When you have a product or service to sell, you not only face the challenge of gaining customers but of holding on to them. This means that you have to show someone they “need” your product or service. Yours is the product to select over your competitors’, and that the consumer should continue coming back to get more of the product or receive the service again. That’s a hefty task! Once you win your new customer, make sure your customer onboarding process is airtight.

Customer Onboarding

In this article, we give you the low down on customer onboarding so that you can feel successful in gaining—and keeping—a customer base.

Definition of Customer Onboarding

Customer onboarding is the steps that a business takes to recruit and keep new customers. During this process, the business teaches or shows consumers how to use their product or why their service is essential. They detail the value of their offering as well as give the buyer an idea of what their customer experience will include.

This begins with the first impression that the customer has of your business, which might be out of your control as a company. If your customer hears of you through word of mouth or during the process of them showing another potential customer your product, you want to make sure that that referral is going to be a positive one.

From the first moment when a consumer realizes that they want or need what you are selling, their user experience begins. This moment often cannot be quantified, but it creates an emotional response that is hard to let go of. The more control you have over your current customers’ experience, the more you can trust that the initial desire for your product will be positive for others.

Onboarding can mean a few things. If you offer a free trial of something, onboarding means creating paying customers. It can mean gaining website traffic so that people know your ‘name.’ How are consumers going to know that they need what you have if you haven’t shown them a place where their lives could be improved with your offering?

Reeling in and hooking customers from the beginning means that long-term success is more predictable. The more a consumer feels that your product is improving their lives, the longer they will stay your customer.

The Steps and Process of Customer Onboarding

Follow these steps and the process of onboarding your customers will flow seamlessly.

First Connections

From the get-go, your consumer should feel appreciated, valued, and understood. People want to be listened to if they are parting with their money, and they want to be confident that you will be there to help them if a concern arises.

Make sure to use your market research to predict what your customer might want or need. What are their access and pain points? What do people like them typically want or need when they are purchasing what you have to sell?

Hit the Ground Running

Provide your customer with everything that they could possibly need to be successful using your product or to keep them coming back for more (in a positive way). Give them the expectation that as they continue to use your offering, they will be treated with respect and value and that they will continue receiving benefits from using your product or service.

Train Effectively

As excited as some people are to use a new product or service, sometimes after the initial hook, they will run into issues. As they use the product or service more and more, they might see problems or misunderstand its use. Make sure you give them resources to solve their problems or that you are available with kind compassionate customer service at any time they might need it.

Close with Adoption

Once the customer has decided that your offering brings consistent value to their life, they will adopt it as one of their habits.

Ensure Retention

Keep them satisfied and they will continue to show their loyalty by increasing your profits and revenue. Collect feedback and don’t be afraid to grow as your customers’ needs will also evolve.

Resources for Onboarding

There are many individual ways that companies onboard customers, depending on their market demographic and the areas where they advertise. Here are some ideas.

Customizing the Process for Your Individual Needs

When you are thinking about adding any of the above services to your customer onboarding process, you will also need to think about your unique product offerings. What are the most important or unique features of your program that you want people to know about? How complex is your product and what is the level at which you will show that complexity to the customer? Are there any limitations in place? What data do you need to give the appropriate experience to the consumer?

It is also important to consider the customer specifics. Is your consumer coming into your zone with pre-set expectations or previous user experience?  Will onboarding with you need to be tangible or technical? Can you teach with a one-size-fits-all program or does each user need to be taught one-on-one?

Automation through Artificial Intelligence

Many of these customer onboarding procedures can be automated with advances in technology. Email services, chat boxes, and AI customer assistants are all benefits that can keep many customers helped and happy when it is impossible for a business to take care of each customer individually.

Decades ago, using these types of systems to improve a business would have been costly and technologically straining on many companies. However, they have become so common and easily accessible that even the smallest of businesses can implement some form of artificial intelligence into their business.

This is an effective way to use monetary and time resources. The better resources are used, the more profitable your business becomes.