Customers love a positive experience. When they pay for a product or service, they expect to receive a good customer experience. Especially when it comes to software services, one of the key ways to delight your customers is by providing them with seamless onboarding.
It is important to create a successful customer onboarding plan as great customer onboarding not just introduces users to the product but also shows customers the value they will get. You can ensure better customer retention and product adoption as well when onboarding is done right.
In this blog post, we will explore different facets of customer onboarding which will help us understand how to approach it for our own product.
What is customer onboarding?
Customer onboarding is the first interaction in the customer journey and it is the time when your product has to provide an incredible experience to the customer.
When a user purchases your product they become customers and often a great first interaction with the product or service sets the tone for a positive new relationship.
The ultimate aim of customer onboarding is to train new customers to your product and provide them with a seamless experience.
Creating a good first impression and cohesive experience is important but it can be challenging.
Understand the painpoints of your customers and guide them through the onboarding process.
It can be done by putting their goals at the center of your onboarding process, that is what they can achieve by using the product or service?
Once you create a customer experience around their goals they would like to use your product again which would reduce the churn rate.
Why is customer onboarding important?
The association of the customer with your product lasts for a longer duration than any other user who is exploring the product via free trial or demo.
The rate of interaction would be high and if they face any trouble they will reach out to the customer success or support team. This might create a lot of stress on the internal team and could consume their valuable time.
It is important to hit the positive emotions of the customers at every point and convert them into a fan but this can only happen if you provide a positive onboarding experience.
Unfortunately, only 18% of the companies focus on customer retention while 44% look to acquire new ones. It is high time that businesses give importance to customer retention by improving their onboarding process as it costs five times less to retain a customer than acquiring a new one.
What is the customer onboarding process?
Don't confuse your customers for users and create a separate onboarding experience. When you stitch a new customer onboarding journey it shouldn't be limited to signup rather it starts once they subscribe to your product.
Analyze the customers: Try to understand the type of customer using your product. The basis on the insights, bucket them into different user groups. Then find the problems that they are facing during the onboarding and create a customized onboarding process for each user group.
Create onboarding checklist: Based on the analysis of the previous step create a sequence of onboarding content that the customers have to complete to master the application. The moment they complete one step it must get canceled out. These content could be videos, PDFs, PPTs, or walkthroughs.
Guidance at each step: Deploy announcements and walkthroughs. It is important to set the right expectations at the first touchpoint and kick start the customer journey via personalized walkthroughs. Explain each step and task that they will accomplish using the walkthroughs.
Help them to get it right: The ultimate aim for any onboarding is to guide the users to meet their end goal but they have to do it correctly. With the help of tooltips, and data validations you can help them enter the right information at the right place.
This approach helps the customers feel confident with your product even though they are new to it which is very important for the success of the product.
Optimizing the onboarding: Creating the initial iteration of onboarding is just the beginning, it can never be a 'be all end all' approach. Using a Digital Adoption Platform can help you measure the engagement rate, average sessions, goal completion ratios, and gap in your processes. Based on these insights it is easy to optimize your onboarding approach and drive successful product adoption which is a must-have for new customers.
Relevant Read: Difference between user onboarding and customer onboarding
5 Customer Onboarding Best Practices
Here are some best practices that SaaS companies can follow to improve their customer onboarding process:
- Simplify the Signup
- Provide Quick Wins
- Create Onboarding Flows
- Customize User Experience
- Reduce Friction
1. Simplify the Signup
What is the first interaction of the user with your product? The signup. First impressions matter a lot. Especially in SaaS companies, this sign-up process helps potential users improve the product experience. This first interaction will set the tone for the product experience.
Minimize the number of fields you ask your users to fill. Just take the basic information and allow them access to the product in a simple manner.
Some sites seem to have got rid of even the signup. You can instantly search for the product or service and there is no need for signup. You get the value upfront. Reducing friction as much as possible is important to get the right win.
2. Provide Quick Wins
Another user onboarding best practice is to offer quick wins as soon as you can. The more value you provide, the higher the chances of them staying loyal to your product. There is quicker product adoption and retention.
Popularly known as the ‘aha’ moment, this is when the customers see the value in your product. The best way to do that is by finding patterns in user data, learning from customer feedback, segment users, learn from users who have churned, and start with user preferences. Find the right tactics to optimize your aha moment.
3. Create Onboarding Flows
Once customers know the value, they can show the opportunity to others. To accelerate adoption, creating onboarding flows help a great deal. By providing users with custom onboarding flows, you encourage them to explore and understand the product in all its depth.
Customers who are confident in using your product effectively and experience positive outcomes could become evangelists for your product. Having the right onboarding flow can make or break your customer retention strategy too.
4. Customize User Experience
Some users prefer a step-by-step process while onboarding, others want to jump right in. Give users the chance to skip if they are not interested in long, detailed explanations. This puts them in the groove, giving them the choice to leave if they are comfortable with onboarding as they want.
Providing a good customer experience in all the stages of their journey with you is paramount. The onboarding experience can be customized as per user age, gender, demographics, and more for improvement. This is what defines to a great extent the relationship with your customer.
5. Reduce Friction
From the customer’s perspective, the onboarding needs to be easy and frictionless. If onboarding is not smooth, it might get tough for customers to navigate the product. Many companies forget this when they start.
Progressive data profiling should be considered to collect only relevant information instead of collecting all the data at once. Don’t look to infringe on their privacy. Build a connection based on trust and value to get better results.
Guide users towards major releases and features. Ensure the product has the attention you want. The more you talk about the value and less about their details, the better is the activation and onboarding.
Improving the customer onboarding process is extremely important for a company. It is a gateway to how the company works and how customers perceive it. You can experiment with what works by signing up for the product frequently, seeing what can be improved, work with marketing, sales, and product teams for a better customer experience.
This is a guest blog from Jafar Sadhik.
FAQs on Customer Onboarding
Customer onboarding is the process of new customers getting started with a product and using it to the fullest potential to accomplish their tasks. It covers the journey from their initial interaction to final submission. The goal is to help the customers immediately succeed with your product.
Customer onboarding is important to retain them and reduce the overall churn rate. It helps the customer to understand the complete value of your product or service and leverage it to its fullest potential.
A customer onboarding platform is a tool that takes care of the end-to-end customer journey and helps them realize the Wow moment.