to renew the contract or not.

Onboarding Guide

No matter how good the product is, if the customer onboarding is not effective, the customer is likely to churn as they will not be able to use it to the best of its capabilities.

To make sure the customer onboards properly, a customer onboarding framework is required. A customer onboarding framework has all the milestones and tasks, the time required for each task along with the value that the customer gets as they cross each milestone.

The customer should be able to get to value (or at least an early value) as soon as possible, by putting in the least effort. 

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But there should NOT be only one customer onboarding process. Customers buy the same product for different reasons as each product has several different use cases. For example, Marketo can be used for Lead Management, Email Marketing, Consumer Marketing, etc.

Why should a customer who plans to use Marketo for Lead Management be taught the features that are required for Consumer Marketing?

Depending on the number of use cases, there should be different onboarding processes.

customer onboarding

To make sure that all customers get onboarded smoothly and actually start using your product, you should measure several customer onboarding metrics.

However, there are 4 important customer onboarding metrics that every SaaS company should measure

1. Time to Value

This is one of the most important customer onboarding metrics that needs to be measured. As already mentioned above, the onboarding process should help the customers reach an early value ASAP.

But, usually the customer success team teaches all the features to the customer at one go. This is where they go WRONG as it increases the time to value considerably. And time is precious for everyone.

When a customer purchases your product, s/he is excited to learn about it and use it. Slowly, as time progresses, his/her curiosity starts decreasing. The more time it takes for the customer to get to value, the more doubts they start having about how good the product is and their decision to buy it. After all, they had bought the product to achieve their goals faster and make their lives easier.

So, it is important to teach customers only those features that will help them achieve their goals. If their goal is not easy to achieve and will take time, they should at least see an early value so that they start trusting your product.

It is not necessary for the customers to learn about all the features during the onboarding process only. Not only will they get confused but also can be frustrated because it would be time consuming and they would not be getting any results.

Always try to reduce the onboarding time as much as possible by only teaching the required features. The shorter the onboarding period, higher is the probability of customers renewing the contract.

2. Customer Engagement

You can’t and shouldn’t wait till the end of the onboarding process to figure out whether the customers are going to use the product or not.

If the customer is not engaging with the product, then there is some problem and you need to address that first before you move forward. Maybe the customer did not understand the basics and hence is unable to use the product.

It is difficult to predict what issues the customer is actually facing and here customer success software can be a lifesaver.

Using a customer success software, you can know for how much time are they using the product for, how active they are, what their engagement score is, what their health is, when was the last login etc.

If you see that the customer is not actively using your software, you know that this is a warning sign and you need to talk to the customer to understand their concerns.

Customer Engagement

3. Specific Data Analysis

The beauty of a customer success platform is that you can drill down on the abundance of the data that is already being monitored to gain valuable insights about the customers.

Data analysis will help you understand each customer’s specific problems. Are the customers using the features that you taught? If not, you should try to find out the reason.

Are customers raising too many support tickets? Maybe, they did not understand properly.

Are there too many open tickets? If yes, then to need to notify the support team to close them on a priority basis.

Analyzing the data can tell you what all the things you need to improve.

Data analysis

4. Milestones Completed

I have used the word “milestone” in this blog before.

What are milestones and why are they important?

Milestones are the stepping stones that a customer has to go through before they can achieve their goals. Milestones are critical as that allows the customer to achieve their goals by following the right process and putting in the minimum effort.

It is like learning the letters of a language before you learn the words. If you do vice versa it will not only be time-consuming but you will also get frustrated as you will not learn anything.

Milestones can be set via a customer success platform by the customer success manager (CSM) depending on what the goal of the customer is. It is important that only those milestones are set that help the customer reach the end goal and help them to adopt the product.

Milestones are not just time-bound tasks that need to be completed by the customer. A customer should understand why they need to do complete those milestones and also start following those processes while using the product. Only then will they be able to derive the benefits of your product.

It is the responsibility of the CSM that when a customer completes the milestones, the product adoption should also increase.


To make sure each customer is provided with a consistent and awesome onboarding experience, you should also have an onboarding checklist in place.

An onboarding checklist contains all the essential tasks that a CSM needs to do so that they don’t miss anything and the customer gets properly onboarded.

In the end, it is important to measure the right customer onboarding metrics which depends on your product and also the customer segment you are targeting. For the products which need to be used daily, you need to monitor the last login but for some other products, it is important to use certain specific features to gain maximum benefits from the product while in some other products, you need to be in contact with the customer frequently and hence you should measure the last touchpoint.

If you are measuring the wrong customer onboarding metrics, you are doomed and you won’t be able to figure out the real pain points of the customer. It is like a doctor treating you for an illness that you don’t have. You can now correlate the metrics with what the outcome is going to be! ?

As the onboarding process becomes better, the churn rate will decrease, and renewals will increase which will eventually lead to an increase in the Life Time Value (LTV) of customers.


Arnab is a content marketer at CustomerSuccessBox. In his free time he loves watching videos on YouTube and reading about entrepreneurship and startups.