Have you ever been excited to use a product only to find that trying it out for the first time was overwhelming and the customer onboarding process was lackluster? Enter churn. Most customer churn results from a poor kickoff, but not because the value of your product is lacking — it's the engagement.
Customer onboarding ensures that the hefty investment made by the sales team pays off with proper welcome and resources that set new users up for success.
This article will explain how to make the most of that pivotal first moment in the customer journey and why every new client requires an outstanding onboarding experience.
Why Properly Onboarding New Customers Saves Costs
User onboarding is a two-way street in terms of value.
By providing a great customer experience, you significantly increase your chances of the customer lifetime value (CLV), enhance customer retention, and increase your customer knowledge base.
Perhaps most importantly, it saves the company time and money. Proftwell estimates the probability of conversion with a new lead is between 5-20%. That figure jumps to 60-70% when it pertains to upselling an existing customer. The longer the CLV, the more opportunities there are to profit long-term.
Use the customer onboarding experience to jumpstart an ongoing relationship where you can learn what's most important to new users.
Customers may even inform on product functionality, desired integrations, or ideas for new products. If done right, customer onboarding gives you insight into how to tailor the customer onboarding experience, creating even more happy customers.
What's Involved in a Winning Customer Onboarding Strategy
To reduce your churn rate and ensure a solid workflow for every team member, you'll want to create a detailed, step-by-step onboarding checklist that every customer goes through from their first login.
The process can differ depending on your business, but here are the three essential goals for every customer onboarding process:
- Make login easy. Provide social buttons and reduce fields and pop-ups that can overwhelm first-time users.
- Once they've signed up, get your new user to log in multiple times in the first week.
- Use customer-specific information from the sales discovery process to tailor the product tour and address business problems.
Your onboarding should aim to:
- Learn customer goals to tailor their experience
- Build a strong customer relationship
- Alleviate pain points with product-based solutions
- Gain referrals or shout-outs via social media
- Build customer loyalty and promoter status
What Makes for Successful Customer Onboarding?
Customers want to feel empowered while using new products and tools. It helps when customer onboarding reflects their effort and rewards small wins.
In other words, your customers are busy and may have differing approaches to the pace of onboarding. While you can't force them to watch an onboarding video, compelling materials can persuade them, and automation helps with friendly notifications.
The welcome email is a perfect example of how automation can work for you. The language should be engaging and positive. Keep it super simple to avoid overwhelming. Include relevant resources or links to articles that can be helpful. Underscore the purpose of your product and how it will enlighten their work.
Here's an example of an onboarding welcome email:
Hey [first name],
It's [your name] from [SaaS company]. We are thrilled to welcome you to the community!
Remember, I'm here to help! Just reply to this email with any questions that you have about [product]. Together, we'll help you to reach your goals of [business goals].
Also, when you sign in to create your user profile, you can schedule your first touchpoint, where I'll give you a product tour.
I'll walk you through every step so you can get started right away.
[Sign In Now button]
The pop-up greeting is different from the onboarding emails in that it happens when the customer logs in for the first time. It shows them a little support, even if it's automated. The in-app message provides some structure and guidance to the set-up process. It also helps to have a short video welcome for added engagement but isn't necessary.
If you provide a tutorial video or "tip" highlights that show key features, also provide the ability to opt-out as they can be overwhelming for some users who prefer a live walkthrough.
Make a live walkthrough with a product expert available to every customer. This portion of the customer onboarding process adds to your customer success because it's personable and allows new customers to get answers to their questions during a real-time tutorial.
Have a template to follow to keep the walkthrough short and sweet with ample time for questions. If you offer different products and services, tailor the walkthrough to each segment and customize a bit based on what you know of your new customer. At Pulpstream, we get this info through the demo request sign-up.
Even if you seem to solve a customer problem, it helps to check in on their progress periodically at an agreed place.
Maybe they have achieved milestones or want to share metrics that reflect how well the product works for them. Sharing in this celebration builds a friendly rapport and relationship. Take these anecdotal success stories back to your team so you can learn from them and share them with other customers.
The Major Do’s and Don’ts of Customer Onboarding
We've covered the most critical steps above, but here's a master list to keep in your back pocket.
- Track the customer journey of each person: Achieve this easily with supporting tools to build your Case Management Platform with Pulpstream.
- Onboard the person who will use the product: The person who pays the bills isn't always the person using the software. It’s best to spend most of your time and energy with those who will have first-hand experience with your product.
- Track relevant metrics from every interaction: Arguably one of the best parts of e-commerce solutions is how much data they provide you with. Use it wisely!
- Ask for feedback and adapt as necessary: If a customer provides you with helpful insight, follow up to let them know how their feedback has made a difference. This is a win-win way to strengthen rapport and engagement.
- Plot what a successfully onboarded customer looks like: If you've done your best onboarding, what should they come away with? What do you hope they know and feel confident to do at the end of their customer journey?
- Have a killer knowledge base: This is the encyclopedia of your product. Make it thorough and straightforward to navigate.
- Overcomplicate processes: It’s easier said than done, but information overload is real and can also be a genuine reason for client churn.
- Wait to get in touch until after an issue: If you check in when things are good, you'll be talking to happy customers and keeping it that way versus doing damage control.
- Rely only on email: Email is undoubtedly a golden way to keep in touch, but everyone can do with some real human interaction. It puts a face to your brand more than any well-worded email.
- Ask for multiple steps at once: Remember your customers are busy, and they don't want to be doing homework. They want the product to do the work for them.
- Lose touch: Pulpstream makes it easy to stay in touch by prompting you with tasks and notifications so you can focus on the relationship effortlessly.
Your Company’s Success Mirrors Your Customer’s Success
When your customers enjoy using your product, it's because they see the value and know how to get the answers they need. Providing a solid customer onboarding experience is a foolproof way to build a loyal customer base that will burst with referrals.
Make a seamless onboarding process a team-wide mandate and get ready to grow. Find out more about how to accelerate process digitization and optimize collaboration between teams with our no-code e-book.