Understanding Customer Onboarding: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Understanding Customer Onboarding video

Customer onboarding is the process of guiding a customer after a purchase to help them fully utilize the product. This assures they reap the benefits advocated in your marketing and enhances their overall satisfaction.

Properly executed customer onboarding has many benefits to the business, as we outlined in our previous article. However, not all businesses execute customer onboarding efficiently. Sometimes, it can be a complete mess. Here, we discuss the elements of effective and poor customer onboarding and the worst blunder to avoid.

Let’s start with some important considerations.

7 Things About Customer Onboarding You Need to Know

Every business can benefit from customer onboarding, whether it’s a personal touch during the first customer interaction, an email series guiding users through setup, a knowledgebase or YouTube training that helps buyers use the products, or a comprehensive webinar covering all features. Without it, there is a risk of losing customers who cannot fully benefit from what was promised.

Here are seven insights about customer onboarding that you may find surprising.

1) Effective Onboarding Boosts Customer Retention

Why is customer onboarding so crucial? The answer lies in its impact on customer retention.

The purpose of onboarding is to educate users on how to maximize the value they derive from the product they have purchased. When users can fully experience the benefits, they become satisfied and are more likely to return for additional products and services. This also indicates that the product has lived up to your marketing message and that you delivered the promised value.

2) Onboarding Focuses on the Customer, Not Your Product

While it may be apparent that onboarding revolves around your product, this isn’t entirely accurate. It primarily centers around your customers and their experiences.

When customers utilize your product’s full potential, it indicates that you’re doing it right. Understanding customer needs is crucial in evaluating whether your product is performing as expected.

It is also important to create opportunities for communication throughout the process to evaluate its effectiveness.

3) First Impressions are Important

A customer’s initial interaction with your product after purchase, usually through the onboarding process, is vital. It can establish a positive foundation for the entire client relationship, shaping their sustained loyalty and support.

4) Provide Clear, Concise Instructions

The onboarding experience should seamlessly guide users through your product or service using a step-by-step approach. This would ensure they grasp how to effectively navigate and utilize it, preventing any feelings of frustration or potential customer attrition due to a high learning curve.

5) Customers Often Enjoy DIY Learning

With readily available technology, customers often desire more educational resources from the businesses they support. They appreciate videos, graphics, and personalized assistance to maximize their use of the purchased products.

By prioritizing educational materials and support, you can meet their needs and expand your customer base. Identify what they want to learn from you and provide more of it than your competitors.

6) The Power of Human Interaction

Establishing a connection with a human touch goes a long way in making onboarding valuable for customers. For instance, reaching out personally with an email or direct message to offer assistance with the product has a much higher perceived value than automated messages by a significant margin.

Customer onboarding revolves around enhancing the user experience; thus, optimizing it through gestures like this can make a substantial difference.

7) Avoid Overwhelm

Be careful not to overwhelm customers with too much information, as this can undermine your onboarding efforts. While you may have plenty of information to provide, it should be done in an appropriate manner.

An effective onboarding process ensures that customers receive the right information at the right time. It’s important to understand their journey with the product to provide assistance when they need it.

What Does Effective Customer Onboarding Look Like? (The Good)

Let’s look at what makes a customer onboarding process effective.

  • A Smooth, Uniform Process: The customer’s journey from the first interaction with your business to the final should be smooth and consistent. This consistent experience builds trust and assures the customer of a steady value delivery.
  • Commencing on a Positive Note: Effective customer onboarding begins the moment a purchase is made. A welcome message thanking the customer and initiating the product education process is a good start.
  • Open Lines of Communication with the Customer: An effective process allows for two-way communication, enabling you to understand the customer’s journey and provide needed support. A good plan relies on user feedback and data, necessitating multiple direct communication channels.
  • Incremental Victories: The customer should encounter milestones, or small victories, throughout their journey. These incremental wins build up over time as they derive increasing benefits from the product.

When Does Customer Onboarding Go Wrong? (The Bad)

Onboarding can fail for several reasons, leading to a loss of customers.

Instead of a logical process that provides the client with the necessary information at the right time, poor onboarding overwhelms them by presenting all the information at once, leading to frustration and eventual abandonment.

The results are ineffective when the process is fully automated and lacks the human touch. While automation can streamline many aspects, personalization is key. A common issue with online purchases is the lack of personalization. Customizing the process to meet diverse user needs can also make a significant difference.

Over-promising is another pitfall. The user’s experience with your product should match the promises made in your marketing. If the product falls short of the promised benefits, the customer may not make a repeat purchase.

The Biggest Mistake Businesses Make (The Ugly)

The gravest mistake is to overlook the importance of customer onboarding. Surprisingly, many businesses do, assuming customers will reach out if they encounter issues with the product. This is a missed opportunity. You can deliver superior value and retain customers by establishing a system and managing the process.

Investing in customer onboarding is beneficial, as retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. The resulting increase in customer satisfaction, retention, and lifetime value makes the investment worthwhile.

Getting Started with Customer Onboarding

To get started, it’s helpful to put yourself in the user’s shoes immediately after they have made a purchase. Consider what kind of support they might require during each stage. Identify any aspects of the product that may not be obvious to them. How can you assist them in maximizing their experience with the product?

Take into account the days, weeks or even months following their purchase and brainstorm ways you can offer assistance throughout each stage of their journey.

We will delve into this more in our next article.


Other articles in this series:
Create Customers for Life: The Importance of Onboarding in the Sales Process
Crafting an Exceptional Customer Onboarding Experience
Customer Retention: Why Onboarding Strategies Are Crucial
Getting Started with a Customer Onboarding Strategy

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