Let’s assume the customer has loved your product and they’ve chosen from one of your subscription packages. But if you think that the sale is closed, you’re wrong. Converting a prospect into your customer is just one crucial part of the sale. The next important part is customer onboarding!
Having a proper customer onboarding process in place can give a lot of benefits to your business. Put short, good customer onboarding experiences pave the way for loyal customers, improved customer retention rates and better customer relationships.
So, in this article, we’ll be looking at the best customer onboarding practices you should be following as a business. But before that, let’s quickly run through the basics.
What is Customer Onboarding?
Customer onboarding is the process of making your customers more acquainted with your product and improving their interaction & usage experience.
Put in simple terms, customer onboarding is more like giving your customers a walkthrough of your product so they can start making the best out of your product right away.
A good customer onboarding process includes personalization, welcome call, regular follow-ups and more. Whereas, on the other hand,
“A Poor Onboarding experience is hard to come back from and the fastest way to lose your customer.”
– Paul Philip
Now that you know what customer onboarding is, let’s look at why customer onboarding is considered so important.
Why Is Customer Onboarding Process So Important?
Like we already mentioned, just because your customer has chosen from one of your subscription packages or opted-in for the free trial doesn’t mean you have won them forever.
They can choose not to use your product any time they want. And the chances are very high they abandon your product, especially in the early stages of usage. This is where customer onboarding comes in.
When you take your customers through a hassle-free and well-informed onboarding process, they tend to stick to you for a longer period. It’s all about the first impression and how well you support them in the early stages.
A good customer onboarding experience will,
- Make your customers happy and down the lane, they become loyal brand advocates
- A steady flow of revenue for your business, thanks to greater customer lifetime value
- A good customer onboarding process can effectively reduce the number of queries customer raises later
- Reduces customer churn and paves way for lower acquisition costs
Those are the key benefits of giving your customers a good onboarding experience. Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at the best customer onboarding practices you should have in place for your business.
Customer Onboarding Best Practices
In this section, we’ll be looking at the best practices for customer onboarding along with a couple of real-time examples and templates. That said, let’s get started.
1. A Hassle-free Sign Up Process
It all starts with the sign-up process. Because a sign-up process is where the onboarding actually begins. Let’s say your customer is satisfied with all your marketing efforts and has come to the decision to try out your product.
The first step is the sign-up process. Customer onboarding starts with the sign-up process. It’s because the signup portal is the first step to a long journey ahead. Making this process hassle-free creates the first best impression.
Here are some best practices that will give you customers a hassle-free sign-up experience,
1. Make your signup process as short as possible. Ask only for “must-have information”. The “nice to have information” can be asked and collected in due course of time. Asking for hordes of information initially can lead to abandonment. The goal is to convert a prospect into a customer. Collect only the basic and most important information during the signup process.
2. If there’s no way to cut down required information, consider splitting them up into multiple pages. At least this way, your customers won’t think they are being asked for a lot. Make sure that you contain it within two pages.
3. Some people like the idea of a one-click sign-up process. So, make sure you have sign-up options that include Google or popular social accounts. This saves time, and effort for your customers and can improve the sign-up percentage to a great extent.
Here’s a quick example,
Here, in this sign-up page example, the process seems to be super quick. The only information asked for is the email address and a custom password. There’s also an option to signup with a Google account.
Though might not be suitable for all kinds of businesses, the idea here is to collect as little information as possible in the beginning and later on collect more on the go.
PRO TIP: Make sure to have a security/verification check for new users.
2. Personalized Welcome Onboard Email
Now that your customer has signed up successfully, the next step is to make them feel welcome. And the perfect way would be to send your customers a personalized welcome email – more like a human conversing via an email (we do know how that sounds, but that’s how it should be).
Make sure your email has the following elements to make it more effective,
- A subject line that greets your customer
- A sincere thanks note for choosing you
- Link to resources that can help them get started – self-service approach
- Provide them with some sort of assurance and look forward to connecting with them
- A CTA sort of button that’ll allow them to get started using your product
Drafting an onboarding welcome email with the above elements will make your email more effective and establish a sense of trust in your brand.
Speaking of a welcome email template, we’ve come up with a sample for you.
Onboarding Welcome Email Template
– – –
Subject: [Name], Welcome to XXX! Here’s What’s Next!
Hi [Customer Name],
This is [Agent Name] from [Product Name’s] Customer Success Team. Before we start, let me take a minute to personally thank and welcome you to [Product Name].
I am your account manager and I’ll be taking care of all your queries/issues. Also, I’ll be making sure that you get the best out of [Product Name] platform.
