customer education

How to create the perfect user guide for SaaS

3 min read Maria Fernandes, Customer Success Manager

Are you a digital trailblazer that works with a software as a service (SaaS) product? Have you been navigating the realms of app integration, organic growth and cloud reliability? Are you ready to take on the challenge of creating the perfect user guide for your product? Then this article is for you.
We will share some useful tips about how to create the ideal user guide for your SaaS but, before we jump into the actual tips, we want to highlight that a user guide is both an internal and external tool. You can use it to train your clients and potential clients as well as your staff (new hires, promos, subs, employees who rotate across different roles).

In today’s fast-paced and customer-obsessed businesses, a robust product training programme is an absolute must-have.


How to create the perfect user guide for SaaS:

1. Opt for video

Video will give you an irreplaceable human touch while also allowing for proven effective learning methods, especially in a SaaS user guide where you need to actually show how your product works. You can keep it personal by showing the presenter in the corner of the screencast across the whole duration of the training or using their voice for the screencast voice-overs. Remember that seeing things in action is much easier to retain than just reading about it or looking at a static image.


2. Start global

It’s important to start your user guide by providing a fair amount of context: you should give your learners an overall view of the platform, explain its overarching logic and also how to access and use different functionalities. Once your users can understand how the system works, it will be easier for them to navigate and enjoy the ride.


3. Content is king: keep it organised and make it easy to find

In addition to creating top-notch educational content, which should be your goal at all times, we advise you to organise your user guide course in modules that mirror your product’s features and functions. Each module can then include several chapters that cover specific details of your product. Remember that each chapter should cover one feature or action only — this modular approach is more flexible for learners because they can easily find exactly what they need, and it will allow for more flexibility when it is time for you to update them. Also, make sure the terminology you use in the user guide is consistent with your product.


4. Keep it short

Chapters should be as short (2 minutes of video max!) and as individualised as possible. In addition to catering for shorter attention spans, this will also help you replace outdated content quicker.


5. Make your user guide part of the onboarding training

Good product training should include the how, the when and why, while still keeping it short and relevant:

How you perform the action, this would be the obvious for any user guide

When you should perform the action: using one quick and fool-proof sentence, suggest a timeframe for each action. By providing guidance in regard to the frequency of usage (e.g. check the reports every week), you are creating a sense of repetition and habit, bringing your usage rate up and your churn down.

— Don’t forget about the why: what’s in it for your client? What will they achieve by using that feature or completing that action? Focus on measurable and enticing metrics, such as less costs or quicker time.


6. Provide a high-quality experience for all learners

Make sure your video and sound quality are good, and that your explanations are given at a speed which can cater for both faster and slower listeners. Including subtitles can be quite helpful for non-native speakers.


A good user guide will help you decrease time-to-value during the onboarding stage and, by keeping it always available to your customers, it is a great self-service place where they can find what they need to use your product exactly when they need it. No stress, no waiting time. 

Finally, and this is valid for each of the tips above, you should always focus on adding value. Your training should always be useful to your customers: solve their problems, help them perform better. This is the best way to ensure they are eager to listen to what you have to say and open to using your solutions.

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You may also find interesting:

Stop churn: Why customer education is key to success (article)
12 tips to choose the right training platform (article)
5 reasons customer leave and 5 tips to prevent it (article)
Online Video Training ROI Calculator (Calculator)
10 tips to create a user guide course that helps increase product usage (article)

Would you like to learn more about how bugle can help you offer great customer training? 
Let's talk.

Tags: customer education, customer retention, customer success, customer activation, customer onboarding, customer training


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