Most of us have experienced dissatisfaction with a product or service once we’ve subscribed or signed up for it. Be it a complicated payment system, lack of guidance on how it works or indifferent customer service.
Needless to say, all of these are indicators of whether we'll continue using the brand and could even influence how likely we are to refer the product or service.
This is why every business’s customer on-boarding experience needs to be on point.
Customer on-boarding is an element of customer service that helps clients get the most out of their purchase, trial or account from the start of the customer journey and beyond. This could include an online registration or sign-up process, welcome email and introductions, account set-up, product training and demos, payment automation, renewals, and more.
According to Groove, most businesses find it challenging to get customers from Point A ( the moment a customer signs up for your product or service) to Point B (the moment when they first achieve “success” with you). Between A and B, is the time that the most churn happens - the customer could lose interest, be frustrated by a particular process or may not understand your value or benefits.
What Are the Benefits?
If you have a solid on-boarding process in place, it's more likely that your customer will stick with you for the long run. Some benefits could include:
- Customer loyalty
- Reduce in churn
- Higher rates of retention
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Increase in word of mouth referrals
- Increased revenue
When done right, it can lead to higher retention rates, and a happier and more engaged customer.
Here are a few pointers to keep in mind while creating and implementing your on-boarding strategy:
Make Onboarding a Team Effort
While planning for an effective on-boarding process, make sure you involve members of different teams so that they work together to deliver a smooth, overarching experience to the customer.
Set goals and create an on-boarding plan well-suited to your business, drawing from inputs and insights from sales, content, marketing and customer support teams who understand the buyer’s journey and user experience of purchasing your product or service.
Train your team on the on-boarding process, and discuss action items and deadlines that each team (or nominated person) should take ownership of. Discuss challenges and roadblocks, share lessons and analyze trends to improve and recalibrate as you go along.
A co-ordinated and holistic approach towards on-boarding will help your company implement an on-boarding process that delivers on all fronts.
Educate with Great Content
Make sure you guide your customer along their journey with useful and relevant content at every step - this is where a content plan helps to support the customer.
Once a customer has signed up, send them an introductory welcome email outlining your company’s vision and values, and link them to resources and other information.
In subsequent communication, you could share links to your FAQs, tutorials, help section and contact info - so that they can easily get their queries solved. All of these actions aim to sustain interest in the early stages of adoption.
Consider establishing a drip email campaign for existing customers, offering content via a series of emails designed to introduce product updates, company news, early bird offers etc. If a customer’s free trial period is about to come to an end, use the time to educate your customer about the features and benefits they could benefit from, if they upgrade.
Personalization Is Key
Going with the cookie cutter approach or a lack of personalization while communicating with your customers (email blast campaigns, generalized blanket messages etc.) does little to help your brand stand out and make a positive impression on your customer. Clients want to feel heard and feel like they're a priority, and they have even come to expect that from brands.
One way to do this is to create a personal relationship with them from the beginning via a customer support agent who can discuss their expectations and requirements. This will help companies know more about their buyer persona, which allows them to give more targeted, personalized on-boarding and support.
If your clients sign up for an account online, you could create a personalized welcome page. Based on their browsing history, you could offer customized guides, video tutorials and targeted demos to encourage and sustain interest. If you find that a user has spent X amount of time reading up on case studies and resources, activate a chatbot who can ask relevant questions at the time.
Onboarding, for the Long Term
For long-term success, consider ways to keep in touch with your customer long after they’ve signed up, beyond getting them successfully ‘on boarded’. An excellent on-boarding process will make your brand stand-out in their minds.
The aim should be to encourage and support your client before, during and long after conversion by considering ways to stay in touch to build a long-term relationship. Think surveys, newsletters, community discussions, social media chats, online events, conferences, requests for product reviews, and so on.
This demonstrates that you are committed to connecting with them after the initial period, keeping you at the forefront of their minds if they want an upgrade, renewal or to recommend your product or service.
Use Analytics and follow-up surveys to identify and discover more about your customer’s user experience and buyer’s journey. This allows you to improve and refine your on-boarding process so that you can continually cater to their interest, needs and requirements.
Focus on the Customer and the Rest Follows
Planning an effective on-boarding process can be a challenging and cumbersome process. However, a well-designed and executed one is essential to keeping your customers engaged, supported and valued - leading to happy and loyal clients.
Get your whole team involved in various aspects of on-boarding, create a content plan, provide resourceful and attention grabbing content and finally, tweak and adjust your program to ensure you’re getting the best results.
Knowing your customer, understanding their buyer’s journey and keeping their needs at the heart of your business will influence the effectiveness of your on-boarding efforts. By continually providing value, engaging and educating them every step of the way, you can create an impactful experience that can set your customers up for success, leading to increased customer satisfaction, brand loyalty and ultimately, more revenue.