Serving your customers well involves more than designing and delivering the products and services they need. You need to prioritize their success and ensure they have all the information and support necessary to get the most value out of your products. A healthy customer base with minimal churn is built on excellent service that starts the day a new customer signs their contract. You need to create a good customer onboarding experience.
Customer onboarding is rarely neutral in terms of outcome. In most cases, the onboarding process either starts your customers off feeling supported and valued, or it makes them so frustrated they start looking for a different provider. If you haven’t been able to evaluate and improve your onboarding process, now is the time. Even minor optimizations can have a significant impact on retention and customer satisfaction.
Why A Good Customer Onboarding Experience Matters
It’s easy to overlook the customer onboarding process in favor of focusing on client acquisition and long-term retention. But churn often happens sooner rather than later, so optimizing your implementation process also serves your retention efforts. Likewise, happy customers build your company’s reputation and provide positive word-of-mouth marketing so that onboarding can facilitate successful customer acquisition.
The success (or failure) of your customer onboarding process can also significantly affect your company’s revenue. The faster you can get a new client up and running with your products/services, the sooner you can start to charge subscription fees or request the final payment on your contact. Additionally, an onboarding process that decreases customer churn and drives retention reduces the revenue lost to churn and lowers the investment you need to make toward customer acquisition.
Finally, a good customer onboarding strategy benefits your team as well. An efficient, effective process reduces customer service concerns. Adding automation and templates to your onboarding process reduces your implementation team’s workload and minimizes miscommunications, redundancies, and human errors.
10 Tips to Create an Excellent Onboarding Experience
Creating a great customer onboarding experience starts before your new client signs the contract. You need a standardized, well-documented process designed to use everyone’s time and resources best. Create your onboarding steps, and then walk through the process from your customer’s point of view. Identify any weak points and potential problems, then fix them proactively before they affect your customers.
Follow the steps below to develop, test, and optimize your customer onboarding experience. And if you want to dive deeper into customer onboarding, we’ve got an eBook for you. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Customer Onboarding for more information and tips on creating an exceptional experience for your clients.
Tip #1: Start the Onboarding Process Right Away
Timing is critical when it comes to good customer onboarding. There shouldn’t be a communication gap between the sales handoff and the start of implementation. If your customers have to wait days or weeks after signing the contract to hear from your onboarding team, they’ll probably feel confused and frustrated. From their point of view, it’ll look like you were just after their money — and you may not deliver on all the things promised by the sales team.
Set up your onboarding process to reach out to new clients as soon as possible — within a few hours of finalizing the contract. Send a welcome email, schedule a kickoff meeting, or email a “quick start” guide to your product. Choose a welcome sequence that makes sense for your brand, and immediately set it in motion.
Ensure your welcome communications let your customers know what to expect for the rest of the onboarding process. Give them points of contact, scheduled timelines, and a list of things you need from them (e.g., contact details for their employees who will participate in onboarding).
If you want to promote customer engagement and shorten the time it takes to full implementation, give your customers the resources they need to do some of the work themselves. Most customers want the chance to learn and figure things out, and a self-serve learning library provides that opportunity. It also lessens the burden on your training team, so they don’t have to answer FAQs or create training materials from scratch for each new client.
At GUIDEcx, we’ve created Guide University, a learning library of tutorials, MasterClasses, and training materials. These free courses allow our clients to learn everything from the basics of GUIDEcx to mastering the platform.
Tip #2: Identify Key Stakeholders
As indicated, your team must know which members of your customer’s team will be involved in onboarding. You should ask your client for that list early to bring everyone into the conversation. That list also allows you to quickly add new users to your platform, building the foundation for a great customer experience.
Identifying which of your departments and team members will be involved in onboarding is just as important. Project organization tools like a RACI chart can be helpful. Clarify which of your employees participate in each onboarding phase, and develop a clear list of responsibilities and dependencies.
Tip #3: Encourage Customer Engagement
It might sound counterintuitive, but your customer will have a better onboarding experience if they have tasks to complete. Often, companies try to give clients a “hands-off” implementation, thinking that it’s a sign of better service. But in reality, customers need to be involved in onboarding — it’s how they learn to use your products.
