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Better Done Than Perfect · Season 1 · Episode 10

Helping Users Do Their Work with Kristina Quinones

You’ll get a glimpse into how they do onboarding at MeetEdgar, learn about their 7-day free trial experiment, content batching parties, and much more.

Kristina Quinones

How can we improve SaaS onboarding, if user success requires doing hands-on work? How can you motivate them? Should you hire an onboarding specialist? Today’s guest, Kristina Quinones, divulges her onboarding secrets and strategies as Head of Customer Experience at MeetEdgar. You’ll get a glimpse into how they do onboarding, learn about their 7-day free trial experiment, content batching parties, and much more.

Show Notes 📝

Thanks for listening! If you found the episode useful, please spread the word about this new show on Twitter mentioning @userlist, or leave us a review on iTunes.

Thanks for listening! If you found the episode useful, please spread the word on Twitter mentioning @userlist, or leave us a review on iTunes.

Key Learnings 💡

Kristina Quinones is the Head of Customer Experience at MeetEdgar, a popular tool for social media scheduling. In this episode, she and Jane of Userlist dissect MeetEdgar’s onboarding process, the company’s support-driven mission, and how they strategically — and passionately — engage with customers throughout their journeys.

MeetEdgar: from conception to collaboration

Kristina has been with MeetEdgar for over 7 years. Initially an educational company that taught social media marketing to small business owners, MeetEdgar evolved into a SaaS product when its founders identified a hole in the marketplace. There was no software at the time for executing the strategies MeetEdgar was already teaching.

MeetEdgar’s target audience has always been, since 2014, small business owners. This includes solopreneurs and microbusinesses (teams under 10 people). 

MeetEdgar also seems to follow this microbusiness approach with a team of 11, quite a few of which are developers.

Kristina’s role, on the other hand, is an essential one:

“I am in charge of not just the vision, but making sure that our projects are executed, making sure that, amongst the advocate team, our feedback, and our viewpoints, and our strategies are heard at the top level of the company.”

Kristina puts an emphasis on how tight-knit the team is and how they all work together to provide “an extremely cohesive customer experience”. The marketing team and CX team, in particular,  work closely together. She elaborates:

“Our campaigns are done in tandem to make sure that what we're offering our potential customers, and what our audience is seeing, matches up with what they're going to actually experience when they're in our app, whether for a trial or they're already a paying customer.”

There are two reasons the company evolved into this insists its departments work closely together:

  1. It’s a small company.
  2. Work flows easier, thanks to the team’s skillset, and a lot more stuff gets done.

Kristina highly recommends cross-collaboration to any small SaaS teams out there.

User onboarding roadblocks

Moving into the territory of user onboarding, Kristina explains that there’s a lot of frontloading of work that has to be done before the app can do anything for the user. This is a challenge not only for the user, but also for the MeetEdgar team, who are still scratching their heads in search for the best onboarding experience.

Once the setup mists subside, the customer can expect a clear-as-day outcome:

“The main outcome that we promise to our customers is that Edgar will save them time on social, and help them spend more time engaging and creating rather than babysitting social media.”

But not all customers will see the value of the app instantaneously, as the setup stage poses as a time-consuming hurdle:

“Because of the work that is required to get Edgar to that state upfront, it can be difficult sometimes for some folks to immediately see the value of Edgar. Especially if we’ve caught them at the wrong time — maybe they signed up, but they really don't have that hour or two to dedicate to getting Edgar filled with content.”

The user’s internal motivation is admittedly difficult to instigate. Kristina’s sees this as an ever-evolving experience:

“If you've done everything in your power that you know of to be able to capture your customers’ interest and get them engaged, then that's really all you can do. At the end of the day, people are going to make their choices, and you can then use your data to make decisions on what you might change.”

One of the things the MeetEdgar team makes a priority is being available for their customers via monthly workshops and engagements, such as their famous content batching parties done through Demio.

Appointing an onboarding specialist

Having a dedicated onboarding specialist may be the answer for many SaaS companies out there. It definitely seems to work well for MeetEdgar, who employed the multi-talented Megan McMullin for this job.

