BlogCustomer Onboarding

The Dos and Don’ts of Effective Customer Onboarding

Luca MicheliJul 15, 2023
The Dos and Don’ts of Effective Customer Onboarding

A smooth and efficient customer onboarding process is crucial for any business that wants to enhance customer satisfaction and foster loyalty.

This process sets the stage for the customer’s experience with your brand and can significantly impact the development of their relationship with your business. Hence, it is imperative to design a seamless onboarding experience.

According to research, 74% of potential clients will explore other solutions if your onboarding process is complicated. New customers shouldn’t move mountains to understand how to use your product or service. Every resource should be right in front of them.

Further research shows that the customer onboarding process is a factor clients consider when choosing a service or product. 

Advanced onboarding software for SaaS, like Customerly, can help you facilitate this process and boost your onboarding strategy.

Customerly provides you with customer service automation to help you optimize your efforts, reduce your team’s workload and provide the support your customers will enjoy.

With Customerly, you can implement a video live chat, build a knowledge base to automatically recommends relevant articles for addressing customer issues, conduct and analyze NPS and in-app surveys, centralize all communication with a unified inbox, and evaluate team reports to improve staff performance continuously.

We ensure your representatives provide personalized support and get valuable insights to understand your clients.

In today’s article, we will explain customer onboarding, its benefits, and challenges, how the onboarding process begins, give helpful tips, and show how Customerly boosts your efforts.

Let’s first define customer onboarding.

What is and why is customer onboarding important?

customer onboarding statistics

Customer onboarding marks the beginning of a customer’s journey with your company. 

During this time, you familiarize new customers with your product or service and provide them with the necessary information and training to use it effectively. 

This process aims to empower customers to fully utilize your product, increasing their confidence and satisfaction in purchasing. 

The benefits of this process are numerous.

Five benefits of effective customer onboarding

onboarding program benefits

A positive onboarding experience brings many benefits to your business. Let’s share the most important ones.

Improved customer retention

An effective customer onboarding process is crucial in retaining customers. Customers with a positive onboarding experience can understand the value of your product, leading to an increased retention rate.

Increased customer loyalty

According to a survey, 86% of customers will remain loyal to a business prioritizing onboarding and ongoing education. 

Customers appreciate the support they receive during the onboarding process, which helps answer any questions and makes them feel comfortable and empowered to use your product effectively.

Increased revenue

Customers satisfied with your onboarding process are your strongest advocates, as they learned how to use your product or service and want to recommend it to others. It can expand your customer base and result in a growth in revenue for your business.

Enhanced customer experience

The customer onboarding process lets you showcase your business and communicate your values to new customers. 

By providing a positive onboarding experience, you can demonstrate your willingness to go above and beyond to meet customer needs. It increases the overall customer experience and positively affects customer loyalty.

Increased product adoption

A well-designed customer onboarding process can address common challenges and obstacles that customers may face, helping to reduce any friction that may prevent them from adopting your product. 

With a seamless and positive onboarding experience, customers can understand the value of your product, become familiar with its features, and start using it to meet their needs.

We highly recommend reading the article on the EUREKA framework created by Ramli John and Wes Bush, two experts with extensive experience working with product-led companies. It’s an invaluable resource for those seeking to improve user onboarding.

Now let’s discuss some critical challenges you might face during the process improvement.

Seven challenges of implementing a customer onboarding program

leading causes of churn

Both new and existing customers expect a positive customer onboarding experience, and providing one can come with its own set of challenges. Let’s discuss the most frequent ones.

Lack of a clear customer onboarding strategy

Without a well-defined strategy, you risk missing opportunities to engage and educate customers. You may lack a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve in the long term. 

An effective customer onboarding strategy can ensure that you have a roadmap for success and that everyone within your company works towards the same goals.

Insufficient resources and budget allocation

Implementing a successful customer onboarding program requires a significant investment of resources, including staff, budget and technology. 

Without adequate resources and a customer service solution such as Customerly, your program will unlikely achieve your intended outcomes and may even harm your business.

Resistance to change within the organization

When introducing a customer onboarding process, you can experience resistance from stakeholders and employees because people don’t like changes. 

It is crucial to address any concerns and effectively communicate the benefits for the company.

Difficulty in measuring the success of customer onboarding efforts

Using the right customer satisfaction tool, such as Customerly, it is possible to establish clear metrics and track your progress. 

