13 Best Strategies for Customer Retention with Onboarding


Getting new customers is crucial for any business. But what sets successful companies apart is the ability to keep those customers. That’s where customer onboarding comes in. Customer onboarding is the process of engaging, educating, and nurturing new customers. You want to ensure a seamless transition into the journey with your brand and business. It’s not only about making a sale; it’s about customer retention and building long-term customer relationships

So, are you looking to boost customer retention like everyone else? Keep reading for 13 practical strategies to boost customer retention with customer onboarding. Whether you’re a startup or an established enterprise, these tips will help you create loyal customers.

Let’s dive in!

What is Customer Retention?

Picture this: Every day, new customers sign up for or purchase your product or service. But here’s the challenge: How do you keep them coming back? That’s where customer retention comes into play. Customer retention is the art of acquiring customers and keeping them engaged, satisfied, and loyal to your brand over the long haul. It’s about reducing customer churn and nurturing those relationships beyond the initial sale to a partnership that withstands the test of time.

To calculate retention, you can use this formula:

customer retention rate formula

What is Customer Onboarding?

Customer onboarding is the often-overlooked process of guiding and nurturing your customers during their first interactions with your brand, product, or service. It’s like rolling out the red carpet and welcoming them into your world with open arms. By providing your new customers with a seamless, informative, and personalized experience, you set the foundation for a lasting relationship and avoid the hidden costs of a poor customer onboarding process.

13 Strategies to Improve Customer Retention with Customer Onboarding

1. Use automation tools to send personalized task reminder emails 

Ever had to chase a customer, vendor, or stakeholder to complete an onboarding task? Customer onboarding software can help eliminate manual steps like sending task reminder emails by automatically sending them out whenever tasks are due. Tools like GUIDEcx add an extra layer by tapping into dependency logic, ensuring that task reminders trigger only after other tasks get marked “Complete.’”

email view of notification 'guidecx is building your account'

2. Involve multiple customer personas in the onboarding process

One of the best ways to boost customer retention by delivering value faster is to invite multiple customer personas to the onboarding process. A study of more than 250,000 GUIDEcx projects shows that onboarding projects with five or more customer participants finish on-time 91% of the time. And, if you only involve two customers, that number drops to 61%. That’s because getting more users involved creates more accountability on your customers’ end. If the contract signer and managers have visibility into the onboarding process, they can help make sure your customers are completing tasks so you don’t have to.

3. Create a comprehensive onboarding process template 

Companies that set themselves apart from competitors capture their processes “on paper,” never leaving it in the heads of project and implementation managers. If your customer onboarding process is repeatable, you need to be using templates. Templates are just the documented version of your onboarding process. The best customer onboarding software will allow you to create custom project templates for each product and service you offer. Your team will never miss a step and have the ability to track and optimize parts of the process like never before. As an added bonus, you’ll also make the lives of new employees easier by having everything captured so they can get up to speed quickly.

project template view in GUIDEcx onboarding platform. Showing the stages of the project layout by task in a template

But remember, once you templatize your process for each product and service, the job is not done. You’ll want to update your templates and treat it as a living, breathing document. Every so often, reevaluate your template and ensure that it has every part of your process.

4. Clearly communicate the forecasted onboarding end dates 

Frederick Wallace, FedEx Founder, said, “The information about the package is as important as the package itself.”

Frederick Wallace, FedEx Founder, said, “The information about the package is as important as the package itself.” If you want to reduce any customer anxiety or fear at the beginning of your relationship, you need to let them know exactly when they’ll receive the full value of what they paid for — just like FedEx or Amazon.

When looking for customer onboarding software, you’ll want to check that it has real-time, forecasted end dates. GUIDEcx uses an advanced algorithm that forecasts the end date and automatically adjusts as tasks are completed or delayed so users can always view the project status accurately.

You’ll make the lives of your project and implementation managers easier by reducing the number of customer questions about when onboarding will end.

5. Offer tutorials and videos to guide customers

Tutorials and videos can be secret weapons for businesses aiming to improve customer retention. Proactively address commonly challenging steps so customers have fewer questions, tasks get completed more quickly, and projects finish on time. To do this, you can include detailed task descriptions and short videos in commonly difficult task assignments for customers. Look for an onboarding solution that allows you to embed videos along with your task assignments. 

