5 More Must-Know Metrics for Customer Onboarding

Jun 9, 2022
GUIDEcx 5 More Metrics Onboarding Infographic

You’re patting yourself on the back as you walk away from what you consider a successful onboarding process. “Nailed it,” you say, thinking of the awesome slide deck you implemented, the carefully written script you followed, and the clear set of objectives you completed during the process. “I bet the client was blown away by that onboarding process!” you exclaim. 

If that’s the inner dialogue you’re having with yourself, you’re probably wrong. One study found that 90 percent of customers feel organizations could do better with the onboarding process. That leaves a mere 10 percent of your clients feeling satisfied with their onboarding. 

How can the onboarding process be “off” for so many clients, and how do you recognize this dissatisfaction when it happens? It starts with understanding key metrics to measure onboarding success. Questions to ask include “What are we hoping to achieve?” “How do we recognize those results?” and “How do we measure those results?” Results without analysis mean nothing. Measuring and analyzing results requires a conscious and concerted effort to understand data. Specific onboarding metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) help you to see areas to improve, and plan additional success strategies to pursue.

What are these important measures of success for onboarding a client? In the article “5 Must-Know Metrics for Your Client Onboarding Strategies,” we introduced you to five important metrics for measuring success. Here are five additional metrics you can use to measure success in the onboarding process.


In one year, how many of the clients that you have onboarded will still be a part of your customer base? A study on client turnover within the US found an astounding 84 percent turnover rate for the professional services industry. 

What does it cost to lose a customer? The expense of replacing a client includes costs to productivity, sales, and onboarding time, not to mention the loss in revenue. The churn rate measures this type of turnover and is the opposite of the retention rate.

Retaining customers should be an important goal of organizations looking to improve productivity, lower costs, and maintain or increase revenue. The most crucial time for retention is during the first few weeks: A newly obtained client should never fall through the cracks. These are the most vulnerable customers and who are most likely to look elsewhere if unhappy with the product or service they purchased.

To measure the success of retaining new users or customers, use the following formula:

Understanding how well you are retaining customers will help you identify areas in which you can improve. A high rate means you are doing well in retaining customers, while a lower rate indicates something the organization needs to fix. This is an important metric as customer churn costs businesses millions each year.

Customer Satisfaction

In order to retain your current customers, you need to focus on customer satisfaction. With 74 percent of customers saying they will switch brands if they find the purchasing process too difficult, ensuring satisfaction is crucial to a successful onboarding process. 

One of the best ways to measure customer satisfaction is through a net promoter score (NPS). Begin by asking your current customers to rate your organization or customer service on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest score) on how likely they are to recommend your product or service to a friend looking for something similar. 

Those who select 1 to 6 are considered detractors. These are those who may have a negative view of your business, whether or not they actively share this view with others. If asked their opinion, they would likely not speak highly of your offerings. 

Those who select 7 to 8 are considered passive. They feel neutral about your organization and would neither positively promote nor negatively speak about your business. These individuals can be ignored when determining the net promoter score.

Those who select 9 or 10 are considered promoters and are your most loyal customers. These individuals would actively promote your business and speak highly about your organization when asked.

To measure the satisfaction of current customers, use the following formula:

To understand where your business lies in relation to competitors in the industry, you can compare available NPSs to see how well your business is performing. A high NPS indicates you are satisfying the majority of your customers. A lower score means it’s time to make some improvements.

Engagement Rate

Eighty percent of people have deleted an app because they didn’t know how to use it. That’s a lot of people giving up on a product because of a lack of training or onboarding. No organization wants a customer to give up on their product or service. One of the best ways to define the success of an onboarding process is to analyze how engaged the clients are with your product. Are they actively engaged? Are they only passively engaged? Or has their engagement dropped off completely, indicating they are no longer using the service?

Engagement rate helps define how many users are actively using your product or service over a defined period of time. To analyze this metric, first divide customers into groups based on the start date of their onboarding. This could be a specific date, a week of the month, or the month in which they began the process. Then define what “active” looks like for your product or service; again, is it daily, weekly, or monthly?