You can determine whether or not your customer onboarding program is producing delighted customers and positively impacting your business.  

You can make informed decisions about the program and continuously improve its effectiveness.

Inadequate training and support for customer success teams

The customer success team is the face of your company, and their interactions with customers impact their overall perception of your business. 

Proper SaaS customer service software, onboarding materials, training, and support are crucial for the team to deliver exceptional customer service throughout the onboarding process. 

If these elements are not in place, the team may struggle to provide adequate support, potentially leading to customer churn.

Integration with existing systems and processes

Assess the impact of customer onboarding on your current systems and processes. Identify which you can seamlessly integrate with the new program and which to streamline or eliminate to ensure the success of the customer onboarding process.

Inability to keep up with changing customer needs and preferences

You can regularly collect feedback and track customer satisfaction metrics with Customerly. It helps you continuously improve your customer onboarding program to meet your customers’ needs better.

Since you now understand all the obstacles, let’s share some tips to help you avoid these challenges.

Four tips to optimize your customer onboarding strategy

customer onboarding strategy

A customer onboarding strategy outlines each step for new customers, ensuring all team members understand their roles and the desired outcome. 

Here are the best practices you can implement when developing your strategy for a successful customer onboarding process.

Determine your customer personas

Gather data on your current customers, such as their demographic information, behaviors, and pain points and then analyze the data to identify patterns and common traits among your customers.

Create customer personas, give each persona a name, describe their personality, and ensure they represent your target audience.

Verify the accuracy of your personas by conducting customer research and testing them with potential customers.

Set clear onboarding goals

Having specific, measurable, and attainable goals is crucial for the success of your customer onboarding program. 

It helps you focus on the most critical tasks, track progress, measure the effectiveness of your program and make necessary adjustments to improve the customer onboarding experience.

Focus on the customer journey

Your customer onboarding strategy should cover the entire customer journey, from the first interaction with your business to the end of their time as a customer. 

It requires creating a personalized and engaging onboarding experience and ongoing support throughout their journey. 

Considering the entire buyer journey, you can ensure your customers have a positive experience and remain loyal to your business.

Leverage customer feedback

If you want loyal customers, listening to their feedback and taking action is crucial. A recent survey showed that 74% of customers feel valued and understood when a brand considers their opinion.

With Customerly, you can adjust premium survey templates and efficiently measure customer satisfaction. You can also identify the reasons for increased customer churn and find ways to address them.

Let’s explore the critical stages during customer onboarding.

Five key steps in the customer onboarding process

saas customer onboarding

Your strategy should take these steps into account to successfully guide your customers through the process.

Pre-onboarding: Pre-signup

The pre-onboarding stage begins long before a customer signs up.

During this phase, it’s crucial to communicate your product’s value and outline what the onboarding process will entail. 

By doing so, new customers will clearly understand how to get started and where to turn for help.

Welcome email

You can strengthen your relationship with new customers by sending a personalized and welcoming SaaS onboarding email

This email should provide relevant information and resources and encourage interaction with your brand. 

It sets the tone for the rest of the onboarding process.

Activation: Getting started

At the beginning of the customer journey, ensure your support team is there to provide assistance. 

Offer a comprehensive product tour, deliver step-by-step guidance, and support customers through setup tasks to give a positive first experience. 

The ultimate goal is to secure customer success from the beginning.

Engagement: Building a relationship

Show empathy, put yourself in the customer’s shoes, and understand their needs and concerns. 

Address the customer by name and use other personalization tactics to make them feel valued and understood. Encourage customers to interact with your brand through tutorials, live chat, or feedback opportunities.

Acknowledge and celebrate the customer’s progress during the onboarding process. It could be through onboarding email with personalized GIFs, notifications, or even personalized gifts.

It will help you build a more meaningful relationship with them.

Expansion: Upselling and cross-selling

To enhance the customer experience during onboarding, involve your sales team. 

They can use various tactics, such as offering complementary products or upgrading the customer’s plan, to upsell or cross-sell.

Additionally, the sales team can gather insights into the customer’s needs and preferences, making it easier to suggest relevant solutions and demonstrate the value your company can bring to their life.

How customer service software helps with onboarding

Customerly customer service software

Let’s discuss how customer support software empowers your team to deliver excellent customer service from day one.

