Why Personalized Onboarding Is Essential In Legal Tech

When you’ve gone through the painstaking process of making a legal tech sale and come out successful on the other side, you may feel like you’ve crossed the finish line—but in reality, the race has just begun.

A whopping 25% of SaaS users are lost due to bad onboarding experiences, and in legal tech, the risk is even higher. Lawyers exhibit an abnormally high level of both autonomy and urgency, which creates an inherent conflict when it comes to the onboarding process: it needs to be personalized, but personalization takes time.

So when it comes to onboarding lawyers, what do you prioritize: personalization or automation? In this article, I’ll be explaining why personalization wins over automation when it comes to onboarding in legal tech. I’ll be talking about how personalized onboarding ultimately helps you improve your products, your business processes, and most importantly, your customers’ experiences with your company.

What is customer onboarding and why is it important?

Why is customer onboarding so important to legal tech startups? Although many other areas of technology are increasingly moving toward product-led sales strategies like free trials and freemium models, legal technology sales are still dominated by sales demos. So lawyers and other purchasers of legal technology receive personalized 1:1 attention and support during the sales process… but then what? 

Customer onboarding experiences pick up where the sales team leaves off, helping with welcoming new customers, helping them navigate the product, and encouraging them to perform the value-adding tasks that make them want to remain lifetime customers. And while personalized onboarding experiences are important in any company, there are a few reasons why they’re particularly important in legal tech.

Cultivating Customer Relationships

Unlike other areas of the software world, legal technology is an inherently relationship-based industry. Lawyers build their business by cultivating long-term relationships with their clients—and since that’s how they’re used to doing business, that’s what they expect from legal tech companies. Successful legal tech companies are focused on building relationships with the lawyers and law firms they work with—and on developing a scalable strategy to do so. Personalized onboarding is a key part of that strategy.

Personalized onboarding experiences serve your customers better by creating a learning environment where the information is more likely to stick. By putting legal tech products in the context of a lawyer’s particular practice area, and crafting it to fit their specific workflow, you significantly increase the chances of the product being used in the long-term.

At its core, personalized onboarding is about understanding and anticipating your customers’ needs and addressing them at every opportunity. In such a relationship-based industry, the importance of maintaining an excellent level of support throughout the onboarding experience can’t be understated.

Creating Positive Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool—particularly in legal tech. The relationship-based nature of the industry we discussed above also applies to the importance placed on networking and referrals between lawyers. With lots of networking comes lots of exchanging tips, tricks, and insight—including about legal tech software. One of the best investments a legal tech company can make is in cultivating that positive word of mouth by making sure customers have a great first impression of your product—and one of the best ways to do that is to have a personalized onboarding experience. 

Having a personalized onboarding experience helps you prevent churn and earn repeat business, which can lead to higher retention rates, referral traffic, and long-term loyalty from customers. In turn, your company benefits immensely from maintaining these relationships with customers. You'll find it easier to expand into new practice areas, jurisdictions, or even tangential markets when people have already heard good things about you from their peers. On top of that, you're much more likely to get inbound sales leads if customers are talking about how much they love what you do.

Gathering Feedback

A truly great onboarding experience can play an essential role in avoiding negative sentiment and product abandonment, simply by offering built-in opportunities for feedback and giving customers a dedicated ear to listen to what they have to say. 

The onboarding experience is a critical window for gathering feedback from users and transforming potential issues into opportunities. It helps companies stay ahead of negative reviews by quickly responding to issues before they develop into full-blown complaints. And if something does go wrong? A user working through an interactive experience is more invested in the product and more willing to problem-solve, allowing the opportunity to turn disgruntled users around.

Increasing Lifetime Value

It’s a well-known fact that a customer lifetime value increases with every additional transaction a customer makes. This means that customers who purchase recurring services have a higher lifetime value than those who don’t. And while a great sales team is critical to making that first sale, a great onboarding is critical to retention—and retention is critical to upselling.

One of the most important ways onboarding experiences increase lifetime value is by making sure new customers understand the product and its value. Given the nature of a lawyer’s work, legal tech in particular has a high risk of becoming “shelfware”—software products that sit on the shelf unused (and get discarded come renewal time). It’s crucial to optimize your onboarding process so that new customers are not only signed up for your service but also renewed on an ongoing basis. To do so, it is vital to make those onboarding experiences personalized.

Reducing Churn Rate

A high churn rate is typically an indicator that customers are unhappy—and with a high churn rate, you forgo all the opportunities to capitalize on those customer relationships and positive word of mouth mentioned above. With bad onboarding experiences as the top cause of customer churn, a personalized onboarding experience is essential to combatting a high churn rate. 

No two lawyers work in the exact same way, and no two lawyers will like (or dislike) the exact same onboarding experience. Some lawyers will feel lost or confused if they start using a product and don’t receive any prompts or instructions. Some will be frustrated by too many prompts or instructions interrupting their workflow. And some will feel like their time is being wasted if they’re presented with content that doesn’t seem relevant.

———

The key to keeping all of these lawyers happy is personalization. Personalized onboarding experiences provide immense value to legal tech companies through customer education, knowledge sharing, problem solving, value-added activities that align with long-term goals, and more. Given the relationship-based nature of the legal technology industry, startups with all-star personalized onboarding experiences are better positioned to outshine the competition—and in a battle against automation, personalization will win every time.