The Essential Guide to Customer Onboarding

The Essential Guide to Customer Onboarding | Best Practices for Successful Onboarding

Moran Altarac
May 20, 2024
min read

Customer onboarding is a critical step in maximizing customer satisfaction, loyalty and repeat business. Whether you are just starting your business or have been established in your industry for a while, the step by step process of onboarding new customers is essential to delivering a high level of customer service, customer engagement and adequately supporting customer retention

What is customer onboarding?

Customer onboarding is the process of introducing and orienting a new customer or user with a company, product, or service by offering step by step instructions, tutorials, or helpful guidance. It also builds relationships by cultivating a supportive environment and helping customers feel comfortable and confident in their decision to use your product or service in the long run. 

In most organizations, the responsibility for customer onboarding is typically shared among several departments, including customer success teams, product, marketing, and sales. 

Why is customer onboarding important?

Customer onboarding sets the tone for your relationship with customers and can have a significant impact on their perception of your brand. It also helps customers get the most value from your product or service. 

Receiving the correct onboarding also has the following effects: 

  • Helps to reduce customer churn rates
  • Increases customer loyalty 
  • Boosts customer retention rates
  • Helps to save time and resources 

Overall, a successful customer onboarding experience is essential for happy customers, which equals higher customer retention. 

Overview of the customer onboarding process

The customer onboarding process typically involves a combination of education, training, and support to help customers become comfortable with the product or service and to help them realize its full value.

Here are some examples of the customer onboarding process:

Welcome emails and tutorials 

The first step in onboarding a customer is typically to send a welcome email, followed by a tutorial or a series of tutorials. These tutorials can introduce the customer to the product or service, show them how to use it, and explain its features and benefits.

Personalized guidance 

Some businesses offer personalized guidance to new customers. For example, a SaaS company might offer a personal onboarding session with a product expert to help the customer get started with the product.

Education and training resources

Many businesses offer education and training resources to help customers learn more about the product or service. These might include blog posts, video tutorials, FAQs, and online documentation.

Support and customer service

Providing good customer service is an essential part of the onboarding process. Businesses should be available to answer questions, provide guidance, and troubleshoot any issues that arise during the onboarding process, or include features like a live chat.

Feedback and follow-up

Finally, it's important to collect feedback from customers and follow up with them to ensure that they are satisfied with the product or service. This feedback can help businesses improve their onboarding process and identify areas for improvement.

Creating a customer onboarding strategy

To create a successful customer onboarding process, it is essential to start by identifying the purpose and goals of the process. Whatever your goals are, they should include the following retention goals: 

  • Encourage users to utilize your product multiple times within the first week of usage to establish familiarity and habituation
  • Establish a consistent pattern of usage to reinforce the habit and increase user retention
  • Make your product indispensable by providing unique value and solving a problem that users cannot find elsewhere
 The 4 steps for creating a customer onboarding strategy 

Steps for creating a customer onboarding strategy 

Once you’ve established these action areas, you can begin creating your onboarding process. Make sure to follow these steps in order: 

  1. Establish the purpose and goals of your customer onboarding process. Identify the key steps involved in the process and the estimated duration of each step.
  2. Design a clear and step-by-step customer onboarding process that prioritizes customer service, retention, and ease of use.
  3. Plan how you will contact new customers and follow up with them after their first interaction.
  4. Execute your customer onboarding process with proper training for customer service representatives and the use of customer onboarding software and automation to increase efficiency.

Use online tools

There are a number of online tools that streamline the customer onboarding process. Guidde creates engaging video-based guides within seconds - all you have to do is capture your screen with Guidde’s browser extension while you go through your workflow. This way, you can spend minutes, rather than hours, creating a unique customer onboarding video.

Have a look at this example of Guidde’s tutorial for how to link Facebook pages to Zendesk. If you’re ready to start creating your own customer onboarding video guides, sign up to Guidde to get started. 

Customer onboarding best practices

A few powerful customer onboarding best practices include:

1. Create a clear process: A good onboarding process should be simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. Make sure your process follows a step-by-step approach with organized, easy-to-follow instructions.

2. Prioritize understanding: Make sure your customer’s individual needs and expectations are heard, understood, and properly addressed during the onboarding process. 

3. Provide exceptional customer service: Equip yourself with the necessary tools and resources to provide customers with exceptional customer service. 

4. Follow up and measure success: Stay connected with customers to see how onboarding is going and to see where improvements can be made. Investing in quality customer feedback can help give you valuable insights into your customer’s onboarding journey and help you make informed decisions.

Customer onboarding metrics to track

Customer onboarding metrics are essential to track because they allow you to measure the success of your onboarding process and identify areas for improvement. 

Some key metrics to track include:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): The total amount of money a customer will spend within the company over the customer's lifetime.
  • Total cost of ownership (TCO): The sum of all costs related to setting up a customer, such as onboarding, training and customer service.
  • Activation rate: The percentage of customers who are set up correctly and become active customers– this is a good measure of success or failure of the onboarding process.
  • Retention rate: How many customers stay and remain loyal customers after they’ve been onboarded.
  • Customer satisfaction rate: How well customers feel they’re being treated and how satisfied the customer is with the company after the onboarding process.

By tracking these metrics, you can identify bottlenecks in the onboarding process, such as confusing or difficult-to-complete tasks, and make adjustments to improve the experience for customers.

Final thoughts  

A successful customer onboarding process is essential for any business that wants to retain and grow its customer base. By designing a clear and step-by-step onboarding process that prioritizes customer service, retention, and ease of use, you can ensure that your new customers are set up for success and are able to quickly and easily understand the value of your product or service. 

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