An excellent client onboarding experience confirms that your clients and app users made the right choice. Ultimately, it helps you keep them. Customers switch to your competitors because they don’t understand your products and get no value from your products.
Client onboarding can help you solve these issues. There’s no doubt that you’ve created an excellent product for your target audience. However, customers just need some hand-holding to get started.
The great thing is that your clients already like your brand, and they believe in your product or service—that is why they choose you. It’s your job to keep things that way.
You can do that by making sure you offer an onboarding experience as excellent as your sales process and fulfill all the promises you made in your marketing campaigns. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about client onboarding and five onboarding strategies that can help provide an exceptional onboarding experience.
Why is Client Onboarding Important?
Client onboarding is a nurturing process that helps new clients get acquainted with and become comfortable with your products. An effective client onboarding program involves:
- Helpful guidance and support.
- Step-by-step tutorials.
- Celebrations when a client accomplishes success milestones while using your product or service.
The client onboarding process has massive benefits for your business and your customers. Onboarding makes clients’ lives easier. It ensures the information and knowledge your customers need to use your products is readily accessible. Also, it enables them to move seamlessly through the customer journey while improving customer trust and loyalty to your brand.
How you onboard your new clients can set the tone for your onboarding relationship with them. Also, it improves customer lifetime value, reduces churn rates, and converts new customers into avid fans.
If that isn’t enough to convince you about the value of the process, here are a few more reasons that prove the importance of client onboarding:
- Most profits come from existing and repeat customers.
- Delighted customers can become your top referral sources.
- High customer retention rates can lower your customer acquisition costs, increasing your revenue.
That means that customer onboarding is crucial to customer retention, and it can ultimately help you scale your business.
5 Customer Onboarding Best Practices in 2022
Standardize your client onboarding strategies with onboarding and welcome templates that your customer support team can reference at any time. This process ensures your messaging, onboarding, and sales process are consistent. As you navigate through your new relationship with your clients, here are some tips you should remember:
1. Customize and Set Expectations
Your clients must know what to expect from your products before they purchase. Thus, as you convince them to buy your product, you must also define the qualifying factors for using your products because having higher expectations than what your product can deliver only sets them up for disappointment. Customers must know what they’ll get from your product and how to use it to derive maximum value. Also, be specific about the level of support you can offer them after making a purchase.
Further, you must ask as many questions as possible, but this is crucial in the first few days and weeks of interaction with your clients. For example, you must ask this question: How do your customers define success? In the new era of customer success, “success” means the ultimate goal. This means clarifying what your customers want from your engagement—what many SaaS customer success managers call the “desired outcome.”
That will set the stage for customizing and setting expectations. Next, draft a solid plan and make things happen. This may involve setting success milestones and letting your clients define their goals during the sales process, regardless of what it looks like in your industry.
Most importantly, be realistic: ensure you set milestones you can deliver every time.
2. Gather Feedback and Follow-Up
Don’t just share your thoughts and experience; listen to customer feedback. When the time is right, ask your customers to leave their feedback. For example, ask them if there’s anything they feel like they’re missing. Also, you can ask them about areas your team should improve.
Exchanging feedback works in two ways. First, it involves defining and clarifying expectations during the onboarding process, ensuring that your engagement with new customers is well-balanced, and responding to their concerns while working with other customers. And as you know, the key to a successful business is making every customer feel like they’re the only one you’re doing business with, but that applies to every other customer, too.
And more importantly, your relationship with new customers shouldn’t end after completing the onboarding process. After all, there’s no point in building all that rapport just to halt everything.
Instead, leave the doors open by giving your clients ways to communicate with your account manager or customer support representative once the onboarding process is complete. This way, if they have more concerns and questions about your product, they have a direct platform to contact your team.
Also, you must follow up with clients periodically to see if they have additional queries about your service or product. After mastering the basic features, they may be eager to learn about advanced tips and techniques. This can eventually lead to timely conversations where your team can upsell and cross-sell clients with upgrades and add-ons.
3. Leverage a People-Focused Approach
One rule of customer success is to personalize your product or service. If you’re approaching every new relationship with your customers the same way, your customers will feel it. Practicing a people-focused approach is the bottom line of a successful business. That’s because customers want to do business with other people.
A people-focused approach means that you must acknowledge your customers’ concerns, questions, and fears from the get-go. This is the key to establishing trust early on. Revisit concerns and fears that the customer brought up in the sales process and strategize how you’ll address those fears and concerns. Consider creating a detailed quarterly plan, setting expectations, and a list of quick wins. And don’t forget that being organized throughout the engagement is crucial, and it’s even more critical during the onboarding process.
4. Organize Your Communication
Having a solid communication schedule or simple expectations will ensure that neither your customer nor you fall off each other’s map. For example, is your customer in the same time zone? Do they prefer a weekly or monthly check-in? Will you include them in your company updates and newsletter lists?
Most important: How often do your new customers want to hear from you? If your customer relationships are tech-based, ask them this question on the contact form they fill when signing up for your service or product. If not, ask your customers directly and for service-based companies; for instance, you must leverage front-load communication early on to ensure you and your customers aren’t missing anything and slowly work from there.
5. Personalize the Experience
Jason Passanisi notes that humanizing the interaction is vital to building relationships. Further, there’re loads of content on the web about tailoring the onboarding experience to individual customers to make them feel comfortable with your products and services. To provide a personalized onboarding experience, you must treat your new customers like you treat new and valuable employees. Consider your new customer as an essential partner and tailor their onboarding experience to their goals and needs.
Individualizing the onboarding experience involves providing a user experience that’s useful, valuable, accessible, and desirable. This may range from personal profiles, customer-only VIP portals, offers, and exclusive content to communicate, be readily available, and gain an in-depth understanding about your client to know the questions they may ask you and answer them before they come up.
Random check-ins for quality checks are crucial to you and your customer, and they’re a pleasant surprise. Ask your customers how the onboarding process is faring for them, if they have any concerns or questions, and if there’s anything you should improve.
Client Onboarding Can Help You Scale Your Business Quickly
Client onboarding doesn’t start when a customer purchases your product. Instead, it begins when a potential customer comes in contact with your company. Every interaction is an opportunity to collect information that can help you deliver an exceptional onboarding experience. Thus, it’s crucial to build a seamless experience across all touchpoints.
Take the time to align your onboarding process with your marketing, service, and sales teams and processes, and always keep your customers at the center of your efforts.
Zight (formerly CloudApp) can help you offer a better onboarding experience. By leveraging Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s annotated screenshots, screen recorder, GIF creation, and webcam videos, you can create walkthrough tutorials to help your customers use your products and derive maximum value. The customer success team at Drift, for instance, leverages Zight (formerly CloudApp) to create a clear knowledge base and provide faster internal communication, which helped them save 56 hours per week.