So don’t leave them out of the process. Give them a clear list of tasks. Here are some examples:
- E-sign all required documents
- Provide a list of users to be included in onboarding
- Attend a kickoff meeting
- Complete a tutorial
Customer engagement supports efficiency and encourages better collaboration.
Tip #4: Set the Communication Standard
Communication facilitates customer engagement. But problems happen when there isn’t a clearly defined method of communication. If customers are relying on phone calls and personal emails, it’s easy for their messages to get lost in the shuffle. A good communication system keeps everyone on the same page.
Instead of relying on email chains, use a dedicated system that automatically keeps all relevant parties in the loop. The GUIDEcx platform has an integrated communication system that allows users to comment on tasks, ask questions, and “@ mention” individuals.
Tip #5: Automate Task Management During Customer Onboarding
Onboarding generally involves many tasks and dependencies. Trying to manage the project manually is tedious and prone to errors. Task management is one of the best places to introduce automation. Even automating task notifications (e.g., assignment, deadline, completion, delay, etc.) can save significant time.
Tip #6: Check In Regularly With Your Customers
Communication isn’t just important at the beginning of onboarding — it’s essential throughout the entire process. Make sure to contact your customers regularly to see how the process is going for them and give them the opportunity to ask questions. This helps keep the process running smoothly and encourages engagement. Plus, it gives you a chance to get feedback consistently, which makes it easier to identify and resolve potential issues early on.
You should also take the time to recognize their successes. Celebrate when your customers hit milestones or complete projects. This type of positive support helps them feel valued and motivates them to continue working through the onboarding process enthusiastically.
Tip #7: Balance Efficiency and Efficacy
A good onboarding experience isn’t just about speed — it needs to be effective. The goal is to get your customer to full implementation as soon as possible. In other words, you want to give them all the tools they need to start getting full use of your products as quickly as they reasonably can. An efficient and effective onboarding process reduces time-to-value and shows your customers a return on investment early, driving their satisfaction and success.
Tip #8: Mitigate Problems Proactively During Customer Onboarding
Delays, miscommunications, and mistakes slow down onboarding. Worse, they present a less-than-ideal view of your company. It’s crucial to constantly look for mistakes, bottlenecks, and other issues that will affect your customer’s experience.
Keeping your onboarding process transparent makes it easier to identify those issues. When your customers can clearly see what’s going on and what comes next, there’s less chance they’ll miss their deadlines. And they can ask questions about anything unclear, so it’s easier for your team to see which parts of the process need improvement.
Tip #9: Templatize the Customer Onboarding Process
Does your team develop a brand-new process for each customer they onboard? That’s an extremely time-consuming process, and it’s prone to errors. It’s far better to standardize the overall process and then make minor adjustments to tailor it to each customer.
Templates can help by ensuring everyone has all the information they need about the whole process, which supports fast growth and scaling. GUIDEcx includes powerful templating tools that make it quick and easy to develop and customize a standardized process.
Tip #10: Monitor Customer Satisfaction
Finally, make sure to use research-based insights to track your client’s experience throughout the entire process. Surveys and other feedback tools make it easy to know what your client is thinking. You can recognize potential problems and address them early. And when you consistently gather feedback from every client, you can use it to continuously improve your onboarding process, so it’s better for each new customer down the line.
Serve Your Customers Better With a
Customer Onboarding Solution
Delivering the best experience to your customers starts during onboarding, and a customer onboarding solution simplifies the process for your team and customers. GUIDEcx is a dedicated onboarding platform designed to eliminate redundancies and miscommunications to get your customers from sales handoff to go live as soon as possible.
With customizable templates, automated task management tools, and integrated communication features, our customer onboarding solution facilitates an exceptional experience for everyone involved.
Talk with a Guide Today
Discover how GUIDEcx can help you improve efficiency by reducing your customer onboarding timeline and increasing the capacity of your project managers. Our unparalleled professional resources and unwavering commitment to excellence support our industry-leading customer onboarding solution.