Kristina explains how Megan, initially a customer service representative, evolved into someone who is the face of the MeetEdgar brand. Like many of the Edgar team members, she wears several hats: she also runs workshops and creates video content. One of Megan’s most significant roles is that of being the customer’s “first friend”, who guides them throughout their app experience.

When Jane poses the question of whether or not it is risky to delegate such a public role to a single person, Kristina answers the following:

“We may run into the risk that things might change; these tasks or projects might fall to someone else in the future. But that, I think, is part of the evolution of a brand of a company.”

Experimenting with free trials

Moving on to the topic of MeetEdgar’s 7-day free trial, Kristina looks back on how the decision to shorten their trial window was made. First, they offered a coupon code for the first 30 days, which evolved into a classic 30-day trial, which later dropped down to 14 days:

“We saw in Mixpanel that most people took the actions or made the decision to cancel within the first seven days, and really within the first 12 hours. So we decided to just cut down the trial again. We played around with 30 days and 14 days, and we said, hey, all the activity is happening within those first 7 days. Let's make it 7 days.”

But how does MeetEdgar approach such change, and what kind of framework do they employ? Kristina says the actual in-app onboarding didn’t change, but rather just the billing portion of it. Moreover, the company didn’t employ traditional testing, nor did they notice any drastic deviations when analyzing the results:

“Most people signed up with a coupon that gave them a free month. So it was effectively a trial, just a different way of getting to it. So we could really only focus on one point when we're evaluating the efficiency of the trial process: whether or not we got people to sign up at all. And those numbers didn't deviate much.”

Does Kristina recommend a free trial strategy for any SaaS company? Her answer is inspired by the current industry state:

“At this point, the industry has evolved enough and there are enough competitors for nearly any tool out there. Having a product that you're trying to sell to a new audience, and actually getting signups, you are probably going to need a free trial.”

Kristina also predicts that, within the next few years, offering a free trial and having no credit card upfront is going to be the new norm. 

Big surprises and insights

When asked about any big discoveries or surprises, Kristina admits that being at a company like MeetEdgar for so long renders objectivity difficult. However, she has made a few surprising observations:

Surprise #1: That many small and mid-sized agencies (while being outside of the target audience) will use MeetEdgar and make it work for them.

Surprise #2: The steady flow of customers who aren’t necessarily their target customer, but they stick with the product and brand.

Apparently, cutting off anyone who isn’t a good fit is something Kristina doesn’t condone:

“There are always going to be gray areas. There are always going to be people who see value in a part of your product, and are willing to make concessions to how they use it, or willing to adapt their own behaviors and workflows to make the product work for them.”

What would Kristina have done differently if she had to start all over again? Her answer is definitive:

“If I had to start over again, then I would heavily advocate for more of an outcome-based experience.”

But how do you convey these outcomes to the user right from the start? Kristina illustrates how she does that during the onboarding process:

“You can't show somebody how well their post is going to do, or how big their audience will be after posting with Edgar for however many months. That is the future. And we cannot predict the future. However, in my personal view, a first win is seeing how beautiful and on-brand your post looks, the post that you've just created, how that looks in your library. After five minutes of onboarding tops, you see an entire week's worth of content there, you think it looks beautiful, and you feel confident in what you're going to see on social media.”

Kristina then describes the ideal customer outcome and the importance of confidence:

“The outcome that I like for our customers to have upon completing onboarding — and this is whether or not they decide that Edgar's the right tool for them now — is to feel confident that their posts that go through Edgar represent them and their brand, and wIll go out when they need it to, when they want to reach their audiences. And I think that that's the bottom line; it’s confidence.”

Final advice

The show comes to a close with Kristina imparting two ultimate tips for SaaS founders looking to improve their user onboarding:

  • Don’t just tell your customers how to use the product (there’s a place for that; think help docs or tooltips).
  • Do show your customers the outcome; give them a taste of how their situation will be made better if they use your product.

Lastly, Kristina reminds us: 

“Don't forget the how-tos, but just remember that's not what gets people emotionally invested in the experience.”

You can find Kristina over on Twitter and don’t forget to check out MeetEdgar as well.

Thanks for listening! If you found the episode useful, please spread the word on Twitter mentioning @userlist, or leave us a review on iTunes.

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