To measure the satisfaction of current customers, use the following formula:

Once you’ve begun measuring the engagement rate, you can then see which groups are falling behind in engagement. A lower rate points to a decrease in engagement. Additional training, updating the customer on products that might better fit their needs, or touching base more frequently to remind the customer of the benefits of your product or service may increase this metric and improve engagement.

Time to Value (TTV)

Time is money, and what the client ultimately wants is to get value from your product or service. Time to value (TTV) in the onboarding process is the period of time between the start of the onboarding process and the time at which the customer first experiences the value of the product or service. This value may be intangible and abstract (such as “Now I get it!”), or it might be quantifiable (such as “I made 20 more sales today after using this service”).

To understand this metric, you must first identify what “value” means to the customer. Start with why your customers came to your organization in the first place. What are they hoping to achieve by using your product or service? Is it a sales goal? Is it ease-of-use? Is it streamlining a system? These are value adds your organization is helping them to achieve. That moment when they achieve that value is the moment you will use to calculate TTV.

To measure TTV, use the following formula:

If you have established a strong relationship with the client, understanding when they first achieved value will be part of the ongoing conversation. The smaller this number, the more quickly your clients are getting to value. A higher number means you may need to re-evaluate the steps in your process. Can you get the client to value more quickly? Look for ways to improve that number.

Net Revenue Retention (NRR)

While the client has a goal of adding or achieving value, ultimately, you have a goal to increase revenue. One way to measure the success of the onboarding process is to track revenue growth that can be linked directly to onboarding. Remember, the goal of onboarding is to establish a long-term relationship with the client. This includes helping them understand the specific products and services that you offer that could be of benefit to their business. During the onboarding process, an effective client onboarder will be able to identify and suggest upgrades, new products, or additional services for each of their clients.

To understand how these conversations and conversions affect revenue, you can use the net revenue retention (NRR) formula. This formula allows you to see the relationship between growth in your customer base and the effects of upsells and cross-sells. It can also define revenue that would potentially be lost if new customers are not onboarded.

The NRR calculation is a bit more complex but gives a clear picture of how revenue and retention work together. Begin by dividing customers into onboarding groups, then use the following formula to calculate NRR:

  • MRR: Monthly recurring revenue
  • Business Expansion Revenue: Increase in revenue due to upselling or cross-selling
  • Canceled MRR: customer canceled sale altogether
  • Downgraded MRR: customer downgraded the service plan and is paying you less than before

When this number is high, it means that, due to retaining a higher number of customers, you are generating more revenue. A lower number indicates how much revenue is affected by customers lost. The overall goal here is to help the customer add value. Revenue is a natural outcome of a trust-based relationship with a client who looks to you to provide solutions.

Onboarding Best Practices

As you implement these key success measurements into the onboarding process, make sure that you are using some of these best practices:

  • Set goals. Goals should include specific definitions for each metric, be measurable (see the formulas listed above), be achievable, be relevant, and be completed in a timely fashion. Time tracking is key to ensuring your resources for these goals are being used effectively.
  • Understand the difference between implementation and onboarding. While “onboarding” is more commonly used when working with smaller companies, “implementation” typically refers to the process of rolling out a new system for a large enterprise. Understanding where your business fits will help you define and set up your onboarding system.
  • Build trust. One of the most important things to remember is that you are building a long-term relationship with the client. Your ultimate goal is to help them achieve success. Taking the time to build trust through empathetic listening and working together will help your onboarding process go more smoothly.

Understanding what metrics to use in measuring the success of your onboarding process will help you determine vulnerable clients, increase engagement, improve retention, and lead to improved customer satisfaction. Onboarding software will help you streamline your process as well as analyze this data. Take the guesswork out of data analysis by using these powerful onboarding metrics. 

To learn more about how GUIDEcx can help you with these success measurements, take a moment to fill out a demo request.


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