Streamlining onboarding processes

customer onboarding process

With Customerly, you can streamline the onboarding process and improve efficiency by automating manual tasks. 

It helps you reduce errors and centralize all communication in one place for better management. Your team can increase availability and concentrate on urgent issues. 

Improving communication with customers

live chat software

Features like live chat, email and phone support help provide immediate and personal customer support during the onboarding process. Additionally, customer service software can track and manage customer interactions, ensuring that all communication is consistent.

Customerly goes a step further to improve your ongoing relationship with customers. We have live chat software to help you provide real-time proactive support. 

The feature is compatible across browsers and devices, meaning you can reach new customers without issues.

Providing self-service options

self-service help center

Your customer onboarding can include self-service options. Features like FAQs and a knowledge base deliver the information and resources customers need to understand your product.

Self-service options also reduce the workload for your customer success manager and the entire team. 

With Customerly, you can build a help center to ensure customers find answers independently. 

You should define frequently asked questions, assign keywords and enable Customerly to match customers with relevant articles to find solutions for their needs.

Facilitating customer feedback

customer feedback surveys

Customer service software makes collecting insights about the customer onboarding experience easier. 

For instance, you can ask customers how the sign-up process was, what they think of your product tour and how helpful your resources are.

That’s how you know which areas to improve to deliver the best user onboarding process.

Customerly provides automated tools to measure customer satisfaction. You can create various customer surveys, such as:

You can immediately send in-chat surveys to boost customer engagement or direct NPS email surveys to learn which customers will refer your products to their friends.

Five crucial customer onboarding metrics to track your success

customer onboarding metrics

Of course, you won’t know how successful your customer onboarding is if you don’t track specific metrics. We’ve singled out the four metrics that reveal how efficient your process is.

User activation rate

The user activation rate measures the percentage of customers who complete the initial stage of the onboarding process. This metric determines how smooth the activation process is and identifies areas for improvement.

Retention rate

The retention rate tells you how many new users use your product or service after completing customer onboarding. A high retention rate indicates that the process builds strong customer relationships and encourages long-term loyalty.

Customer satisfaction score

The customer satisfaction score measures how satisfied a new customer is with the client onboarding process. You can send surveys or feedback forms to discover the answer.

Net promoter score

This metric tells how likely your customers will recommend your business to others. It provides valuable insights into loyalty and satisfaction with your product or service.

Customer effort score

This metric measures the level of effort the customer needs to get started with the product. A high CES score indicates that the onboarding process may be too complex or confusing, resulting in low user adoption and customer churn.

Customer onboarding: Wrapping up

You shouldn’t disregard customer onboarding, as it provides the foundation for a successful customer relationship. Positive and effective customer onboarding improves customer engagement, satisfaction and loyalty.

However, implementing a customer onboarding program can be challenging if you do it on your own. You need software like Customerly to provide stellar support and optimize the customer experience.

FAQs about customer onboarding

Here are the answers to the most-asked questions about customer onboarding.

  • What are the types of customer onboarding?

    Popular types of customer onboarding are:

    1. In-person onboarding, where a company provides in-person training sessions

    2. Digital customer onboarding that includes video tutorials and email campaigns

    3. Self-service onboarding, where customers find answers via help centers and online resources

  • Who handles customer onboarding?

    Customer onboarding specialists, customer service or customer support handle this process. They guide new users to help them understand how to leverage your product.

  • What is a customer success team?

    A customer success team is a team whose primary focus is to help customers use your products confidently. Their goal is to improve the customer experience and establish successful customer relationships.

  • User onboarding vs. customer onboarding: What is the difference?

    User onboarding refers to the steps that encourage consumers to engage with your product. On the other hand, customer onboarding helps users understand why they should become paying customers and builds loyalty.

  • What is the customer onboarding checklist?

    The customer onboarding checklist lists tasks and processes a company needs to complete to bring new customers into their business. 

    It helps you ensure that all necessary steps are taken to properly welcome and support the customer while also helping to streamline the onboarding process. It is essential for customer onboarding success.

Luca Micheli

Luca Micheli

CEO @ Customerly

Luca Micheli is a serial tech entrepreneur with one exited company and a passion for bootstrap digital projects. He's passionate about helping companies to succeed with marketing and business development tips.

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