6 Best Practices for Onboarding New Customers
Customer success is much more than just getting people to purchase your product or service. In fact, that’s really only just the beginning. To reduce churn, you need to be committed to and engaged in every step of the customer journey.
An effective onboarding strategy is a great way to lay the foundation of success early and get customers on the path to loyalty and retention.
Furthermore, onboarding is a process, not a one-off task. You have to prove your value again and again to instill confidence and successfully nurture a long-term relationship. That said, here are a few tried and true onboarding best practices to consider.
Set expectations and milestones.
The first step in effective customer onboarding is determining how each individual client defines success. What is it they hope to accomplish by using your product or service? What is their ultimate end-goal or desired outcome? This will help you to understand the customer’s expectations. From there, you can map out a plan that includes setting milestones. (Just make sure they are goals you can hit.)
Personalize the experience.
Google “how to create a perfect customer onboarding experience,” and you’ll find “About 5,370,000 results.” Rather than sifting through pages and pages of advice, take the simple approach: treat your customers the same way you would treat a valuable new employee. Just as you would welcome a new team member in a way that is customized to their needs, you should individualize the experience for each new client. Some ideas include offering exclusive content, hosting VIP client portals and setting up direct, personal communication channels.
And onboarding shouldn’t necessarily be a one-size-fits-all process from client to client. It should be customized the same way you would customize your marketing emails or your sales pitches. In the age of automation, authenticity and personalization are vital.
Onboard the team.
The truth is, customer satisfaction is everyone’s job – not just sales or customer service. To be truly successful with customer onboarding, every employee within your company should be educated on the needs, pain points, background and story of each account. Conducting internal onboarding briefs aligns the team and makes the customer an integral part of your company’s everyday operations.
Better yet, using a CRM to track interactions, engagement and notes about each customer will ensure that your entire team is on the same page.
According to research conducted by Lee Resources, 80% of companies believe they’re delivering exceptional customer service. Only 8% of their customers, however, believe these companies are actually delivering superior service. Without adequate insight, you could easily fall into this trap with your own business. Make sure you’re gathering data, from website analytics and sales cycle lengths to buyer behavior and any other pertinent information. This will enable you to consistently deliver value, both in the onboarding process and beyond.
It can be helpful to view your customers as partnerships, not just as a closed sale. This is important, regardless of whether the sale occurred in a matter of seconds or if it took a period of months or years to complete. With every sale, you have the opportunity to develop and nurture a relationship. Don’t pass this up. How do you create these valuable relationships? Assign dedicated account managers. Touch base regularly. Connect and engage with them on social media. Most importantly, focus on authenticity and building trust. These are key.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Consistent contact and communication during the onboarding process is what will make or break your customer relationships. Don’t abandon your new clients after the sale. Be present during the initial stages and make yourself available to them. Remember that the seeds of churn are planted early. The sooner and more effectively you can make and strengthen that connection with your new customers, the more likely they’ll be to stay on for the long haul.
Your onboarding process will make or break your relationship with a new customer. So before you send your sales team off to close more deals, make sure you’ve laid the groundwork for successful relationships and increased client retention.
Jonathan Herrick is co-founder, CEO, and chief high-fiver of Hatchbuck, an all-in-one sales and marketing platform based in St. Louis. His extensive experience in digital marketing and sales strategies has been a driving factor in growing Hatchbuck’s sales by over 2,000 percent. A purpose-driven leader in all aspects, Jonathan has a passion for cultivating his team’s culture, spending time with his family and working to make a difference in the St. Louis community.