Skip to main content

A Better Way to Onboard Customers: Tips for Business Owners

Learn how to create a successful customer onboarding process with these tips and best practices to build strong customer relationships from the first step.

The customer onboarding process is essential if you want to set new users and customers up for success. Automating as many processes as possible lets you focus on staying in touch with customers and introducing new tools that make their lives easier.

By taking the guesswork out of how to get started after signing up, you can successfully build customer relationships and create advocates for your brand. Small business owners and large corporations have different budgets for new customer onboarding. However, with the proper tools and knowledge, you can tailor a successful onboarding process that works for your team.

By following 5 simple steps, you can create a seamless customer onboarding strategy that produces confident, passionate, and loyal customers ready to refer others to your products or services. Learn onboarding and integration best practices that can help you make every client happy they chose your brand.

What is customer onboarding?

During customer onboarding, new users receive their first communication, including links to digital products and instructions on how to get started. The customer onboarding process delivers value from the inception of your official relationship.

The most frequent way to acclimate new clients includes direct contact with an emphasis on customer care.

For digital products, e-mail is the primary source of communication. However, you might need unique approaches for other types of products.

Examples of client onboarding include the following:

  • Welcome emails
  • Phone calls to check in with customers
  • Virtual training
  • Wizards or tutorials for apps, games, and digital tools
  • Knowledge base articles to familiarize customers with the product
  • Customer service priority for new customers
  • Forum or self-help community moderated by your internal team

It’s a good idea to ask for continuous feedback to help you improve the customer onboarding process. Through this feedback, you can build a process that improves customer loyalty and retention by removing pain points from your customer onboarding software and steps.

The importance of customer onboarding

Your customer onboarding strategy sets new customers up for success—or not. First impressions matter, so make sure you wow your customers from the moment they sign up, or you might be faced with high levels of customer churn.

The vast majority of customers feel that companies could do a better job showing them how to use the products they purchased, according to WyzOwl. More than half of purchasers have returned products they don't know how to use. In contrast, customer onboarding can promote future sales and referrals as part of an automated strategy.

It pays to focus on customer retention rather than continuously rebuilding your customer base. That's what makes customer onboarding success so important.

Here are some of the benefits of a properly run customer onboarding process:

  • Lower customer churn. When your customers know how to use your product, they are less likely to turn to a more helpful competitor.
  • Better customer satisfaction rates. You can invite your customers to attend online seminars, watch explainer videos, or sign up for in-person instructions. By educating your customers, you give them the confidence to fully integrate your product into their current tech stack or other tools.
  • Get more referrals. Your customer success team plays a huge role in how new customers perceive your company. If they make a positive impression, you'll get more referrals. However, if you don't offer enough support and guidance across several channels, it may be easier for customers to move their business to your competitors.

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.

Integrate CRM and email automation tools

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.

Set your customers up for success

Many B2B businesses don't focus enough on the onboarding process. That's a mistake.

Making it easier for customers to set up an account and get to work using your tool is the beginning of a long and valuable relationship. If you want your business to thrive, improve your customer onboarding process.

MailChimp has a robust CRM that makes this process easy and intuitive. Our email automation tools and surveys allow you to collect the information you need to address bottlenecks and pain points for new and existing customers alike.

2 men sit on a couch in an office, while one is holding a laptop happily discussing their marketing strategy.

Keep customers coming back for more with Mailchimp’s free Customer Retention Kit

Whether you’re looking to improve existing strategies or seeking fresh insights into who your customers are, this kit is a comprehensive collection of resources designed to cultivate lasting relationships with valued customers.

Fill out the form below to receive your free Customer Retention Kit

Share This Article