6. Share relevant onboarding success stories or case studies

During the onboarding process, sending personalized success stories or case studies to customers can profoundly impact customer retention. These stories showcase real-life examples of how your product or service has transformed the lives or businesses of similar customers. By highlighting the value and tangible benefits, you inspire new users and instill confidence in their decision to choose your offering. You can share stories with customers via weekly newsletters, case studies, or brief videos showing how other customers used your product or service and how it helped.

7. Use data to spot patterns and improve customer retention

If your customer onboarding process doesn’t include capturing and analyzing metrics and data, you’re swinging in the dark. On a regular basis (you can start with weekly or monthly), you’ll want to assess things like how many projects are completed on time and which tasks customers get stuck on most often. These five customer onboarding metrics to measure are an excellent place to start. Customer onboarding software can streamline this process by providing you with advanced reporting about trends across all your projects. 

8. Conduct regular surveys or NPS (Net Promoter Score) assessments 

Onboarding is crucial to the customer experience — it’s your first impression.

You’ll want to spot-check how customers feel about their experience during and after the onboarding experience. Remember to check in with new customers or use a tool with built-in NPS assessments to measure customer satisfaction.

9. Monitor customer activity and engagement levels during the onboarding phase 

How fast are the onboarding tasks being completed? Are customers asking questions, or have they been radio silent? Implementation and project managers should direct their attention to monitoring engagement and then intervening when customers show signs of disengagement. You can use customer onboarding software that has task status updates and status change reasons to help streamline the process of finding out which customers are disengaged, stuck, or confused. Get ahead of the delays and keep your forecasted end date on track to boost retention.

see how one company increased client engagement by 45% with GUIDEcx

10. Provide ongoing customer education through blog posts, webinars, or newsletters

Providing ongoing customer education through various channels, such as blog posts, webinars, or newsletters, is a powerful strategy to boost customer retention. Valuable content can help your business continuously educate and engage customers, ensuring they stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and product features. The best customers are informed and educated customers. These resources provide value beyond the initial onboarding and demonstrate the company’s commitment to long-term customer success.

The result? You’ll empower customers with knowledge and insights that build trust, foster loyalty, and create a community of informed users who are more likely to continue using and advocating for your products or services.

11. Celebrate customer milestones and achievements 

When your package is shipped out for delivery and at several stops along the way, Amazon lets you know. Similarly, during the onboarding process, you’ll want to create a sense of progress and accomplishment by celebrating milestones and highlighting for your customers when they’ve completed each stage of the process.

Midway or at the end of the onboarding process, consider sending a small gift to the customer team to surprise and delight them while celebrating that they’re moving on to the next phase of the customer journey.

12. Work with your customer success team to proactively engage with customers

When manual tasks are automated, your customer success and implementation teams can focus on building lasting customer relationships to drive real value and improve retention and loyalty. Encourage your teams to check in with customers and discuss the onboarding process with them to ensure your customer needs are being met. You can have teams look out for onboarding engagement signals like responsiveness to emails and the pace that tasks are completed. If you’re using a tool like GUIDEcx that includes a real-time forecasted end date, pay attention to whether or not that date keeps shifting forward. Remember: disengaged customers lead to delayed onboarding.

13. Use a customer onboarding tool that integrates with your tech stack

Integrations are the backbone of modern onboarding processes. In any organization, most teams use several different tools to get their jobs done. You can streamline onboarding and perfect the sales-to-customer success handoff by ensuring that CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot integrate with the software you use for onboarding. The benefit? Sales teams and customers don’t have to reiterate information during onboarding because you’ve eliminated the cross-functional silos. Customers get onboarded faster, and teams are all up to speed on the status. 

You’ll leave your customers with the impression that your company is a well-oiled machine as they seamlessly move from sales to onboarding to customer success. Tools like Gainsight integrate seamlessly with GUIDEcx to provide insight into customer health as they exit the onboarding phase. That’s valuable information that arms customer success teams with critical data that helps ensure customers are happily moving through the process.

Onboarding is an Ongoing Commitment

Improving customer retention through effective customer onboarding is a multi-faceted approach. By implementing the 13 strategies outlined in this blog, you can create a seamless onboarding experience that engages and educates customers and builds lasting relationships. Each strategy plays a vital role in enhancing customer retention, from personalized task reminders and involving multiple customer personas to providing tutorials and ongoing customer education. 

Remember, customer onboarding is not just a one-time process; it’s an ongoing commitment to customer success and satisfaction. By prioritizing these strategies, you can pave the way for long-term loyalty, business growth, and team efficiency.

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.