The customer onboarding process is a path fraught with peril.
If it takes too long you run the risk of losing customers before they get comfortable. The same is true if your process is confusing or not user friendly. Would you teach a person to swim by dropping them in the middle of the Indian Ocean? Of course not, they would need at least some water wings or something.
So we know what not to do. Don’t confuse them, don’t overwhelm them and do not insult them when they contact your helpdesk with what seem to you like simple questions.
“Ok big shot” I can here you saying. “Then how do we improve our customer onboarding process?”
Let me answer your question with another Question.
What is an Onboarded Customer?
“Easy,” you say. “A customer is onboarded when they are able to work on a platform or software independently without any training or support.”
The truth is that it is not that simple. We often look at customer onboarding in terms of getting them “up-and-running”. I would suggest that we look at it a bit differently. An onboarded customer is one who has achieved some level of value within the produce they are using. For example, I would consider a Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer onboarded when they have successfully used the system to enter a new lead and guided that lead along the conversion process turning them into a customer of their own.
Which Brings us Back to the Customer Onboarding Process
Specifically making it more efficient so that you can not only reduce customer churn but increase your conversions when people start to discover how effective and usable your product truly is.
Here are a few tips we have picked up along the way:
Learn from the Best
I don’t mean copy them, except that I totally do. Remember imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Sign up for some free trials to the biggest names in your industry. See how they onboard their customers and try to take note of the negatives as well. With a little poking around I am sure you will come up with some valuable and helpful ideas to get you started.
Lay out a Welcome Mat
Users want to feel welcome in your software. They want to feel like not only do they stand to benefit from a personal and business standpoint but that you are happy they are there. Many companies have a welcome email they send out to new users. Others have a whole welcome suite of introductory tutorials and walkthroughs that serve not only to help customers use the services better but like they are appreciated for using the service. A customer onboarding process does not have to go too far over the top but a warm and welcoming tone definitely sets the mood.
“How I love all of the very simple things of life”
Morrissey sang those words in his song “Such a little thing makes such a big difference”, and boy was he right. Take what you have learned from some other companies and their customer onboarding process, meld that with the information your already have about your customers, and use that to make your onboarding process simple, effective and dare I say, fun. People do not have a lot of time so once you have convinced them that your product or software is worth their financial and personal investment be sure to provide them with a process that will have them up and running in no time.
Nothing is perfect of course and the best way to incorporate these ideas into a cohesive customer onboarding process is to test, test, test. Have one idea? Test it. Have 100 ideas? Test them. Once you have a bank of data you can really shoot for the goal of cutting that onboarding time in half.