5 steps of the customer onboarding process
Follow the five steps below to successfully integrate more customers from the first email through production support for your products.
1. Customer sign-up
Customer registration forms make it easy for prospective clients to open an account or buy your product. For the best results, make the process as simple as possible. Stick to essential information needed to ensure customer success. You can ask for more information later on in the form of customer surveys and other feedback tools.
If you need a lot of information to set up a customer, break up the form into two or more pages. This makes the form seem friendlier and may increase your conversion rates.
With the right tools, you can build a customer onboarding strategy that allows users to activate their service through social media, Google, or other places they already hang out. In many cases, this means kicking off your customer onboarding process with a single click. The easier it is to sign up, the higher your conversion rate may climb.
2. Welcome the customer
Welcome emails are preferred by customers because of their convenience and accessibility. The customer can always return to the email if they have any questions or need to resume the setup process.
While it's important to keep welcome emails short and to the point, don't forget to add personalization to establish the new relationship.
Here are some essential components to include in your welcome emails:
- Say ‘Thank you!’ Show your customers you appreciate their patronage and time by starting out with a thank you.
- Include a welcome. It's equally important to formally welcome them to your family of customers.
- Share important resources. From video instructions to FAQ links, provide the information needed to point your customers in the right direction. Remember to include a link to your customer success team for customers with issues accessing the included resources.
- Direct them to the product. The main content should center around how to access and log in to the purchased product.
- Focus on getting customers to try out your product. The earlier new customers use the tool, the faster they can master and recommend it. Include an attention-grabbing call to action to get started.
3. Setting up the customer
After getting your customers through account activation and supplying them with helpful information on using the tool, it's time to focus on setting the customer up so they can use your tool or services.
Whether you deal with small, midsize, or enterprise-level customers, they're likely to have platforms and tools that require integration with your product. However, not all users will need to complete the integration phase. Therefore, make it optional to invite other colleagues to the product and import data from other applications.
Connect customers to your customer success team or technical staff to support the integration process. This is the best customer onboarding strategy to avoid frustration and annoyance. Do you have a dedicated onboarding team to help customers import data and upload it into your tool? If not, consider what you can do to make the process easier.
4. Guided walkthrough
If new customers have to click around wondering where to start, that's a problem.
Provide a guided walkthrough, such as a pop-up message or wizard, designed to walk them through how the product works. You can also include chatbots with access to live support staff if they get stuck. The more value you add early on, the more patient and confident your customers will feel.
5. Checking in
Check in with your customers frequently. You can do this in many ways. From follow-up emails offering help to customer surveys, there are many ways to tell whether you're meeting the needs of your customers. Whenever possible, ask for feedback and remove barriers to customer success.
While it's important to remain helpful, you should always offer a way for customers to opt out of walkthroughs and other customer service aids. Keep the walkthrough process simple and make it accessible if users decide to come back to it later. Often, they'll be excited to click through the different features of the products. However, they may need a helping hand when they use it in earnest.
It's essential to provide contact information for your customer success team or offer chat support to facilitate any questions users may come up with.
Best practices for your customer onboarding strategy
Keep these best practices in mind when considering your customer onboarding process.
Resolve problems quickly
There may be some bumps in the road along your customers' onboarding journey. Perhaps your customer is attempting to access the wrong tool for the job at hand. They may become confused while following your integration wizard.
There are many things that can come up, so it's important to maintain a positive, problem-solving attitude when dealing with new clients so that regardless of any snags, in the end, you will have satisfied customers.
Automation is key
By automating repeated tasks in the onboarding process, you can focus your attention on customer concerns that arise during onboarding. If your onboarding team is spending all their time sending messages and surveys manually, they won't be available to address customer needs.
Tools such as CRMs and email automation tools can greatly facilitate the customer onboarding experience and can add value to your products.
Customer onboarding is all about the customer
Clients want to feel like they are your business' top priority. Whether it is through personalization or access to customer service 24/7, you'll want to make them feel cared about, or else you might find them heading to a competitor instead.