Wattics devises new onboarding process to delight customers - Wattics

Wattics devises new onboarding process to delight customers

The overall experience with our energy analytics software is only as good as the weakest component. If one aspect of it falls down for whatever reason, leads and new users will remember that one part. It is therefore essential that our process of onboarding new users is seamless throughout, and provides that ‘wow’ effect quickly and repeatedly to convert new users into long-term paying customers.

About ‘Onboarding’

Onboarding is the process of getting new users familiar with how to use our tool to fix their problem. What we want to avoid is attracting new users convinced that they have found the right solution with Wattics, and then have them quickly abandon ship when they start using the tool because they don’t understand how to use the product or don’t feel the need to engage with it on a regular basis.

Because we are a company with a team proud of the technology we have developed, we have initially built our onboarding process around showing off our product, i.e. what our innovative energy analytics can do and the features of our online energy management dashboard. We even built an entire website dedicated to tutorials and guides on how to use our product and plenty of videos providing a quick overview of our key functionality.

While this is a must-have for our established customers, it is too much information to absorb for new users who just want to play around and see if our solution meets their needs. They will definitely find interest in this material later on when they are convinced that we offer the right solution to their problem, but they must first get the core value of our product, quickly. And as usual, new users don’t want to spend time reading manuals first, they want to try hands-on and learn along the way.

New approach to onboarding at Wattics

Wattics energy software customers will either be energy managers in charge of commercial or industrial premises, energy consultants managing a portfolio of sites and running energy efficiency projects, or energy suppliers and system integrators willing to offer their business customers unique tools to differentiate their offering and engage them into longer-term contracts. We have therefore recently devised an onboarding process that is a function of who our customer is and that showcases how our product can help them with their problem.

The website landing page

All onboarding journeys start with an effective website homepage, which is the first contact with our brand. Our previous website was designed and implemented back in 2013 when we mostly targeted end users (e.g. hotels and factories) in Ireland, with a turnkey solution from hardware to software and consultancy services. Over the years we have evolved to adopt a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model and refocus on our software technology, targeting energy consultants and retail energy suppliers worldwide using our platform to offer or resale to their customer base.

We now have business in 50+ countries with a wider range of personas reaching our website daily in search of a solution, and yet we haven’t until recently considered making major changes to our website landing page to deliver the right message to them. We’ve implemented some changes over the years to better reflect what we bring to the table, but only recently have we understood that our message and website were not as efficient as they could be. We, therefore, took the decision to revamp our website to clearly outline our product’s core value and direct the users based on who they are and the problem they need to solve.

An important aspect of our website is the widespread of Call To Action (CTA) buttons, which is the one action that every single element on our landing page is trying to get our website visitor to take. We want visitors to our website to contact us, sign up and try our platform. Depending on the website page, the CTA button shows a form asking for an email address and password to setup an account or talk to our team. The onboarding experience starts with that very first step of signing up for the Wattics service, and it is important to set the bar high and ensure that next steps leave the same lasting impression. We have integrated tools from Intercom, HubSpot and Optin-Panda to capture contact details from visitors, engage them in discussions to qualify them and generate interest for follow-up meetings.

Transitioning new users to the web application

The next step in the customer journey is the transition from our website to our online energy management dashboard, either through online setup or following up an online meeting with our customer success team or commercial team if the deal opportunity requires further engagement. As with most web applications, we begin with a welcome message which greets our new users and offers them an opportunity for action, which is the path we want them to follow towards the ‘wow’ effect. That path may require a number of steps when dealing with complex products such as an energy analytics platform, and the challenge is to find a path that works for each type of persona, so we don’t lose anybody on the way by getting them do things they are not interested in.

After careful consideration, we found that a recurring challenge common to all new users, irrespective of the persona type, is the fact that our web application requires import of personal energy data to produce ‘wow’ insights, which is one of the remaining great problems for today’s energy management software companies. Using dummy data and demo sites works well to demonstrate functionality, but it does not beat diagnosing tangible $ energy saving opportunities for the user. For that reason, we have targeted a simple data import process and is the first step towards our ‘wow’ effect, so our users can get immediate insights into their own energy use and potentially a lot of value in no time.

The simplest way to import data to an online platform is via upload of a CSV file. While CSV files are not new technology, everybody is familiar with it and savvy enough to export them from third-party systems and manipulate them. Assuming that most users would be in a position to easily get their hands on energy data in a CSV file format (either exported from energy supplier website, downloaded from BMS system or created in Excel from manual readings), we have designed some easy steps and prompts to get our new users to import their CSV files into our platform and get value within 5 minutes maximum. Our goal is to get the users to that “wow effect” in the shortest amount of time, teaching them along the way how to achieve this repeatedly so they can return and keep receiving value from the system.

We offer a CSV data importer feature that allows users to import their data in five steps, providing information about their organisation and site, data point and finally specific format of the CSV file (DateTime format, columns, separators, etc).

In a matter of seconds, the data from the user is imported within the platform and displayed within a series of insightful graphs. At that stage, we don’t expect the user to initiate a complex analysis of energy use data, looking at normalisation and correlation with outside weather conditions or similar. In that first use of our online dashboard we want to achieve easy wins and therefore target low-hanging fruits, i.e. clear signs of wastage with opportunities for savings.

For example, Activity Maps are relevant to immediately identify how a specific equipment or area is used, and more importantly, check if everything is normal. The Activity Maps colouring gets darker when consumption is at its peak, so a user can quickly see if any equipment was left powered on overnight, or if start/end times are in line with work hours or space occupancy.

Wrapping up

It now takes a few minutes from the upload of data via CSV file to the discovery of abnormal patterns of consumption, and that’s the time energy managers or growing teams of energy consultant will need to understand the potential our analytics platform can bring to their business. This is where we want to achieve our ‘wow’ effect when the users realise the savings they are going to get if they upload more data to the platform and start running some more advanced analysis.

 

The challenge is to provide quick time to value for new users as you only have one chance to make a first impression. We’re not done yet though, more existing stuff to come!

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