I’d love to learn more about your business/the reason you signed up with us and see if I could be of help by providing more value over a quick call. Do let me know your convenient dates & times for the same!
Meanwhile, you can take a look at our docs and get started with [Product Name] in a few steps.
I hope you’d have a great time using [Product Name].
You can start here.
– – –
The above email template has all the elements we’ve mentioned above and is applicable for most cases.
The mail has a
- Personalized, strong subject line
- Starts with a “Thank You” note
- Has links to resources
- A CTA that takes customers to the product
- And most importantly, there’s a dedicated account manager assigned asking for a slot to get in touch with the customer
Like discussed, this creates a sense of trust within the customer. They think that they’ve made the right decision choosing your product.
PRO TIP: It’s always best that you leverage email automation. Whether it’s a drip campaign or a single burst, make sure to automate it.
3. The Login & Setup Process
Probably by now, your customer will have adequate knowledge about your product. The next phase is the login process and further steps.
Sorting this out is important as it streamlines the overall process and delivers the final experience. Like the signup process, make sure the login is easy as well.
When users are logging in for the first time, make sure you give them all the first-time instructions. This will allow them to move towards achieving the purpose of why they chose your product in the first place.
The next you have to take care of is the integrations. Make migrations as easy as possible and make them optional as well.
Not every one of your customers would want to connect with other accounts or import data the very first time. They might want to take their own time before they finally choose to go all in with your product. All you have to do is, make the customer onboarding process as smooth as possible and wait for things to unravel.
4. Clean, User-focused Product Walkthrough
In between the login and the setup process comes the product walkthrough process.
The best part about product walkthrough is that your customers get to learn more about your product in real time and in an interactive manner.
There are a couple of things you need to look into when creating a product walkthrough,
- Not all your customers would want to go through the entire walkthrough. Some might have known the process already or they simply want to skip it for the time being. Make sure it’s possible to do so.
- Give them the option to resume the walkthrough whenever they want to.
- Make the interaction as clean as possible – precise and all the information they possibly need.
5. Follow Up Emails
Remember where we sent a welcome email? That shouldn’t be the last of your emails.
You should follow up with your customers once or twice to know if they need any help from your side. It shows that you care for them and you are approachable anytime they want.
Here’s a sample follow-up email template you could put to use.
Follow-up Email Template
– – –
Subject: xxx, How’s [Product Name] Working Out For You?
It’s been a couple of days now since you started using [Product Name]. How’s it all working out for you?
Have you tried [a feature of your product]? This is one feature most of our customers appreciate and love about [Product Name].
Also, here are a couple of reads you might find useful,
- Blog 1
- Blog 2
- Blog 3
In case you need assistance with something else, you can take a look at our docs or reach out to me as well!
Looking forward to hearing from you!
– – –
Sending off such emails will let customers know you care for them and won’t hesitate to reach out to you in case they need anything.
Speaking of reaching out to you, let’s bread to the next important customer onboarding practice.
6. Offer 24x7 Extensive Support
Your new customers are fragile. They tend to easily switch products even at the slightest measure of discomfort.
They have very little product knowledge and this is the time when they need you the most. Make sure that you are reachable to your customers.
You can consider using AI chatbots for support on your website. This way, you can offer 24×7 support to customers. Being instantly available to customers in the initial stages (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t later on) can give a good onboarding experience.
And when you consistently offer great customer support, they become loyal brand advocates for your brand.
7. Knowledge Base
Some customers would love the self-service approach. They’d love to sort things out by themselves. And that’s why you need to have an in-depth knowledge base in place.
Before starting off with a knowledge base, it’s important that you understand the customer expectations. Know what the most commonly asked questions are, identify where your users get stuck most of the time and create your knowledge base accordingly.
It’s also better to have product explainer videos in place – it kind of solves the purpose in a much more interactive way.
With that said, we are now about to wrap up this customer onboarding best practices read.
The Bottom Line
Customer onboarding is where it all starts. This is the phase that defines whether a customer is going to stay with you for a long period of time or is going to switch to your competitor. Having a good customer onboarding strategy in place can make all the difference to your business.
Here’s to sum it up,
- A hassle-free sign-up process
- Personalized welcome emails
- Smooth login & setup process
- Information and interactive product walkthrough
- Regular follow-up email offering assistance and resources
- Offer 24×7 support
- In-depth knowledge base and product explainer videos
Making sure to follow all the above steps will help you deliver a great customer onboarding experience to your customers. That said, start practicing these best customer onboarding practices and delight your customers on the go.