The customer onboarding process is definitely one of the most important stages in a customer life cycle. Although it is right at the beginning of the customer journey, it sets the tone for their relationship with your brand and its products.
Customer onboarding significantly impacts deciding whether a client keeps using your products or services for long or churns out after a few months. If you do it well, you clearly demonstrate your product value and set your clients up for success.
Done poorly, you leave your customers with endless worries about why they subscribed in the first place. But how can we do it right? Well, in this post, we will discuss about client onboarding best practices. You’ll also get important steps of the customer onboarding process. Read on for more!
What is customer onboarding?
Customer onboarding is the process of welcoming or introducing new clients to a business- the first step in their interaction with your brand.
The whole process includes answering any questions and concerns from your visitors, making sure you are both on the same page and ensuring clients feel confident in your abilities to help them. This helps create complete customer satisfaction and increases the chances of keeping them as repeat clients.
To sum it up, customer onboarding is a process where the client gains knowledge, understanding, and relevant tools needed to be a successful client, and the business gains similar information required to be a successful service provider.
To ensure all these happen, and the process runs smoothly, we have compiled a list of the client onboarding best practices below to guide you.
7 client onboarding best practices
The following are the seven important client onboarding best practices you should know.
1. Start communication immediately
To start successfully, immediate communication with the customer is vital. Even if they don’t look like they came to buy, just look for any reason just to communicate with them. Losing a client at the start might means losing them forever.
Social media is a great platform to start building business relationships. Identify the social networks your clients are fond of and engage them there.
Retweet their tweets, comment on their Facebook posts, or share some of the blog posts on LinkedIn.
Author credit: By JSM DE – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87503197
Doing this not only keeps you in touch with your customers but also shows that you know how to use social media to nurture relationships. This is especially valuable if your focus will be on social media work for the customer.
2. Collect all the necessary data
Although it looks obvious, one of the most important things to do is to collect all the required data from the client. This is true because, without such information, you can’t do a successful onboarding.
To help your customer meet their goals, you need to know where they stand.
- What areas are they struggling and what is working well for them?
- What is the standard buyer persona?
- Where are most of their traffic coming from?
Although there are several ways you can do this, the best way to get this information is through a briefing document or a questionnaire.
No matter the method you will choose, the vital thing is to have a reliable source and resource to use each a customer signs on with the brand. Ideally, a hard copy of the resource is recommended instead of having a mental list.
In addition to information about the client’s current status, you’ll require the login details of platforms and software you will be using, such as Google Analytics, GSC, Optimizely, Twitter ads, etc.
On top of the login details, you will need to be given access to the necessary spreadsheets or documents to finish your work. Remember to share this information immediately so that it can be out of the way earlier and not cause any bottleneck later on in the process.
3. Clarify expectations
Another one of the client onboarding best practices is the clarification of expectations. To succeed in achieving your goals, you must first define them. And so you must do the same if you want to achieve the client’s objectives.
What exactly is your customer looking for? What is their definition of success? What is their end goal?
Expectations such as requests for increased social media engagements, improved website traffic, or boost conversion rates are too vague. The customer’s goal should be clearly articulated and defined into specific, measurable results. For instance, you can say, “Increase web traffic by such and such percentage or boost conversion rates by X%.
In addition to capturing what the client expects in terms of final results, you should also clarify mid-term expectations-things like milestones and timing, among others.
To be successful, everyone must be involved in the entire goal-setting and clarification process. Expectations must be realistic to everyone, and they need to be on the same page with everything happening.
4. Brief the rest of the team
Customer onboarding is not just for the clients only. Since success needs teamwork, a successful agency-customer relationship must include an element of collective or team onboarding.
Educate all the sales and marketing staff and brief them about the new customer. Ensure they clearly understand the client, the mission, the campaign, and the work involved in achieving the goals.
Share the client’s objectives with everyone and assign each one a role with clear job duties and responsibilities.
In addition, give your team members any necessary learning materials, share your notes with them, and provide them with access to contracts, assessments, and other essential documents required for the project.
After doing all the above, you can go ahead and make a kickoff call with your team and the client. This call is crucial because it ensures the client gets a good first impression of the team and sets the stage for retention later on.
It is also essential that you confirm if everyone is on the same page for the last time at this stage before moving ahead with the work.
5. Prove your value to the client quickly
Because customers are always skeptical about your ability to deliver as per their expectations, it is important to identify ways to prove your value to them earlier.
For instance, to ensure that the customer gets enough traffic to their dedicated posts, it is wise to click their landing page first and not the homepage to get the results faster. Additionally, reducing the load time for those post-click landing pages may boost your traffic by 50%.
While it will take some time to fully achieve the client’s end goal, you will definitely get some hacks and successes down the road.
6. Keep communication open and flowing
Steady, open, and flowing communication is a crucial factor in terms of client onboarding best practices.
To achieve this, several components must be in play, including:
- Creating a central point of contact.
- Creating a communication schedule.
- Regular exchange of feedback.
- Leveraging the right tools such as live chat software to have easy communication.
7. Focus on your overall relationship
Lastly, it is vital to remember that customer onboarding isn’t just about service provision; it is also about the whole experience of working together as a team towards a common goal.
View it from this perspective, you might wish to meet every one of your client’s objectives, but if they don’t feel a strong, close-knit business-customer relationship, they might not feel the need to work with you in the future.
Although customer retainer fees can be satisfying, this should not be your sole concern. Alternatively, you need to invest your time and effort to concentrate on the general success of the client and the business relationship as a whole.
Once they see that you are working hard towards building your overall relationship, they will become more loyal and increase their chances of becoming repeat customers.
Great digital customer onboarding is your buffer during the inevitable event of churn. Well, churn happens, and you can get frustrated if you don’t know what to do.
Fortunately, by following these client onboarding best practices, you can be rest assured that your company will not end up in the books of dead businesses.
Digital customer onboarding comes right at the start of the customer journey, but it creates a foundation for the whole company-client relationship.
An efficient customer onboarding not only helps you with client activation but also helps with customer retention. So, if you are ready to run a successful business, follow these best practices to become successful.