Make It Easy for Customers to Try Your Product

I’ve been using a certain software platform for years. It’s complex and took a long time to learn. Over the years, though, I’ve gotten familiar with it and learned how to meet my needs using it. Recently, a friend told me about a competing platform he’s using. He described features he uses regularly that my platform doesn’t have—some of which could be valuable.

I decided to give the competing platform a try. I signed up and was shocked at how unintuitive it is. I tried to use its training materials, but they were of minimal help. I called the helpdesk with questions about specific features. After being transferred around a few times, I began to suspect that no one on the help team knows how to use those features. I asked to schedule an onboarding session and was told that’s not an option.

The platform I’ve been using had a great onboarding process and has a great customer success team. It was easy to begin to learn how to use it. The competing platform may be better, but I’ll probably never know since the onboarding process has been so awful.

My takeaway from this experience is that it takes more than a great product to build a great company—you also need a process that makes it easy for customers to try your product. It’s hard to scale a great product with awful onboarding.