Donna Weber: 3 Key Factors to Consider When Onboarding New Customers

By Harris Clarke
Sep 17, 2021

Donna Weber, president of Springboard Solutions, has literally written the book on how to effectively onboard new customers. She has become a long-time advisor and friend to our team over the years. Her book, Onboarding Matters: How Successful Companies Transform New Customers Into Loyal Champions, has become required reading here at GuideCX. So naturally, it was an honor to feature her in a podcast where she shared her insights into the neuroscience of onboarding.

Throughout the discussion, Donna Weber highlighted three key factors to consider when onboarding a new customer. Along the onboarding journey, companies need to consider their customers’ first impressions, their sense of buyer’s remorse, and cognitive closure. “Customers want to be guided,” she said. “Everyone’s got a million things to do, and it’s more and more the vendor’s responsibility to take the customer through that journey . . . that buyer journey.” 


First Impressions

“While many managers assume that all customer interactions have equal value, not all customer interactions are of equal importance,” said customer experience and customer success expert Ed Powers

For example, efficiently resolving a client support ticket for a customer does not carry the same weight and is not as valuable as the first impression you made during the onboarding process. “First impressions might be a huge determining factor into whether customers renew or churn,” Weber said.


Alleviate Buyer’s Remorse

Even after doing all the research on a new purchase, whether you’re investing in a new vacation home, buying a new pair of pricey running shoes, or installing a new software system for your company, buyer’s remorse is inevitable. In fact, a Great Britain survey several years ago reported that 82 percent of respondents admitted to feeling guilty about a past purchase. “That represents $10 billion worth of goods collectively, so it’s very common,” Weber said.

As you are onboarding a new customer, take into account that there may be a sense of buyer’s remorse over that large investment. The reputation of the CIO who advocated for the new system could ultimately be on the line. When onboarding a new customer, you need to address and alleviate the fear, repose, and regret that often come with that buyer’s remorse.


Consider Cognitive Closure

Once you’ve successfully completed all the onboarding steps for that new customer or closed the new sales deal, there’s now a need for cognitive closure, the final stage in figuratively seeing the total picture and how all pieces of it fit together. 

It’s the responsibility of the sales team to create that cognitive closure or final picture for the customer so their brains can then start assimilating, planning, and understanding what is about to happen next. This step can be as simple as a kickoff email that outlines how the next few weeks of the partnership will pan out. 

By taking the trio of factors into account—first impressions, buyer’s remorse, and cognitive closure—successfully onboarded customers could become customers for life. For more details, tune into my podcast interview with Donna Weber here

Harris Clarke

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