— June 21, 2019
Imagine you’re a customer who’s just subscribed to a service or purchased a new product. In a perfect world, what would happen next? You’d probably begin using the product and discover it works exactly as described. The value of your purchase would be immediately apparent. There would be a dedicated customer success team that would help you learn to use all the features. And if you had an escalation, that team would assist you through the channel of your choice.
We may not live in a perfect world, but there are processes and customer success software that can help you deliver an onboarding experience that is as close to perfection as possible. In this customer-centered economy, customers are in control. They can easily spread feedback about your business online, giving them the power to hurt your reputation if they have a bad onboarding experience. Therefore, learning how to onboard new clients really means becoming more customer-centered. And to do that, your enterprise must be able to gather data from every customer interaction and draw conclusions to make smarter onboarding decisions.
How to Onboard New Clients
Customer-centric onboarding starts with realizing that your business’s success and your customers’ success are really one and the same. By aligning your business goals to match your customer’s goals, you’ll be able to retain customers for life, ensuring stable revenue for a long time to come.
Good onboarding means knowing if each milestone of the onboarding process has been achieved and if customers are successful in using your product to gain their desired value. In order to do this, make sure customers learn to use your product and see its value within a timeframe that meets their expectations. As such, you need the ability to monitor their progress and intervene with education should they run into roadblocks.
You need to track your customer’s KPIs as they pursue their goals, but the KPIs you track are entirely up to you. For example, if your product is software that enables your customers to chat with their customers, you could measure the number of abandoned chat sessions. This might indicate that customers were not getting good answers from chat representatives or that they located their answers themselves and left the chat session early. Whatever you need to measure, you want to keep a close eye on relevant customer data.
Here are some other ways to make the customer onboarding experience better:
Measure How Long Onboarding Takes
Onboarding begins as soon as a sale is concluded and ends whenever the customer has learned to use all of a product’s features on their own. The amount of time each customer needs to complete onboarding will vary, so, depending on your industry or product type, you can set different projections for how long you think onboarding will last. But once you set a timeline for onboarding customers, you’ll need to measure how much time your onboarding periods actually take. This will tell you if you’re meeting your company’s expectations or if you need to complete future onboarding periods faster. You can track how long onboarding is taking using customer success software.
Measuring the length of the onboarding process also benefits your customers. With a solid onboarding process in place, they will be more likely to feel secure, comfortable, and cared for. There will be more frequent engagements, allowing the customer to get answers to any questions and feel confident that they made the right decision.
Monitor Customer Progress
Customers move through onboarding by successfully completing a series of milestones. These milestones are as unique as your product and can include anything from the adoption of a specific feature to passing a certain frequency of use threshold. You need to identify these milestones early on and watch to ensure that all customers are passing them with ease. If customers stagnate during any part of the onboarding process, they will not gain value from your product, and that creates the potential for churn. So, identify struggling customers by monitoring their usage and give them the information they need to gain product value as soon as possible.
On the other hand, you should also be tracking customers who are doing well and making sure you continue to engage them. If a customer is moving through the onboarding phase much quicker than most customers, for instance, you can engage with them to learn what allowed them to move so fast. Then, you can apply these insights when optimizing the standardized onboarding process so that future customers can also complete onboarding more quickly.
Make Each Onboarding Phase Better Than the Last
You want to make sure your onboarding processes are getting better over time so that your customers consistently enjoy great onboarding experiences. One way of doing this is to use customer success software that has out-of-the-box best practices you can leverage to work on critical gaps in the onboarding experience, such as poor customer education or slow success team responsiveness. As the quality of customer onboarding improves, you can know you’ve successfully solved these problems.
Engage Customers During Onboarding and Establish a Relationship for Life
Learning how to onboard new clients means transforming your company so that your business is centered around helping your customers achieve their goals. It also involves putting time and effort into cultivating customer relationships that can last a lifetime. If you set up customer relationships right in the onboarding phase, you will be able to count on existing customers to provide stable revenue and accept growth-enabling upsells.
Lasting customer relationships are forged through quality engagements. That means you must constantly work to understand your customers’ experience of your brand and product. To do so, you’ll need to collect as much data as possible from every customer engagement. And then you must use the insights you’ve gathered to make the customer experience better.
If you’re working on this task without the right tools you’ll have a hard time establishing lifelong relationships with customers, especially if you have many customers or multiple product lines. The best way to streamline the process is to use customer success software. It gives you the functionality you need to set customer relationships up for long-term success and helps teams engage them proactively and responsively.
A quality customer success platform also makes it possible to automate certain key tasks. For instance, you could choose to send an automated congratulatory email when certain goals are reached. Plus, it makes it easier to identify trends and ensure customers stay on track. You can monitor the progress of onboarding customers and gather feedback in order to finetune the process for future customers.
In the customer-centered economy, unhappy customers have endless options. If you can’t engage them properly early on, they’re empowered to abandon your product for a competitor’s. Each customer is precious, and it costs time and money to seek out new ones, so try to foster an environment where customers won’t want to churn. By knowing how to onboard new clients in a customer-centered fashion and giving your customer success team the tools they need to consistently engage customers, your business and customers will be able to achieve shared goals.